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WA BUSH POETS AND
  YARN SPINNERS ASSOCIATION INC.

 

 

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WESTERN AUSTRALIAN BUSH POETS FROM THE PAST
This page is being constructed gradually as time goes on and more Bush Poets from the past are discovered and they, along with whatever of their  poetry we can find is added.

It is a sad fact that much of our literary history is either forgotten or is locked away in some archives accessible only to people "in the know". I (Brian Langley) along with the WA Bush Poets believe that the poetic history, particularly the rhyming poetry of authors now dead should not be forgotten but should form an accessible part of our Heritage and Culture for all to enjoy, and so I have created these pages with this thought in mind.

It is by reading through these poems of a past era that we begin to understand just what life was like in times past, the hardships, the isolation, the humour, the hopes, the political intrigues, the social mores, these are what make us what we are today.

Western Australia has a rich heritage in poetry, although very little of it has been remembered.  The relative isolation of both Western Australia and its outback and goldfields meant that a lot of the poets of earlier times only ever got published in the local weekly paper (of which almost none survived) -  It is only since the days of some of the old newspapers being available on the internet that much of the poetry on these pages has once more seen the light of day.

While some of the poems are from well known and documented authors (albeit little known outside "poetic" specialists), many are from people who possibly only penned a small number during their lifetime.  Some of these do not necessarily have the consistency of rhythm or structure that we modern "Bush Poets" have come to accept as the norm, nor do they always have perfect rhyme, but they are part of our history, heritage and culture and are the fore-runners of the highly structured Bush verse of today.

Please be aware that some of the poems in this series contain words that are today (2011) racially unacceptable.  I have not "cleansed" them for they are in the language of the time they were written when attitudes and social mores were quite different to what they are today.  Likewise, you may find dashes in some poems.  These too are as originally penned.  The dashes were in place of (very mild by current standards) expletives which at the time would have landed their author  and publisher in court - Oh! how times have changed.  

If you know of any poet that you feel deserves to be on these pages, please inform the
webmaster
If you have any poems which you feel should appear on these pages, please send an electronic version
(MS Word, Publisher - Not PDF) to the
webmaster

To be considered, a poet must have written mainly Australian Rhyming Verse whilst in Western Australia and must have died.  - If they died prior to 1955, their poetry (which should be copyright free), if available, will likely be included in these pages.  Poets who died later than 1955 may have some biographical information included as well as any poetry we can get the copyright owners permission to publish.  

I have in some cases pre-empted permission to publish, mainly as I have had enormous difficulty locating the copyright owners.    Should you be a copyright owner of some of this material and object to it being here, please inform me and I will remove it, if it is OK with you for it to be here, please also inform me so that I can give due recognition of your permission.

As these poems of a past era have been researched and transcribed from their original source  by me (Brian Langley) over a long period, in my own time and with no financial help from anyone (including WA Bush Poets), I reserve the right to remove or re-locate any or all of the poems that I have collected (but not including the few that have been compiled / donated by others) which appear on this series of pages.
 

 

Below is an alphabetic listing of poets who wrote whilst in Western Australia and who have now passed into the pages of history.

It includes poets who were normally based in other places but came to Western Australia and wrote whilst here

 

Clicking on their name will take you to a page containing whatever biographical information have gathered and also (where applicable) whatever  poetry I have found.  Contributions from the public to this page is always welcome -  simply e-mail the webmaster

 

Those who passed on prior to 1955 and whose poetry should be copyright free
 

Anon & Small Listings Chronological listing of Poems whose authorship is unknown or of a poet of  whom little is known or who wrote only a small number of poems

Bedford  -  Randolph (1868-1941)       

Bourke  -  John Philip  (Bluebush)  (1857-1914)  

"Brumby"  seeking info -  he was very prolific around 1904

Delaney - John (Jack) (Jean Dell)  (? - 1942)  NEW  Dec  2016

Hayward  -  Charles Wilton  Andree (Viator)  (1866-1950) 

Hervey - Grant  (1880-1933)

Lawson  -  Henry (1867-1922)

Moore  -  George Fletcher (1798 - 1886)

Murphy  -  Edwin Greenslade  (Dryblower) (1866 - 1939)

Ophel  - Francis William (Prospect Good) (1871-1912)

"Points"    Mr A "Needle" Pain - poems to come later   

Sorensen  -  Jack (1907 - 1949)

"The Exile"  -   seeking information

"The Understudy" 

"Thomas the Rhymer"      

Vosper - Frederick C  B  MLA (1869 - 1901)

Wallace  -  Alf  (the Axeman)   (1876 - 1924)       

Wilson  -  Thomas H (Crosscut)  (1867 - 1925)

 

 

 

Those who have passed on more recently (post 1955)
and whose poetry is likely to be restricted by copyright
Please tell me if you know of anyone whose name should be here or if you have any details about the listed people
 

Bob Batchelor  (1923 - 2000)  (seeking permission to publish his work)

Victor Courtney (1894 - 1970) (seeking permission to publish his poems)

Evelyn Cull    (1912 - 2002)

Dame Mary Durack (1913 - 1994)

Connie  Herbert (1924 - 2002)  seeking poems & permission  

Nancy Hobson      (seeking  poems & permission)

Johnny James        (seeking info poems & permission)

Leigh Matthews  (d c2007)  (seeking info, poetry and permission)

Bill McAtee  (d c2007) (seeking info, poetry and permission)

William John McCudden (1902 - ?)  Seeking info , poems & permission

John McMicking (Johnny Mac) (1931-2011)  

Darcy McNamara (1906 - ?)   

