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 » Sun May 09, 2021 5:29 pm

Some time ago, a 1956 newspaper clipping fell out of a poetry book by Edward Harrington.

It described how The Bread and Cheese Club in Melbourne (promoting Mateship, Art and Letters) had transcribed into calligraphy a ballad by Edward Harrington entitled "Flynn Of The Inland", dedicated to the new church and Rev John Flynn who set up the flying doctor service in order to aid remote areas.
This poem on vellum is shown in the newspaper article being held by Jack Moir, Knight Grand Cheese of the Club.
It was then gifted to the Flynn Memorial Church in Alice Springs in order to celebrate the opening of their new church.

Enquiries around Australia indicated that unfortunately it had since been lost.

In keeping with the spirit of the wonderful balladist Edward Harrington and the kindness of the Bread and Cheese Club, we determined that a replacement absolutely must be produced.

We have now done this.... it was an enormous exercise and the result is visually stunning I think. Photos do not do it justice.

It is a 3-D production (in a shadow box) with the gold title raised. The hand-drawn sketch of Flynn is actually on perspex and again elevated as is the aircraft. The deep blue sky is typical of the outback and the ochre is the red of the desert. Wildflowers are drawn by hand. The paper is special rag-paper made in the early 1940's. Framing glass is the special new "invisible" type. All artwork was done by the calligrapher.

A photographic printed-copy of the original framed item (held by us) has been sent to the nice folk at the John Flynn Museum in Alice Springs for public presentation.

The original (shown here) will be displayed in the Banjo Paterson Cultural Centre, along with the associated Story of The Lost Vellum and its determined replacement. It brings together several Australian cultural aspects.. in a very positive way.
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Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Post by Gary Harding » Sun May 16, 2021 10:02 am

The Spoken Word in Bush Verse

Leonard Teale produced his excellent LP, The Man From Snowy River, in 1956.
It contained a terrific selection of ballads by A. B. (Banjo) Paterson.

As part of the release of this now very well known album, a small number of 45rpm promo-records were made and circulated to all the radio stations. They were recorded on one side only.

The recording features a marvellous interview with Len and in it he talks about his love of bush ballads. It was recorded ten years after he completed his service with the RAAF as a Wellington pilot.

Pictured is the copy of this rare 45rpm recording from my Collection. I am fortunate to have it, and it is complete in its original paper sleeve.

There must be quite a few admirers of Leonard Teale in the ABPA community.

For interested ABPA members, I have transcribed from the record a sample of Len talking about Banjo Paterson... 65 years ago.

".. One of the reasons he appeals to me is that he's so simple in his approach, he's so easy to understand. In Paterson's work there is none of this trying to be clever. What he had to say he felt deeply first and he just came straight out and said it without any tricks. It came straight from the heart. In his love of Australia and Australian people and his appreciation of their greatness, there's a sincerity and sort of an unadorned straightforward honesty - and whether we as individuals are capable of the same thing we still admire it very much in others. And then, I like the stories themselves that Paterson has to tell particularly when you relate them to the time that they were written. For myself I've learned much more about the history of Australia from the bush ballads than I ever did from the history books... "

Looking forward to bringing all this varied Australian ballad material, (and much, much more! ) to the Australian people at the Banjo Paterson Cultural Centre. Very exciting.. with major project advances happening daily.
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Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Post by Gary Harding » Thu May 20, 2021 6:16 am

I hope these posts are interesting? Pictured here from the Collection is a delightful (around 1905) original postcard. It is listed in the National Museum so one presumes that it has some significance and value.

I was pleased to purchase it because it reminded me of a ballad by Henry Lawson entitled A New John Bull. No doubt it is familiar to ABPA members. (reproduced here abbreviated)

"A tall, slight, English gentleman,
With eyeglass to his eye;
He mostly says "Good-Bai" to you,
Tho' means to say "Good-Bye";

He shakes hands like a ladies' man,
For all the world to see-
They know, in Corners of the World.
No ladies' man is he.

A tall, slight English gentleman,
Who hates to soil his hands;
He takes his mother's drawing-room
To most outlandish lands;

And when through Hells we dream not of
His battery prevails,
Removes the grime of gunpowder
And polishes his nails.

And if he chances to get 'winged',
Or smashed up rather worse,
He's quite apologetic to
The doctor and the nurse.

He's what our blokes in Egypt call
"A decent sort 'o cove".
And if the Pyramids should fall
He'd merely say "Bai Jove!"

A thoroughbred whose ancestry
Goes back to ages dim,
No labourer on his wide estates
Need fear to speak to him.

Although he never showed a sign
Of aught save sympathy,
He was the only gentleman
That shamed the lout in me."

