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Sixth Toolangi C. J. Dennis Poetry Festival

Posted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:25 am
by Stephen Whiteside
I'm on a bit of a high after just returning from the Sixth Toolangi C. J. Dennis Poetry Festival held, as always, in "The Singing Gardens", in Toolangi, former home of C. J. Dennis.

Numbers were the best ever this year, no doubt due, at least in part, to the attendance of that wonderful Australian storyteller, Ted Egan, who is Patron of the C. J. Dennis Society. Ted was extremely generous with his time, and we are enormously grateful to him for his contribution. He also put on a wonderful solo show on Saturday at the C. J. Dennis Hall, just a short way up the road from "The Singing Gardens".

Here we see Jim Brown (aka 'Banjo' Paterson) performing Noel Watson's version of Waltzing Matilda in front of the famed copper beech tree. (This was planted to commemorate the visit to Toolangi by the English Poet Laureate John Masefield in 1934.) Ted is standing on the right of the picture.

Re: Sixth Toolangi C. J. Dennis Poetry Festival

Posted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:00 am
by David Campbell
A great weekend! Not shown in the photo is Stephen who, as C. J. Dennis, did his usual terrific job of leading the 'moving theatre' around the gardens and explaining the history of the place. Throw in some poetry and banter by CJ, Henry and Banjo (and a mysterious character from the 21st century called Ted) and the audience, judging by comments afterwards as they tucked into devonshire tea, really enjoyed themselves.

Ted was there for the whole weekend and it was a memorable experience to sit and chat to him over breakfast and lunch on the Sunday. As Stephen says, he was very generous with his time and contributed yarns and songs right across the two days. He's a marvellous entertainer with an amazing depth of knowledge about Australia and its characters...many of whom he knows.


Re: Sixth Toolangi C. J. Dennis Poetry Festival

Posted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:45 am
by Stephen Whiteside
Thanks, David. It should also be mentioned that David, and also Jim Brown, made extremely large and valuable contributions to the festival, as always. The festival appears to be growing slowly but surely every year, which must be a good sign.