The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Discussion of any bush poetry topic.
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Gary Harding
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Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Post by Gary Harding » Thu Feb 25, 2021 8:11 am

One of the significant aspects of Australian culture is Old Time Radio (OTR) or The Wonderful World of Wireless.
We have an interesting section that deals with that.

It was largely a world of serials and half-hour programs like Pick-A-Box with the most popular as far as I can see being Dad and Dave. (see previous post about The Snake Gully Swagger). All the stuff about Dad and Dave is on the net so I won't repeat it.

Here is a typical episode :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8z1R1O6Zf0

We have an episode of Dad and Dave playing from our magnificent floor-standing, timber 1940's radio console!! :)

Those units were spectacular - pieces of brilliant home furniture, being the centre of family entertainment. Today the best of the best of them (as this one is) are also worth a lot of money. To hear Dad and Dave coming from it gives one goosebumps.

Some of the stars were...Peter Finch, Rod Taylor, Jack Davey, Bob Dyer, Johnny Lockwood, Terry Dear.
Programs included ... They're a Weird Mob, Yes,What?, Life with Dexter, The Quiz Kids, Tarzan, Cattleman.

It transports you back to a time in Australia's past, so the challenge is proving to be creating a modest, suitable period-environment for the showing. (Op-shops help!)

One of several of our rigid policies in producing exhibits is to never draw comparisons with Then and Now. Opinions are banned. Also we never lecture ...and unlike government-based establishments, we never seek to politicise, trendify, discredit, invoke "issues", or "interpret" things. Where we need to label something, we stick with a few interesting brief facts. Australian Culture is fabulously presented.. and not hijacked.

Lovely things have a voice of their own, and speak for themselves surely?

Leonard Teale (the famous Bush Poetry reciter) starred in the serial Superman then too!

Here are two books from the collection that (despite the library stickers) were purchased at a local book sale and are quite informative.
Our Old Time Television exhibit is proving to be fun... but that is another story. All part of Australia's wonderful culture.

It is a massive project and extremely well advanced... with years of work (thankfully) behind us. I hope these posts are interesting. Gary
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Shelley
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Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Post by Shelley » Fri Feb 26, 2021 8:14 am

Ah! Another trip down Memory Lane!

You may already know that a Maryborough local, the late Jack Craig-Gardiner, starred as Greenbottle in "Yes, What?", the radio series you mention in your post. It was originally recorded in the late 1930s, but I fondly remember the re-runs of this show through the 60s and 70s.

Jack's daughter Diana (later Diana Hunter) hosted the children's afternoon show "Teleclub" on our local television station WBQ-8 in the 1960s. All the kids (including me) were Teleclub members and once a year you got to be a studio audience member as it went to air. It was live, no pre-recording back then! The WBQ-8 studios still stand on Cambridge Street in Granville.

Jack was also the manager of the Wintergarden Theatre here in Maryborough. I saw some of the world's most famous films in that theatre! It is no longer a picture theatre, but the building still stands in Kent Street and now houses the gallery of the Wide Bay Art Society. It was outside this theatre (and others) that another iconic local, Augie Sauer, would wait after the Saturday matinee, bearing a tray of steaming hot meat pies. If a family had more than a couple of kids, he would throw in a pie for free! Sauer's pies are still baked and sold in Maryborough, with Augie's granddaughter Gail managing the shop, now located at the corner of Lennox and Albert Streets. They are still just as good - and yes, of course I've written a poem about them ... http://www.shelleyhansen.com/44/augie-sauer

Cheers
Shelley
Shelley Hansen
Lady of Lines
http://www.shelleyhansen.com

"Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."
(CJ Dennis "The Mooch o' Life")

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Gary Harding
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Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Post by Gary Harding » Mon Mar 01, 2021 8:28 am

Shelley ...

The attachment is scanned from the cover notes of my collection album..."The Wonderful Wireless". (1982, produced by the accomplished Glenn A. Baker)
Your Yes,What? is track 9 on side one AND yes ... there is Mr. Jack Gardner as Greenbottle... just as you said! (Bluebottle was from The Goons)

I should have known you would also have a poem on the subject of Sauer's Pies! well done.

Preserving all this material is so important isn't it, and if you do it through a poem as you have... well you have done your bit.

In the end, I do not ask that future generations enjoy all this Australian national cultural material, however I am determined to put it right in front of them in order for them to make their OWN choice. Even LP's are coming right back into fashion; they have much good and obscure music preserved, so who knows.