The 8.8cm x 14cm postcard is entitled "Johnny Raw". It is a painting by 'Stuff' - Henry Charles Seppings Wright (1850-1937).

I love it and more importantly, readers might enjoy it's humour as well. One could see in it Henry Lawson's Englishman (with eyeglass). The neutral expressions on the faces of the three Bushmen possibly suggest that the artist's intent was to limit the theme to the contrast between the "new chum" and the colonials and no more. The humour might thus be contained in that juxtaposition alone.

Henry wrote the poem in 1915. Would it be going too far to think that maybe he spotted this postcard in a shop, or one was sent to him.. and suitably inspired by its wit (and having visited England), he then picked up his pen? ha Who knows.

... now the fun part....

We are expanding this neat postcard-artwork to poster size (on a board) and superimposing Lawson's (abbreviated) poem on the space at the right .. adding this original postcard!! An impressive display item for Henry Lawson's section in The Cultural Centre..

Attached pictures...

1. Front of postcard (artwork)

2. Rear of postcard (Oct 28, 1907)
"Dear A, don't expect me on Tuesday has(sic) my friend has written asking me to go on Tuesday afternoon to have tea with her. With love to you and Maggie, Bernie."
The addressee is : Miss A. Neill, 81 Leyland Road, Southport, England.

3. 81 Leyland Road as it is today, looking possibly unchanged from when the postcard might have arrived there 114 years ago.

Gary
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Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Post by Gary Harding » Mon May 24, 2021 6:20 am

I might transfer this item from another Thread because prior to a certain date, all photos on the ABPA Forum were lost. Here I have updated it to restore the important book photographs that were lost.

...................................

For those ABPA members with an interest in Banjo Paterson, here is a remarkable book in the Collection.

Rio Grande and Other Verses

It is inscribed by Banjo Paterson to Kermit Roosevelt, son of Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt.

Signed and presented during Paterson's time in charge of the 2nd Remount Unit in Egypt.

This Paterson-Roosevelt book inscription reads :

"To Kermit Roosevelt with best wishes of the author A B Paterson "The Banjo" Major Australian Remounts Egypt 10/6/18". (see attached photo).

Kermit Roosevelt was the second son of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States who had joined the British Army before the United States had entered WWI. A city in Texas is named after him. The town of... Yes!.. Kermit.

Kermit actually wrote a book about his WW1 experiences entitled "War in The Garden of Eden" 1919 (Mesopotamia is modern day Iraq)
In it he details his encounter with the famous Banjo Paterson who apparently was popular with the entire U.S. Presidential family.

This is also the historic meeting where he was gifted this very book, Rio Grande (authored by Major Paterson!)

Truly Amazing.... also remarkable that we have this enormously important book here in Australia in my possession. This material is highly sought after by American collectors who love their presidents. Kermit takes up the story in his own 1919 book...

"When I left Mesopotamia I made up my mind that there was one man in Palestine whom I would use every effort to see if I were held over waiting for a sailing. This man was Major A.B. Paterson, known to every Australian as "Banjo" Paterson. His two most widely read books are The Man from Snowy River and Rio Grande's Last Race; both had been for years companions of the entire family at home and sources for daily quotations, so I had always hoped to some day meet their author. I knew that he had fought in the South African War, and I heard that he was with the Australian forces in Palestine. As soon as I landed I asked every Australian officer that I met where Major Paterson was, for locating an individual member of an expeditionary force, no matter how well known he may be, is not always easy. Every one knew him. I remember well when I inquired at the Australian headquarters in Cairo how the man I asked turned to a comrade and said: "Say, where's 'Banjo' now? He's at Moascar, isn't he?" Whether they had ever met him personally or not he was "Banjo" to one and all.

On my return to Alexandria I stopped at Moascar, which was the main depot of the Australian Remount Service, and there I found him. He is a man of about sixty, with long mustaches and strong aquiline features—very like the type of American plainsman that Frederic Remington so well portrayed. He has lived everything that he has written. At different periods of his life he has dived for pearls in the islands, herded sheep, broken broncos, and known every chance and change of Australian station life. The Australians told me that when he was at his prime he was regarded as the best rider in Australia. A recent feat about which I heard much mention was when he drove three hundred mules straight through Cairo without losing a single animal, conclusively proving his argument against those who had contested that such a thing could not be done. Although he has often been in England, Major Paterson has never come to the United States. He told me that among American writers he cared most for the works of Joel Chandler Harris and O. Henry—an odd combination!
"

One person I showed the inscription to was actually moved to tears so I thought that it might be worth mentioning it to Bush Poetry Association members who I know share my passion for such things.

