The other famous bush poet, Banjo Paterson, is not remembered with any full-sized bronze statues, but there are plenty of other memorials to him in different places in NSW.
Banjo Paterson Park in Yass, which we featured in a previous blog, has a bust of the poet and there is another on the outskirts of Orange. Banjo Paterson was born at Narrambla Homestead on 17 February 1864. There is now a small park on the Ophir Rd at the former site of the property.
An obelisk in the small park has a quote from Banjo’s poem, Clancy of the Overflow.
“And he sees the vision splendid
Of the sunlit plains extended
And at night the wondrous glory
Of the everlasting stars”
Grenfell, the birthplace of Henry Lawson, and also mentioned in a previous blog, has recently unveiled a new bronze statue of the poet. It shows Lawson sitting on a park bench and there is room for tourists to sit beside him to have their photo taken.
Grenfell already had an impressive bust of Henry Lawson as part of a memorial in the main street. Grenfell’s Henry Lawson Festival will also held on the first weekend in June.
Not far from the Henry Kendall memorial in the Sydney Botanic Gardens, is a memorial to another famous bush poet, Henry Lawson. We mentioned this statue in a previous blog post.
There is another statue of Henry Lawson in a park in Gulgong, NSW. It’s a bit out of the way on the western side of the town and easy to miss.
Gulgong’s Henry Lawson Festival will be on the first weekend in June, featuring a Grand Parade, vintage displays, literary awards, poets morning tea, pavement art and food fair and wine tasting.
The small town of Milton on the NSW south coast is the birthplace of Henry Kendall. He was born in 1839 in a settlers hut on a property near the town and lived there with his family until he was five years old. Despite his short association with the town, Kendall has always been fondly remembered in Milton. In 1972, a stone cairn was placed in the garden at the front of Milton Pubic School in memory of the poet.
When we were in Sydney’s Botanic Garden recently we walked past a memorial to the poet Henry Kendall. He is one of Australia’s earliest poets, often called a bush poet, and put in the same category as Henry Lawson or Banjo Paterson. However Kendall’s poems are not so much about people and more often about the natural environment. He had a real love of the forests of eastern Australia.
From 1857 to 1868, Kendall lived in Sydney and worked for some of that time as a clerk in the Department of Lands, and he often walked in the nearby Botanic Gardens.
On our recent visit to Camperdown Cemetery we also went in search of the graves of the victims of the wreck of the Dunbar. The Dunbar was a fully-rigged sailing ship that was wrecked at the entrance to Sydney Harbour in August 1857. Of the 122 people on board, only one survived, and this is still one of the worst maritime disasters in Australia’s history. Some call it Australia’s Titanic.
The remains of many of the victims were buried in a mass grave in Camperdown Cemetery, and now they are remembered with a memorial there which includes an anchor from the wreck.
Peter Corris, a Sydney-based crime writer, used the wreck of the Dunbar as part of the plot in one of his Cliff Hardy detective series. Called The Dunbar Case, the story begins in an inner Sydney suburb and then moves 150km further north to Newcastle. The plot involves a search for loot that is in some way connected with the wreck.
Camperdown Cemetery in the inner Sydney suburb of Newtown is the city’s oldest grave yard. Grim and gloomy even on a sunny day, its old crumbling tombstones create a sombre atmosphere that rivals any Victorian era grave yard that you might see in England.
Camperdown Cemetery even has an Anglican parish church in the graveyard just like at St Pancras Old Church in London which we featured in a previous blog post.
Amongst all the tombstones in the cemetery is one of particular interest to readers of Dickens’ novels. Almost in the centre of the grave yard is a tombstone recording the demise of James Donnithorne who worked for the East India Company in Mysore and retired to Sydney in 1836. Smaller print at the bottom of the tombstone records the death of his daughter, Eliza Emily Donnithorne, who is believed to have been the inspiration for the character of Miss Havisham in Great Expectations.
On her wedding day in 1856, with the guests already assembled, Eliza was jilted. Just like Miss Havisham, Eliza left the wedding breakfast just as it was to moulder away on the dining table and never again left the house and spent the remaining 40 years of her life as a recluse.
Until last year there were only two statues of Charles Dickens anywhere in the world – one in Philadelphia USA and one in Sydney Australia. Dickens stipulated in his will that no memorials should be erected in his honour and that he wished to be remembered by his writings. Portsmouth UK, Dickens birthplace, now has a statue of the famous author, which was erected with the approval of his descendants.
Sydney’s statue of Charles Dickens is in Centennial Park, which was designated as public open space in 1888. The park has huge grassed areas under shady trees, formal gardens and even a remnant of the original bushland. The Charles Dickens statue was one of 11 statues placed in the park in 1889.
Charles Dickens never travelled to Australia, although two of his sons, Alfred and Edward, immigrated to NSW in the 1860s. There is one other Dickensian connection in Sydney though, which we will investigate in the next blog post.
A Mary Poppins Festival is held annually in Maryborough, this year on 5 July. Activities include many Mary Poppins themed events, such as nanny races, a chimney sweep challenge, costume parade, kite flying, puppet shows, street theatre and sidewalk art.
Maryborough’s Visitor Information Centre is in the City Hall, an imposing building with a clock tower. This is where you go for an amazing range of Mary Poppins souvenirs and for copies of the books. From the visitor centre you can join a free guided walking tour of the town, leaving at 9am every morning, except Sunday. You will have no trouble spotting the tour guide, as he or she will be dressed in a 19th century costume. If you have enough people to put together a small group, you can book a Tea with Mary tour which ends at a tea shop.
Just outside the City Hall, ten Mary Poppins characters are etched on brick plinths. Using a sheet of paper and a pencil or crayon to rub over the etching, you can make a souvenir picture. Around the City Hall you will find many more of Maryborough’s historic buildings, including the School of Arts, St Paul’s Church and the old railway station.