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Original Handwritten poem by Banjo Paterson

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 5:39 am
by Gary Harding
Many people will know that Banjo Paterson wrote an intensely moving poem entitled "A Bunch of Roses."

Here (attached photo) he writes out the first verse of his poem and signs it. (No mistakes or using white-out). Delighted to have obtained and now pleased to share this original (around 1901, I think) handwritten verse by Banjo!

It is attached to a 5" x 7" pasteboard. Handwritten poems by Banjo like this one are very rare. I have only seen one other example so this item must be a national literary treasure.

"Roses ruddy and roses white,
What are the joys that my heart discloses?
Sitting alone in the fading light
Memories come to me here tonight
With the wonderful scent of the big red roses.


Only her memory lives tonight -
God in His wisdom her young life closes
Over her grave may the turf be light,
Cover her coffin with roses white -
She was always fond of the big white roses.

Such are the visions that fade away -
Man proposes and God disposes;
Look in the glass and I see today
Only an old man, worn and grey,
Bending his head to a bunch of roses."

This document came from the important Autograph collection of "Pearl" Dilke (nee Faithfull) b1876 - d1955. She became Lady Dilke (baroness) in 1915.

Her father Monty Faithfull was famous for his brave confrontation as a teenager with The Ben Hall Gang. A serious gunfight. A fascinating story in itself and he was eventually given a solid gold medal for bravery.

At age 39, Pearl married Charles Wentworth Dilke who died 1918 aged 44.

Her husband Charles in his younger and more lucid years in 1894 was known to Sir Henry Parkes who was looking after the lad's interests on behalf of his father in England and trying to put him in touch with men of influence.
I have an 1894 letter with envelope from Sir Henry Parkes to her (much later to be) husband. Yes, an actual letter from The Father of Federation, offering him introductions.
It was written at Kenilworth (house name) in Sydney and that magnificent house still stands today. Two years later Sir Henry Parkes died at Kenilworth.

Sir Henry had 17 children.... and no hobbies obviously.

Re: Original Handwritten poem by Banjo Paterson

Posted: Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:57 pm
by Gary Harding
..... (continuing the story from last month, with photos)

For interest, this is what has been done with this hand-written Paterson document.

1. Specialty framing it. The concept is an over-sized "shadow-box" that is lined with a burgundy velvet, designed for wall-mount. The moulding is an old-fashioned, heavy, antique style that jumped out at me at the framing shop. Glass is a 100% UV blocking type.

The 5" x 7" document is mounted such that it appears to be suspended in space.

2. Producing a poster-style transcription of the original Paterson poem as well to complete the story. Make the artwork to match the available sizes by using Powerpoint, then go to local Officeworks, upload and order EZY-tac board with black edging (not forgetting to pay them). In this case a size 16" x 20" costs about $50.

The end result has been pleasing in terms of preserving an important national treasure.

3. The signed Banjo Paterson Collected Works book I mentioned a while ago has been presented as shown in the attached photo. On a mini-lectern. The burgundy fabric used on the small hand-crafted lectern (many hours of work!) is the same as used to line the shadow box, so they are a part of a family.

Bush poetry books and documents can be hidden away on a shelf, but how much better is it to feature them for universal enjoyment??

It is not a cheap exercise but enhancing old bush poetry material with good presentations can surely only enhance the profile of our craft?

Have a successful 2019 ! Gary

Re: Original Handwritten poem by Banjo Paterson

Posted: Mon Dec 24, 2018 6:22 am
by Gary Harding
Speaking of original documents by A. B. Banjo Paterson...

THE ACE FROM SNOWY RIVER (see attached photos)

I had hoped this 1892 hand-written poem was by Banjo himself, in which case I could have sold it and retired!

Not so, I think... but would love to be wrong..

I believe it to be a transcription, there being very few photocopiers or scanners around in 1892!

Likely done by some enthusiast in Australia and sent over to England where it was recently discovered loosely inserted into a folder of late 19th century, largely English manuscript poems and drawings.

It is clearly Banjo's poem 'The Open Steeplechase', but here it is presented under its original title: 'The Ace from Snowy River'.
The poem is written on both sides of an unwatermarked sheet of paper.

'Banjo. Longman - May '92' after the last line of the poem.
The title appears in the same form as it was originally published a few months earlier in the Christmas 1891 edition of The Bulletin (Vol 11, No 618 ).
I have not been able to compare the text with this early version... so if anyone can do that it would be appreciated.

