Thursday, December 09, 2010
For those outside Australia, Banjo Paterson aka Andrew Barton Paterson (1864-1941) is considered a major figure along with Henry Lawson (1867-1922) in Australian literary history. His poetry about the bush and ordinary people’s lives is still popular today. There are bush poetry events where Banjo Paterson and others will be recited and bush poetry competitions for modern day poets who write in a similar style. There are different regions which claim him as their own and there are more busts of him than you can poke a poet at.
When you drive over the Illalong Creek Bridge just before Binalong village think of Banjo. He lived with his family on his uncle’s Illalong farm after the uncle died. He attended school at Binalong (once he learnt to ride a horse to get there) until he was …about nine. Famous poems include "Waltzing Matilda", "The Man from Snowy River" and "Clancy of the Overflow." More info here.
I ran into some bush poets during the recent Poetry and Place tour. They joined in the conversation about place, with recitations of the famous bards and recitations of their own poetry. Now I have to find the CD so I can tell you the name of the poet who had us in stitches with his billy cart poem. And then there were the wild mushrooms they spied on the way climbing over electric fences endangering the family jewels only to find it was white feldspar (I think). Second mushroom spotting was more successful and we all went home with a share of the harvest. I put mine in the boot and forgot about them. A day or two later there was a stink – opened the boot to find the mushrooms and they were very wormy indeed. I hope nobody else ate theirs hah.