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The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Posted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:31 am
by Gary Harding
This (attached) selection of LP's features "the spoken word" in bush poetry... and in occasional prose. They are mounted on three separate custom-made aluminium racks.

Taken together... isn't the cover-art eye-catching??!

Old bush poetry is perhaps not entirely a sepia world!??

Possibly the first time that these bush poetry Reciters have all been gathered together in one significant Display. Leonard Teale being the favourite!

There are some LP's included that are difficult to obtain.

Other records exist such as several LP compilations of The Sentimental Bloke. The Sentimental Bloke and its extensive and varied collected material is the subject of another current interesting project.

Was having a discussion on it recently and the comment was made that "My 80-yo Mum loves (high quality) bush poetry, but finds reading it difficult. Cannot quite get the rhythm. However when performed to a high standard, it is enjoyed greatly."

So.. clearly Reciting has a very important role in Bush Poetry... and these guys do it well. Gary

Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:42 am
by Gary Harding
(To continue the story...)

These three custom-made display panels (previously shown) are engineered to fit onto a refurbished and specially fitted out, heavy, cosmetic shop-stand that I rescued from its garbage-dump destination.

Yes it is a rotating stand.

It presents one aspect of The Spoken Word in bush poetry.

The work of talented people is on display here. People who have a passion for bush poetry and have gone to the trouble of recording their craft on an LP... and then trying to sell it which is more challenging still. I have heaps of respect for that.

(A record of the recitations of Around The Boree Log by Kevin Brennan is not there as I have kept that LP aside for another purpose.)

Cost? material, a few hundred dollars all up, plus many! hours of design and crafting. What may appear simple.. isn't. But the end result is fantastic.

To be honest I am really proud of it.

Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:18 pm
by Gary Harding
The Spoken Word....

For anyone who is not aware of it ... in the good old days, books of Australian rhyming verse were produced called "Reciters".

They are worth collecting when discovered at fetes and garage sales etc.!

Old Australian Reciters in good condition can still be occasionally got. The most expensive one cost me $180 as I recall but that one was very rare.

I can imagine people in the old days speaking with precise elocution and rhythmic speech, reciting some of these poems.
The artwork on the attached 1924 Bulletin Reciter I think is hilarious. It is by Percy Lindsay... brother of Lionel and Norman. All three brothers illustrated Banjo's books.

This particular reciter is dedicated to Jack Moses, a good mate of Henry Lawson.

Jack's story is interesting and one worth telling, using his books as illustrations.

I think it is like an audio window into the past. Who used this book in 1924?

Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 11:48 am
by Shelley
Interesting information, Gary.

I agree, hearing bush poetry well-recited is an uplifting experience. There is something about our genre that really suits the spoken word.

I think I've probably mentioned this before - but back in the 1970s Rod and I attended a performance of "Banjo the Man", Barry Crocker's stage play about the life of Banjo Paterson. It toured at the time and played in the Maryborough City Hall.

It was for the most part a one-person show - and it was excellent. However, there was one scene of Banjo as an old man. The actor involved (I don't know who he was, but it was not Barry Crocker) sat in a chair with a rug over his knees and recited The Man From Snowy River. I have heard it recited many many times, before and since - but I have never been moved as I was that night. His rendition still rings in my ears, 40 years later. It was extraordinary.

Love your stand, by the way.


Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:11 am
by Gary Harding
Thanks Shelley, that is very interesting!

I like Barry Crocker lots too because of his role in the film The Adventures of Barry McKenzie and his classic album Bazza McKenzie's Party Songs. A jolly family sing-a-long for all ages.

This movie great dared to present true(!) Australian culture to the world. None of this bronzed and bearded bushman, hackneyed and contrived stuff to keep bush poets in business. The film told the truth about Australia, and Australians... well.. as they were then anyway.. great mono-culture... fearlessly.

It put REAL meaning into the word "culture". A cult movie. ("cult" being an abbreviation of the word culture I guess)

As far as I can discover with a cursory check, he did not record an LP of his Banjo play but in 2001 it seems he put out this CD "Barry meets Banjo". It can be got from eBay for about $11.00 and with 25 tracks, that is 50c per track. A bargain. Your much-loved Man From Snowy River recitation is included and runs for 6mins. It is Barry that does it though.