However a comparison with the later printed version in Paterson's collection of 1895, The Man from Snowy River and other Verses reveals around a dozen substantive alterations including 'glinted' for the later 'glistened' and the transposition of two lines in the fourth verse!
The inscription at the foot of the poem is puzzling so any ideas are very welcome.
'Banjo' and the date of composition are clearly legible.

The second word appears to be Longman, perhaps a place name but I believe more likely to be the author's (transcriber's) name.
I intend to frame it and weave an interesting historical story around it too.

This transcription of Banjo's The Ace From Snowy River, later to become the more well known The Open Steeplechase, is 126 years old.

.. I tend to think, rightly or wrongly, that actively preserving this kind of stuff for future generations is very important to the world of Bush Poetry.

Re: Original Handwritten poem by Banjo Paterson

Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:09 am
by Gary Harding
The Paterson-signed book, "A. B. Paterson Collected Works", on the above beautiful sloping mini-lectern was owned by Banjo's first cousin Nathaniel Dunbar Barton. It is part of the Paterson family history.

Barton being Banjo's family name on his mother's side.

An interesting fellow was Nathaniel ! His life story intertwines with Banjo's.

He was in the 7th Light Horse in WW1 and has quite a history.

Shown in photos..

1. Nathaniel's Military Awards and other decorations.

I have produced these in replica form I have also done for Banjo Paterson's Medals and Awards.
The two form a matching set.

His Mention In Despatches clasp is visible on the Victory Medal. Interestingly, it was approved by General Sir Edmund Allenby, a friend of Banjo's from the Boer war.

Like his cousin Banjo, Nat was awarded a CBE. His was a Military CBE while Banjo's CBE was for Literature. Consequently these Awards are subtly different in appearance, and require due care and proper research when presenting reproductions of them.

2. The actual WW1 Field Ambulance armband previously owned by (Banjo's first cousin) Nathaniel Barton... with his name and WW2 rank (Lt Col) written on it in his handwriting. Nat was a doctor in WW2 and a fighting soldier in WW1.
This armband (stamped June 1918) has other inscriptions that have allowed me to trace its ownership to the 7th Light Horse.
I have placed the armband in a position such that both sides of this very valuable and historically important armband are visible for visitors here.. by using a mirror underneath! neat idea??

When one uses historic objects to highlight a bush poet like Banjo Paterson, I feel that it adds more interest and brings them to life.
More so than if an old book was simply opened up.

That is the challenge. To go that bit further... and do it properly and professionally. For the sake of Bush Poetry and its promotion and preservation.

Re: Original Handwritten poem by Banjo Paterson

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 6:28 am
by Gary Harding
The collector of the above Banjo Paterson autograph, "A Bunch of Roses", was young and admiring Florence Pearl Faithfull.

Her future husband Charles Wentworth Dilke (third baronet) knew Henry Parkes. ("The Father Of Federation")
(see attached original Henry Parkes letter of 1894 from my collection, addressed to Charles and again purchased from the prestigious Lady Dilke collection).

Banjo was acquainted with Sir Henry Parkes through his law occupation.

Pearl's father, Monty Faithfull, was a Sydney solicitor so there may have been a connection there with Banjo. Is this how Pearl was introduced to Banjo?

Monty in his youth was noted for his brave shootout with the Ben Hall Gang

(.. the following quote from Grantlee Kieza's recent book)

Banjo remembered seeing him at a dinner when the waiter poured him a glass of champagne and made to move off with the bottle. 'Leave that bottle,' Parkes ordered the waiter. 'I'll finish that and probably another one after it'. Banjo could only wryly observe that Sir Henry always got the temperance vote.

So in a way, when young Pearl summoned up the courage to ask the famous Banjo Paterson for his autograph, little did she or Banjo know that there was a sort of loose common connection with Henry Parkes.

A friend of mine is the keeper of the Sir Henry Parkes Collection, being the appropriate, male, qualified descendant of Sir Henry.
Banjo, then still single, was not a man beyond a small flirtation and so he wrote out this "Roses" verse.
Something that I believe he perceived would touch the heart of an attractive young lady.

.. the next interesting story will be about the connection between Banjo and "Plum" Warner. Plum or rather Sir Pelham Francis Warner MBE was an extremely famous and respected English cricketer.

Cricket, Banjo... and Plum.. and an English 1904 first Edition of Rio Grande... we will see how they all come together for their moment in history.

Re: Original Handwritten poem by Banjo Paterson

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:43 am
by Shelley
Fascinating stories, Gary!