V. L. P. "Snow" Picks (1916 - 1995) 

Sylvia Rowell (c1919 - 2009)  

 

Various Authors - (Less than 6 known Poems)



Walking Different Tracks

The list below is of prolific Western Australian poets of a past era whose style generally is not considered to be Bush Poetry,  They are included as they did, in their day contribute greatly to the overall poetry scene in Australia -  I include a very brief profile of those I know of - again, please inform me of anyone you think should be listed -  I will only transcribe any of their poems I feel fit the "Bush Poetry" style

 

Clay,  Henry E 
(aka H.E.C.)
Born: 1844 Cheshire, England
Died:
1896 Perth, Western Australia

155 known poems
book -Two and Two : A Story of the Australian Forest; with Minor Poems of Colonial Interest - 1873 (first book of poetry published in WA)  (24 poems)

book - Poems 1910  (123 poems)

Henry Clay arrived in Western Australia from England at the age of 14 and worked as a government clerk. In 1873, he became the first poet to publish a separate publication of poetry in Western Australia. His poetry includes many Australian images and depictions of Australian bush life. In 1890, Clay wrote the words of  'Rouse Thee Wes'tralia: Proclamation Song', (with music by Sir William Robinson?)
Chandler, Alfred Born: 1852 Geelong, Victoria
Died: 1941 Perth, Western Australia
109 known poems inc
Lights Along the Mile,   Westralia    Catching the Coach   Gallipoli

Peace on Earth
spending his early career in SA,  he arrived in Coolgardie in 1894. He edited The Goldfield Courier, The Coolgardie Miner and later, The Sunday Times. He resigned from The Sunday Times in 1925 and became a prominent member of the Secession movement. Chandler was an active member of Perth's literary world.
Ewers, John K  (1904 - 1978)  
Mark Annie H
(aka Hetherington Annie,
        Coxon, Annie H)
Born: 1875 Cumberland, England
Died: 1947
91 known poems -  inc.
When morning Glory Trims a Fence
book - "Poems of the West"  Perth  1929
book - "Happy Hearts - Poems for Children"  Perth  1939
Annie arrived in Western Australia in 1911

she also wrote several songs

looking for additional info

Hewitt, Dorothy Born: 21 May 1923 Perth, Western Australia
Died:
25 Aug 2002 Blue Mountains, New South Wales
Raised in Wickepin (near Narrogin), Dorothy went on to become one of the most well known names in Australian literature, her story is readily available
Roberts, Neroli   born c. 1922
died 2015
45 known poems  -  downloadable as a .DOC file
The poetry of Neroli Roberts

While Neroli's poetry generally does not fit what we now term "Bush Poetry" in that it does not have consistency of metre and verse structure, it does have fairly consistent rhyme and the majority of her poems are about nature, in particular, the Kimberly region of Western Australia
     

 

Many poems of past eras contain words and phrases that no longer are in common use. While some older folk may still recall some of them, younger generation may puzzle over the strange choice of words.  I have attempted to create a list of these words and phrases with current meaning - perhaps one day, these too will disappear into obscurity   Click Here to go to the list

Didn't find it here?    Try Searching Old Newspapers   -   Enter what you are looking for in the "Trove" Search Window

 

 

 

Acknowledgements.

  To get this listing and poems, I have used:

  • The internet including many individual private sites as well as various National Resources such as , AustLit

  • Various Anthologies of Bush Poetry  -  several of which are long out of print. 

  • Various Perth and Regional early newspapers on file at the Battye Library in Perth and / or on the internet "Trove" website, a subsidiary of the The National Library of Australia

  I would, however like to acknowledge past researchers whose work I have referred to in some cases.  In particular:

  • Prof. John Kinsella  (University of WA), WA writing

  • Chris Holyday (Into the West  2005 -  Hesperian Press )

  • Margaret Bull (Verse from the Goldfields - 1975)

  • Bob Rummery (Poems from "The Axeman"  and  Tom (Crosscut) Wilson)

  • John McMicking and Katy Vickers  for John's collections of Jack Sorensen's poems as well as some of his and Dame Mary Durack's

  • Catherine Jennings for the poems of Neroli Roberts

I would also like to acknowledge family members who have given publishing permission, poems and biogs

  • Margaret Buckley and Annette Kirkwood for the poems, biog and pictures of their father, "Snow" Pick

 

 

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This Page initially created Sept 9 2010