(I see Max Merritt passed away late last year. Born in Christchurch NZ 1941... a Kiwi. Saw him perform at uni and here in Maryborough as well. Can still see old Stewie Speer on drums. Nobody here would remember Maxie I guess.)

I am thinking that the name Banjo Paterson Cultural Centre suggests it is all about the poet Banjo (it isn't) while Overseas Tourists might expect it is all about a Bluegrass banjo player called "Banjo" Paterson. (it isn't). Sort of like Australia's answer to Earl Scruggs? They might expect A B Paterson renditions of Foggy Mountain Breakdown or Duelling Banjo's. And anyway it was C J Dennis who was the banjo picker... so it is all confusing.

I can definitely see a name change coming in the future, and I have an alternative (and far superior) one already established.

For now, Banjo Paterson Cultural Centre will continue to do though...
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Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Post by Gary Harding » Fri Mar 05, 2021 8:41 am

One of the subjects that the old Bush Balladists enjoyed writing about was The Bullockies.

They are folk heroes of song, verse and story ... and Australian cultural icons.

Therefore we attempt to spectacularly and respectfully introduce them to visitors attending (what will soon be) Australia's only true Cultural Centre.

The current edition of The Beacon magazine has an article by Mrs. Karen Christensen and myself where we describe those rugged men (and women too!). We also outline our interesting experience in the back-hills of Gympie where we purchased a number of bullocky items including a well-used yoke.

Included in the article are some extracts from poems by Henry Lawson and C. J. Dennis.

The owner of the items, exhibiting considerable emotion, showed us the grave of his dog (and best mate). It reputedly hated snakes and had the knack of knowing how to bump them off in a fight. With quite a score notched up, the poor dog apparently met its match one day... or perhaps suffered a touch of overconfidence or a split second's loss of concentration and.. well, snakes are unforgiving things and rarely give second chances.

https://thebeacon.com.au/about-us/ then, Magazine Publications Issue 16 page 22
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Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Post by Shelley » Fri Mar 05, 2021 2:41 pm

Of course we remember Max Merritt - and the Meteors!

We're older than you think on this forum, Gary!!
Shelley Hansen
Lady of Lines
http://www.shelleyhansen.com

"Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."
(CJ Dennis "The Mooch o' Life")

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Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Post by Gary Harding » Mon Mar 08, 2021 9:32 am

Thanks Shelley.. you are right!

The classic performers... most people here would remember them!

Normie Rowe is interviewed by (great photographer) Kerry-Anne in the latest copy of our local Beacon Magazine (online and hard copy). I mentioned Issue 16 in my last post (Bullockies).

Dinah Lee (the Mod Queen) is also interviewed and she notes and laments the passing of both Maxie and Billy Thorpe. When Max had the bad vehicle accident where he lost an eye, the older sister (Ruth) of a school friend of mine was his nurse at the hospital. That friend taught me the basics of music.. and we even formed a high school, rock band! Billy Thorpe has been gone for years of course and I saw him perform a couple of times. Actually, most people he knew thought that he was crazy!

Normie, Dinah Lee and Jade Hurley are having a concert in Maryborough, March 14th at 2.00pm. I will be out of action on the day, but you should go!
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Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Post by Gary Harding » Sat Mar 13, 2021 6:43 pm

Like The Women's Weekly (see previous post) "The New Idea" was (and still is) a popular Australian magazine.

Its origins go way back to 1902 apparently.. with the current name established in 1928. As a kid, there were always copies floating around our house.

I have a gathering of some forty old editions of The New Idea dating from 1931 into the early fifties.
A display will be produced for the Banjo Paterson Cultural Centre.

The contents reflect the culture of Australia in those years before the introduction of television. Glamorous movie stars often featured on the magazine covers.
These magazine photos are from 1931, 1937 and 1946.

Articles also included were solutions to everyday problems like :

Tiled Floors - To give tiled floors a good polish without making them slippery, wash the tiles over with milk. Just enough milk to damp the cloth is sufficient for a whole floor. 20/03/1946

Bit smelly perhaps??

Garment patterns (paper) were sometimes included. We have selected an unused garment pattern that dates to 1934. The concept is to follow it exactly and produce an outfit as called up by the New Idea pattern.

May also do that for a knitting pattern too. A lovely 1930's style pullover perhaps?