Re: Original Handwritten poem by Banjo Paterson

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 6:40 am
by Gary Harding
Thank you Shelley, You are always spot on!

So many interesting doors open when one gets drawn into this old bush poetry world. These poets lived in wonderful pioneering times.

Incidentally the solid gold Bushranger medal for Bravery awarded to Henry Montague ("Monty") Faithfull and his brothers is photo 1. Four were made. Held in the Springfield Collection. Photo 2 is the four Faithfull brothers with Monty seated far left.

Perhaps Pearl inherited her courage (to ask the famous Banjo for an autograph) from her Dad??

Eventually I would like to get a full medal replica made to display, for people to appreciate. No Bushranger Medal replicas exist. That will be an enormous challenge (to obtain a mould)!

In putting all of these bush poetry tales together, I am overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of local people. Framing, engraving, supplying medal replicas for me to make a display.... all of it. Positivity. Even encouraging things said by kind people like yourself, keeps me going.

Often when I say it is being done to preserve the Old Bush Poets or Banjo, they say "Oh I loved them too, I will do it at cost for you!". In little old Hervey Bay?! it saves me a fortune. They truly contribute something to the nation.

It is only Federal Government Departments (regardless of their political colour) in Canberra that obstruct me and try and have their hand in my pocket at every opportunity. I have had some savage fights with them in the Bush Poetry arena. The latest being Veterans' Affairs and the hopeless Minister himself. To me they are beneath contempt for what they try and do to me. Trumped-up "little" people with fancy titles.

With useless, fat-cat Federal government bureaucrats, if I cannot get around them, then I go straight on through them. I never acquiesce. :) :)

Shelley, bolstered by your support here, I will press on! Thank you! Gary

Re: Original Handwritten poem by Banjo Paterson

Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:56 am
by Gary Harding
From my Collection.... this is a 1904, first English edition of Rio Grande's Last Race and Other Verses. (A. B. Paterson).
The original ownership signature, P.F. Warner, is included.

Cricket fans would know that Sir Pelham Francis "Plum" Warner MBE was a very famous English cricketer. He captained the first English side to tour Australia for The Ashes in 1903, shortly after Federation. A stand is named after him at Lords.

The attached December 1903 English cartoon lauding the Ashes win says..

Little Australia
Fearless of failure
Eating his Test Match tarte
He put in his thumb
When - out popped a 'Plum'
And gave him a terrible starte. ... E2%80%9304

Banjo Paterson, according to the books published about him at least, was a keen cricket fan.

Rio Grande was a popular book and Paterson a respected man about Sydney.

Now we get into the area of supposition....

It seems likely that Banjo was present at the Sydney Cricket Ground Nov 20th - 23rd 1903 to see this landmark cricketing Ashes event. MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) won by an Innings and 10 runs.

It follows that any post-match dinner or civic welcoming event for the English Team in Sydney would have included the popular Banjo as a guest.

There he would doubtless have been introduced to the team's captain, "Plum" Warner.

In conversation, Banjo would have entertained Plum with the story of how as a boy of fifteen in around 1879 he witnessed the infamous NSW game against an English county team that descended into a genuine Riot. (refer Grantlee's recent book, extensive description)

Looking back then, some 25 years after the event one can imagine both men having a good discussion about it!

'Fortunately such an unsporting thing could never happen in our more civilised society of 1903, could it!?' .. they may well have agreed.

On Plum's heroic return to England in early 1904 after a hectic but successful cricket tour, he determined to get a copy of his Australian friend Banjo's recent and acclaimed book... now just published in England.

And this is the actual book Plum Warner purchased!!

The first English edition, published in 1904.

He put his Ownership signature on it, in accordance with a common practice of that time.

If these unique little stories are of interest to fellow ABPA members, Banjo Paterson being perhaps one of the most celebrated Bush Poets, I will take the time to continue..

The next story concerns an Englishman who I believe likely befriended Banjo in the Boer War. This soldier, then a Lieutenant, rose to later become a Major-General, CB CMG and DSO. Their connection would have been lost in time had I not, with some considerable effort, managed to also obtain his personal English 1904 copy of Banjo's book... Rio Grande... and bring it half-way around the world to Australia.

Where one can hold in one's hand (or even observe) books like this that were held by famous people who were Paterson fans, or better still handle items that at one point were signed by Banjo himself and had some personal meaning for him, not just passing autographs, then life has to be very good indeed ...