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 Jun 06, 2021 2:53 pm

Thanks for your constant support Maureen!

I have just had a fantastic Sunday morning.... an extended phone chat to a wonderful bloke in Melbourne who is Australia's authority on Vintage Australian Radio Drama and who also published a book on the subject. We could have chatted for hours more in fact.

Naturally I am hoping to eventually invite (and have) him on board as tech assistant to help us cover this important Australian Cultural area.

He knew Leonard Teale well .. said he was a really great bloke!!... a "deep thinker"... and he traveled to Africa with him. He remembered his lovely wife too, Liz (Harris).
When I said we had a display on Len, he was delighted.. and amazed too I think. I mean who would be crazy enough to do that??? except us.

He said we have an enormous job ahead and understands where we are coming from. Extremely supportive.

He also said nobody else is doing what we are in his field of Early and Classic Radio. Marking its important place in Australian culture in a permanent and entertaining way. Enshrining it.

We discussed associated areas such as Radio Top-40 in the 1960's (and late 1950's). I mentioned my large indexed vinyl record collection of that era etc... and how it was going to be tricky to present the subject such that it appealed to the current generation as well as older folk. ETC

In fact one of Australia's most well known people (and most incredibly wealthy too) recently said about this Project "This needs to be done...".

Anyway I guess the advantage we have is that we only need to present a precise sample of each subject. We know a little bit about a lot... but then some things we luckily do know a lot about. :)

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Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Post by Gary Harding » Wed Jun 09, 2021 6:16 pm

Work in Progress (part 1) for Cultural Centre

An interesting way to feature both the New Idea Magazine (1934) and Australian fashion is to reproduce a garment from an original inserted paper pattern.
Having selected the garment, the next thing was to find the right mannequin. That meant a search to locate the best body shape, stance and facial expression.

Beauty, intelligence and sophistication as well.... (conversational ability optional).

The blue coat-dress currently being made is shown on the cover of this 1934 edition (see pic).

However ...having a completely undressed lady standing in the lounge-room is definitely not something that I am used to.

Also, should she be unclothed under this coat-dress and be on public display in a family Centre? It did not sit well with me.

So a detailed 1930's "brassiere and panties set" of the period (see pic) was made for her from a purchased 1930's repro pattern. She seems happier now and I am certain that she actually winked at me!

Would I have felt differently about the need for her to have undergarments if she was a Real Model instead? Yes.

Life is full of oddities and contradictions :)
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Gary Harding
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Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Post by Gary Harding » Fri Jun 11, 2021 6:20 pm

Work in Progress (Part, the Second)

First.. marking out from supplied 1934 pattern onto calico for pre-fitting.

Then pinning the calico together on the mannequin.. adding darts, pleats etc and altering the pattern to suit so that it has good shape and does not "hang like a sack". Making, adjusting and re-making calico pattern.

Sleeve re-shaping to match what is shown on the magazine cover sketch.

Then... make up the beret (no pattern supplied) to conform to what is pictured.... line with satin. A complex three day exercise.

Pictures (click on them for better view) show the finished beret.

Dress-coat make-up in blue woven fabric with blue satin lining is next operation ....and then collar and flounce.
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Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Post by Gary Harding » Thu Jun 17, 2021 8:52 am

Sheet music is a wonderful record of Australian cultural aspects... including Bush Verse put to music.

We have a sizeable but very select collection. It can be effective by just dropping samples in to displays here and there. Some will be available for the pianola, for the use of piano players. There is a large collection of musical instruments too.... guitars, fiddles etc... and so some more modern sheet music will be provided. Music is very important and visitor participation is encouraged.

All the wars including the Boer War produced patriotic and stirring songs and I think that was a remarkable accomplishment!

Here is a sample of what we have in the Military Section :

1. The AIF Is Marching (WW2). Amazingly we also have the actual 78rpm record of this song! Thus it will be on hand for visitors to hear if they wish, at the press of a button.