Anyway.. an interesting aside.
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Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Post by Shelley » Mon Mar 15, 2021 9:16 am

Ah yes, my Mum loved New Idea - for the recipes and sewing/craft. She always kept the cuttings that interested her.
Shelley Hansen
Lady of Lines
http://www.shelleyhansen.com

"Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."
(CJ Dennis "The Mooch o' Life")

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Gary Harding
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Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Post by Gary Harding » Sat Mar 20, 2021 3:48 pm

Just when garage sales seem to be fading and unproductive, this morning's scrounging turned up a couple of good things.

1. A suitcase packed with mostly vintage Australian recipe books etc with a couple of them shown in this attached picture. $20, including suitcase.

2. A child's saddle, with stirrups, that has wear (which is actually a good thing) and yet is still in great condition. $80 The idea is to have a photo opportunity section in the Banjo Paterson Cultural Centre where kids can get into the saddle etc while having a Man From Snowy River (A B Paterson) backdrop.

A lot of young children would never have sat in a saddle before so it will be a unique and important experience for them. You have to cater for kids a lot, I think.

In the front of one of the old Cookery Books (The New Goulburn Cookery Book) I noticed the following poem attributed to English bush poet and 1st Earl of Lytton .....Owen Meredith (pictured)

"We may live without poetry, music and art,
We may live without conscience, and live without heart;
We may live without friends, we may live without books,
But civilised man cannot live without - cooks!

He may live without books; what is knowledge but grieving?
He may live without hope; what is hope but deceiving?
He may live without love; what is passing but pining?
But where is the man who can live without - dining!"
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Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Post by Gary Harding » Tue Mar 23, 2021 1:23 pm

Cecil Lowther who wrote verse under the name of Bannerman, has had three books of his writing now compiled and published by the Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour. My own exhibit on Bannerman has been anxiously awaiting the completion of George's books and now I have grabbed these copies.

Book 1 Bannerman Vol 1 (1911 - 1924) $30, copy 19 of 20 copies (669 pages!!)

Book 2 Bannerman Vol 2 (1925 - 1951) $30, copy 9 of 20 copies (700 pages!!)

Book 3 Say A Kind Word Selected Poems $10, copy 26 of 200

George, who also has a great knowledge of this region's local history, has been working on this wonderful and truly exciting project for some years. Fantastic!!

An exceptional and enduring contribution and a remarkable achievement in the world of Australian bush poetry. He has devoted his precious spare time to enshrining one of Australia's most accomplished and least known Bush Poets.

It rarely gets any better than that in terms of a true and important national literary contribution. Unbelievable.

Cecil Lowther (Bannerman) lived in Maryborough just up the road from where I am in Hervey Bay. All the information on Cecil Lowther can be found here.

https://www.facebook.com/bannerman.poetry

Everyone has their own ideas on what constitutes exceptional bush poetry. To me it is (among other things) that precise meter and rhyme of the ballad coupled with a skilful and yet deceptively simple expression that allows any reader to understand and enjoy it. (no rough stuff! no "dunny's" or "bloody's" in these books thank you. Just poetic ability)

Certainly if I was to name my own favourite Australian Bush Poets, Cecil Lowther would be up there among the glorious top few poets in the list.

One of George's favourite Bannerman poems (24th Feb, 1916)....

SAY A KIND WORD

As you travel thro’ life you’ll find you’re beset
By troubles and trials galore.
Let your mind travel back to the pleasures you’ve met,
Don’t think of the trials in store.
But still you will find ‘midst the sorrow and care
That’s part or the portion of man,
That it’s better by far, whilst doing your share,
To say a kind word when you can.

If you work in a foundry, sawmill, or shop,
The railway, the mine, or the mill,
You’ll find that the men who emerge at the top,
Are workmen who work with a will.
What’s more, you will find that there’s something in pluck
And many a stream it does span,
So don’t bump a man who is down on his luck,
But say a kind word when you can.

While some folks we know have much more than their share
Of trouble or sorrow untold;
But yet thro’ it all, tho’ they’re burdened with care,
Their hearts are as honest as gold.
How often we’ve reckoned on what we would do,
And raised up some excellent plan,
But only to find that our scheme’s fallen thro’
So say a kind word when you can.

Perhaps some poor brother has strayed from the path,
Thro’ weakness of effort or will,
But speak to him gently - not words full of wrath,
You’ll find there’s some good in him still.
To err is quite human, we’ve often been told,
In woman, as well as in man;
So never speak harshly to young, or to old,
But say a kind word when you can.

I hope that I have Spoken A (well deserved) Kind Word here about Cecil Lowther; and local Mayor George Seymour as well.... A truly incredible literary achievement.
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