The famous meeting between Paterson and Roosevelt where this book was gifted by Banjo will be represented in the Cultural Centre by a scale model of the two men meeting at Moascar Camp in Egypt.
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Shelley
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Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Post by Shelley » Tue May 25, 2021 9:02 am

Very interesting, and I'm sure that the modern generation's only connection with a "Kermit" would be the green frog!

Great to illuminate the past yet again!
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"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 May 31, 2021 8:11 am

Yes exactly Shelley.

I believe that particular example demonstrates our philosophy. Entertainment and education.

Go to a publicly-funded "museum" for example and you would not find Kermit waving a flag and holding this important book. They are all places where expensive trendy and in-your-face architecture (so called "Award Winning" Designs) take precedence over content. We are the opposite. Content and first class presentation of material (and pleasing our guests) comes first.

I believe that you have to be humble and "go to the people" in every way (including where you locate the Cultural Centre). If the Frog is what guests understand and enjoy.... and it gets our message across and draws them to the exhibit.... then everyone wins. No stodgy displays and dullness for us. And certainly no snake oil salesmen architects trying to sell us crazy hard-to-maintain designs. You can produce an appealing landmark design with the clever use of conventional features. No hard lines or impractical curves for us. A friendly building... without looking like an office block.

This project will be Australia's only true Cultural Centre. Our aim is to produce something fabulous that is not just better but is miles ahead of the rest, and we are definitely well on the way to achieving that.

The one and only place where you can see what Australia has produced... its National Identity.. The Arts included...all on one site. We are fortunate to be able to comprehensively build a diverse exhibition that has as its popular foundation the Bush Poets like Lawson and Paterson.

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Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Post by Gary Harding » Wed Jun 02, 2021 8:09 am

For interest ... The latest edition of Beacon Magazine, Issue 19, includes our article (Australian) Kitchen Culture on page 36.

https://thebeacon.com.au/magazine-publications/

Instead of going back to the early 20th century, we elected to present something that was representative of what might be found in kitchens of the 1950's and 1960's in particular. Items drawn from my own collection. I have about five different Semak Vitamizer models. Don't ask me why... there is no logical answer other than one gets strange and eccentric when collecting stuff for years.

Personally I think this was a time when an actual Australian Kitchen Culture sort of became more discernible. Women's Weekly cookery books dominated and became essential items.

It is also a time when many people might remember the Sunbeam Mixmaster 9B and even the Semak Vitamizer with its cult following, certainly in Victoria.

We look briefly at the subject from an Australian Cultural aspect, not a history lesson or a museum thing. No lecturing. Just a bit of fun.

Not too distant from current generations to lose relevance. Another happy bridge in The Cultural Centre between the past and the present time.
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Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Post by Shelley » Sat Jun 05, 2021 5:09 pm

Yes, all very familiar from the childhood of this Baby Boomer kid!
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 » Sun Jun 06, 2021 7:43 am

C J Dennis Story (Part 3)

Following on from my prior posts on Ian F. McLaren..

When Ian passed away it was a sad loss for Australia because he was always "contributing greatly to the nation" in some way.

Just as our proposed Australian Cultural Centre will be doing I guess.

I always remembered the time he showed me his extensive Dennis Collection in his home. Years ago, thinking that I might investigate it in more depth and in my own time, I took a special trip in to the Baillieu Library at Melbourne Uni. Fronting up to the desk I politely explained that I was a friend of Ian's, also a devotee of Dennis and I would like to examine again that part of his extensive collection please.

"Have you got a Student Card?" asked the officious lady at the desk.

"No I haven't, but I was a friend of Ian's" I politely replied, hoping to at least gain some sort of necessary status that it was rapidly becoming obvious I would need in order to tread those hallowed library corridors. Being a mere tax-paying interested citizen and wearing a shirt and tie was not good enough.

"I'm sorry (I am sure she was quite the opposite in fact) but if you do not have a student card you cannot see it". Ian would have turned in his grave if he knew what the people to whom he had entrusted his Dennis Collection were doing.

Ian's magnificent Dennis Collection as far as I know still resides at the Baillieu at the sole disposal of those fortunate few kids with a precious Student Card and just out of high school. I suspect 99% of them today have never heard of C J Dennis.
Has anyone at all used Ian's Dennis Collection since I attempted to many years ago? I think not... and certainly not lowly members of the public.

I would have loved to recommend to ABPA members a visit to the Baillieu Library to see it.

I suspect though that in today's society, the hurdles placed in your way would be far more than the Student Card you will doubtless still need to produce in order to truly immerse yourself in the wonderful World Of The Sentimental Bloke... plus you will need to scan your phone in order to let Government know you are there and that will no doubt be added to your file.

So it is probably not worth the candle... :)
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Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Post by Maureen K Clifford » Sun Jun 06, 2021 11:20 am

Shared this info Gary over to the ARP page. It looks fabulous - well done.
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