2. Now or Never. WW2 recruitment

3. When The News Of Victory Cometh. Boer War around 1900. Rare
.. sample of lyrics..

"There are nations ever ready that would greet our fall with joy,
All jealous of the pow'r supreme that's ours,
And we've had to bravely earn it, there's no gold without alloy
And the path to glory's not all strewn with flowers." etc

(Melbourne, Spectator Publishing Co.)
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Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Post by Gary Harding » Sun Jun 20, 2021 10:42 am

One of the wonderful shows many readers would recall on Old Australian Radio and Music (Sheet Music) is Dad and Dave, from Snake Gully.

There is a DVD of the film On Our Selection, with Leo McKern (Rumpole Of The Bailey) and Geoffrey Rush.

I have previously mentioned the dance The Snake Gully Swagger and shown the sheet music and dance steps for anyone stuck at home and inclined to dancing.

For interest... as a worthwhile unique listen, here is Tiny Tim (an American) performing The Snake Gully Swagger. Not something you come across every day perhaps. There is a 30sec introduction of The Old Bullock Dray and then he rocks into The Swagger... and finishes on a typical high note.

(be warned, this clip is addictive)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CA7efTXQOjY

"Everybody round the place will dance to it
It's going to set the pace let's prance to it
It's a snifter - bodylifter
The Snake Guuuully Swagger"

Also... on a previous post was Snake Gully Home Of Mine (sheet music) and shown here is our scare copy of that song on old 78rpm. Until I get around to getting some new needles I am reluctant to play it though.

Also pictured is our scarce "On Our Selection Waltz".

Can't you just see the old Bushies waltzing around the Woolshed at The Gully?.. beards flowing....

Dad and Dave will have its own section because I hope that it is agreed, it deserves it? :)
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Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Post by Gary Harding » Sat Jun 26, 2021 8:48 am

Clancy Of The Overflow

Although the poem Clancy of the Overflow (A.B. Paterson) has been put to music and sung by the famous Peter Dawson as featured in a previous post, there are other versions around.

Drawing on material found in the collection again....

1. Here is the 1980 sheet-music cover of a version of Clancy with music composed by John Wallis. It is in good condition. As stated on the cover, this was recorded by the (folk) band "Wallis and Matilda"

https://www.wallisandmatilda.com.au/

2. The Original 45rpm recording by Wallis and Matilda of the above on Festival Label

3. Also, here is a version on old 78rpm sung by John Cameron (Baritone). The musical composition is attributed to Arlen. This would be Albert Arlen who is discussed in a previous post as having composed the score for the early 1960's Musical "A Sentimental Bloke". (C. J. Dennis)

I am really not recommending any of this music. It is what it is... mostly just good fun I think.

However.... I am suggesting (and I hope ABPA readers agree?) that it is admirable that people have taken the trouble to put Banjo's words to music, produced their song on a physical record, and then tried to sell it.

When you put sheet music (together with its record) in a case under spotlights with a gold labelling plaque etc you can make such ordinary things appear stellar.

That is what we do with all our displays at the Banjo Paterson Cultural Centre (for all Australian Cultural material, not just bush verse). Take enormous trouble in our presentations.

We will be a unique central hub that both samples some, and gives in-depth treatment to others, for a large range of Australian Cultural exhibits. In effect we are a "one-stop shop" for seeing and appreciating what really is Australian Culture. It is all fading or being destroyed, so there is a lot riding on the success of this ambitious project. Australia's National Identity..... featured and preserved for our future generations. Otherwise lost forever.
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Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Post by Shelley Hansen » Sun Jun 27, 2021 2:19 pm

I reckon one of the most interesting features of On Our Selection with Leo McKern and Geoffrey Rush was the casting of Dame Joan Sutherland as Mum Rudd. The most unlikely choice you could imagine, yet the idea was nothing short of inspired!
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 » Tue Jun 29, 2021 2:28 pm

Yes Shelley, I think casting Dame Joan as they did, possibly carried a similar risk to casting Mick Jagger as Ned Kelly. Would the audience accept them in their character roles ?.. or expect them to burst into their own style of singing. Heaven forbid! Dame Joan in Snake Gully ?? surely not......