Cover notes refer to your play "Banjo" too, so maybe there are some taped originals there? Wouldn't that be lucky! Might be worth a modest investment... just for fun? I will certainly grab a copy. Many thanks again...

Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Posted: Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:38 pm
by Gary Harding
The great Leonard Teale.

He had such a rich and resonant voice plus a natural ability to enunciate.

Wasn't there a Leonard Teale Spoken Word competition for traditional poetry once?

Here is a small selection of material from the important Leonard Teale part of my Spoken Word Collection in Bush Poetry.
Remembering Len, and also listening to his recitations is deeply moving. It demonstrates the raw emotive power of the spoken word when performed at a very high level of ability.

Shown are a few of his TV week covers. Homicide was a TV police drama he starred in .... I wonder if anyone remembers it? plus the notice of his passing published in his old squadron newsletter. He was a pilot in WW2.

Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 12:15 pm
by Shelley
Yes, Gary, the Leonard Teale award for recited poetry was part of the annual Gulgong Henry Lawson Festival.

Not sure if that particular award is still going, though the Gulgong Festival was held last year. Haven't seen anything about it this year so far, though the "other" Henry Lawson Festival at Grenfell is going ahead for 2019.

Leonard Teale surely did have a wonderful speaking voice. An unmistakeable sound!


Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:11 pm
by Gary Harding
Associated with the Spoken Word is the Inscribed Word in old bush poetry books..

This 1896 copy of In The Days When The World Was Wide I believe is significant as it is inscribed by an unknown but obviously well-educated person. He writes to someone (likely in England?) and comments on both Henry Lawson and Banjo.

He also goes though the entire book, including title page, and pencils in an explanation of all the Australian terms and slang.
I find it very impressive and spooky too, as the writer is living in the actual times and speaking to the reader now through his book inscription. It is like reaching back 120 years ... to when bush poetry was starting to evolve seriously.

In June 1896 he writes..

".. there is no book yet that I have read which truly depicts the hard facts that have to be faced out in this uncertain land and the real state of Australian life in the bush, as this author (Lawson) does."

photo 1 the typed up transcription, complete
photo 2 first page of the inscription
photo 3 title page, with pencilled-in translations.

I think that it is a nice snapshot of how Henry Lawson was appreciated and loved in those days of 1896. As he still is.

Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 5:56 pm
by Shelley

By the way, update on Gulgong - their Henry Lawson festival is going ahead in 2019, and yes, the Leonard Teale Award is still part of it, along with a written competition.

Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:22 am
by Gary Harding
An old bush poetry book I feel has much greater significance if it has passed through famous hands. The inscribed word.

...... here is an example.

In the Collection there is a 1910 edition of In The Days When The World Was Wide, by Henry Lawson.

It has a nice gift inscription written by Nellie Stewart and dated 5th Sept 1910.

Nellie was a very popular, attractive and famous Rock Star of her day (light opera singer and actress). This inscribed book would have been treasured because so many people were in love with "Sweet Nell".

Most importantly she started a fashion craze. A circular-section, plain gold bangle. Her bangle story can be read here : ... B_Boyd.pdf

This large solid-gold bangle was given to her by her devoted lover. What a wonderful story of true love and physical passion. She wore it for 40 years without taking it off.

Even after her death she refused to allow it to be removed (have I worded that badly?)... so, a dark night, a good shovel and a little trip to Rookwood Cemetery perhaps?? Volunteers?

It gained the name then of a "Nellie Stewart Bangle". (commonly a Golf Bangle today) or simply a "Nellie Stewart".

I have bought an inexpensive-version Nellie Stewart gold bangle to make her Lawson-related display interesting... but that is a story for another day.
She was clearly an admirer of Henry Lawson, being very happy to inscribe and gift one of his books to someone of significance to her. A 1910 edition inscribed by her in the same year suggests it was bought specifically as a gift.

Did Henry Lawson ever see her perform? Perhaps not, as he was a bit deaf and might have been afraid of clapping in the wrong places. But who knows.