Continuing this current subject, here is the latest edition of Beacon magazine that includes our article on Vintage Sheet Music.

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

Edition 20, Page 32

Music for the article was chosen particularly for its attractive cover illustrations.... (my favourites)

Before their move to Hervey Bay, Karen Christensen and her husband owned a large cattle property for 30 years in the Mt. Perry area.

In this article, Karen recollects the old time dances held in the local country Community Hall and the bundles of sheet music accompanying the musicians then.
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Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Post by Gary Harding » Thu Jul 01, 2021 1:50 pm

I enjoy going through old poetry books searching for gems, and of recent times I have also enjoyed brushing the dust off old sheet music and then sharing some of it here with passionate ABPA Members.

But the following incident has absolutely beaten me.. and I welcome comment. Here from the depths of the Collection is the old sheet-music book Australian Songs for Australian Children that I was browsing. The first delightful offering in it is Australia Fair. Here are the words.

"Australia fair I love thee
The dear land of my birth;
To me thou art the sweetest,
The brightest spot on earth

I love thy golden sunshine,
Thy sky of peerless hue,
The soft greys of the distance,
The hills' faint tints of blue

I love thy yellow beaches,
The clear waves tipped with foam,
The capes that stand like bulwarks
To guard my native home.

I love the leafy gullies
Where palm and tree-fern hide,
The tall, grey gums that clamber
On every steep hill-side.

I love the ferny pathways,
Where wattle blossoms fall,
While in the leafy distance
The bell-bird rings his call.

I love the old slab homesteads,
Each peach and lemon tree,
The paddocks and the slip-rails
They speak of home to me."


STOP... you might say?

As I was reading these lyrics by Maybanke Anderson, some "ding-dongs" of familiarity were going off in my head too. When I came to the last verse I blanked it out and tried to actually guess what it would say. Impossible one might think.. but.. hey, I got it right.

"Dear Southern Land Australia.
Wherever I may roam
My heart will turn forever
To thee, my native home."


Coincidentally Dorothea Mackellar wrote....

"Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly."


Now considering that our intention is to feature My Country in The Cultural Centre, it is not to our advantage to delve too deeply into the origins of this popular poem or dare ask questions with potentially politically-unpalatable answers.

The brilliant words of a homesick teenage girl, everyone sighs with stars in their eyes...

However, at least some of the Truth might be told by looking at the dates.
This songbook was published in 1902. Dot composed (or was inspired to write..?) her famous poem starting it in 1904 and it was published 1908... well, apparently.

My Country by Dorothea Mackellar 1904 or Australia Fair by Maybanke Anderson 1902

A draw... because they are both good. :)
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Re: The Spoken Word in Bush Poetry

Post by Gary Harding » Fri Jul 09, 2021 12:23 pm

I'm Off To Woop Woop ..... 1925 Sheet Music

Woop Woop - that elusive place located Beyond the Black Stump and Back of Bourke.

It has come to mean somewhere that is beyond civilisation, a distant destination that is difficult to reach, and indeed may not even exist?

But exist it certainly did!

Good old internet says...

Woop Woop was 10km North-west of Wilga, about 70km South of Collie.W.A.

It was a milling town which came into existence around 1925 to harvest jarrah trees, but after three years, faded into history.

There were six unlined huts for the workers who were "batching" it, a couple of houses for the married workers, a boarding house and an office.

This delightful Sheet music ... I'm Off To Woop Woop is an absolute classic!! - it has it all - composer, title and artwork.

I am so very happy that we will be putting this particular one on public display for people to enjoy!!

I'm off to Woop-Woop.. to Woop-Woop, to Woop-Woop
I'm off to Woop-Woop where I'll be out of harm
That's where you can see them dead.. dead drunk down at Grogan's pub
At Woop-Woop on our farm.
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