Writers from our past with connections to the Central West:
Born in London, Goodge came to Australia in 1882. A journalist, he became editor of the Orange Leader from 1894 - 1904. Always a popular Bulletin Poet, he was one of Australia's best writers of light verse. Remembered for the Great Australian Adjective and Hits! Skits! and Jingles!
Born in Orange and educated at Sydney University, Meredith is remembered for her outstanding popular radio serials. The Lawsons which ran from 1943 - 1949 and Blue Hills which was broadcast 4 days a week from 1949 to 1976. She also wrote serveral plays and novels based on the serials.
The following is an excerpt from the Monash Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Australians / general editors John Arnold, Deirdre Morris. Port Melbourne, Vic : Reed Reference Publishing, c1994
"[John Shaw Neilson was] born 22 February 1872 in Penola, SA, the son of bush poet John Neilson. From a humble rural background he left school at 14 and became a bush labourer. He later estimated that he had held more than 200 jobs in 30 years in Victoria and parts of NSW. Taken up by A.G. Stephens of the Bulletin, Neilson found a mature voice in the early 1900s, contributing verse to the Bulletin, the Bookfellow and Randolph Bedford’s Clarion. He drew inspiration from bush life and from nature, and he felt often ‘the loves of leafy choristers to me; Music is the sunlight, strong and free’. His volumes of lyric poetry include Heart of Spring (1919), New Poems (1927) and Beauty Imposes (1938). Suffering poor health from heavy bush work and with failing eyesight, Neilson was employed in the office of the Country Roads Board in Melbourne from 1928 but wrote little more. He died in Melbourne on 12 May 1942."
John Shaw Neilson The Collected Verse A Variorum Edition Edited by Margaret Roberts Australian Scholarly Editions Centre
UNSW at ADFA Canberra 2003 states John Shaw Newilson worked at Cadia, near Orange in 1926.
Andrew Barton Paterson was a poet, solicitor, journalist, war correspondent and soldier as well as a ballad writer, horseman and bushman, was born on 17 February 1864 at Narambla near Orange, New South Wales. His parents lived at Buckinbah Station at Yeoval and when his uncle died at Illalong, near Yass, the family then moved there to run the farm.
He trained as a solicitor but also contributed some verse to the Sydney Bulletin under the pseudonym of “The Banjo”, taken from the name of a horse. The works for which Paterson became famous were mostly written before the First World War, and are collected in three books of poems, The Man from Snowy River and Other Verses (1895), Rio Grande’s Last Race and Other Verses (1902), and Saltbush Bill, J.P. and Other Verses (1917). His prose works include An Outback Marriage (1906), and Three Elephant Power and Other Stories (1917). Paterson’s most famous works are Waltzing Matilda, written in 1895, and now an unofficial anthem of Australia and The Man From Snowy River. He died in Sydney in 1941.
Since 1991, each year, the city has held the Banjo Paterson Writing Awards to honour this great Australian writer (1864 – 1941). The awards are announced each February and close in April with winners announced in June. There are four sections: Prose, Open Poetry, Bush Poetry and Children’s Writing Awards. Introduced by the Banjo Paterson Committee and Orange City Council the awards are now supported by Central West Libraries in partnership with the Central West Writers’ Centre. Winning can be read on the Central West Writers' Centre home page.
Born in Orange, Slessor lived most of his life in Sydney often within view of Sydney Harbour, which he loved and frequently use in his poetry. The poem Five Bells is considered to be one of his greatest works. An interpretive sign can be found at the site of the old family home in William Street, Orange and is part of the Orange Heritage Trail (a walking tour around significant sites in Orange).
Born in Orange, Stone became a well known Australia book collector, publisher, printer, editor and bibliographer. Founding member of the Book Collector's Society of Austrlaian, he editoed its journal Biblionews.
He was born on 8 February 1925 at Rose Park, Adelaide and served in the Royal Australian Air Force in the Second World War but didn’t see active service. He studied briefly at Sydney University and spent time in Canada and Britain. His first book of poems, A Drum for Ben Boyd, was published in 1948 while he was in Canada.In 1949, wishing to return to his native land, he travelled by way of England, where he succumbed to the first of many distressing episodes that psychiatrists diagnosed as acute manifestations of chronic schizophrenia. He also lived in Sydney, Melbourne and Orange. Questions about the relation between the condition psychiatrists described as schizophrenia, the sources of artistic creativity, and the nature of religious experience permeated Webb's entire output. Outside his work, he rarely achieved happiness. Yet he had the gift of friendship, attracting the lasting affection of fellow writers such as Stewart, Campbell, Christesen, Nan McDonald, Rosemary Dobson, Vincent Buckley, Chris Wallace-Crabbe, Craig Powell and Alec Hope. Sir Herbert Read described him as 'one of the greatest poets of our time . . . the most unjustly neglected poet of this century'.
(From the Australian Dictionary of Biography)
Orange City Library houses the Mary Elizabeth Byrnes Memorial Library, a significant collection of Australian literature. Donated to the city in 1990 by John (Val) Byrnes (1911-1995) the collection is named in honour of his mother Mary Elizabeth Byrnes (nee Farrell) who was born in 1881 at Springside near Orange. The Library's coverage of Australian Literature is comprehensive consisting of more than 10,000 volumes including newspaper clippings, letters and cards from authors, photographs and other memorabilia. It contains many titles significant to Australia's literary heritage. Officially opened in 1992 by the late Frank Hardy the collection has been extensively indexed and catalogued since its acquisition to make it accessible to the people of Orange and the wider community.
Charlotte Calder was born in Adelaide and grew up in the Adelaide Hills and Darwin. She has worked, among other things, as an actor and photographer, and has written articles for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian. Her novel for young adults, Settling Storms, was published by Lothian Books in 2000, followed by Cupid Painted Blind in 2002 and Surviving Amber in 2005, both published by Pan Macmillan. She has recently completed a biography of the aviation pioneer and founder of Hazelton Airlines, Max Hazelton, and launched her novel for young adults Paper Alice. Most recently she launched her first children's book Stuck! She lives near Orange with her husband and they have three children. To read Charlotte's blog go to: http://charlottecalderwriter.blogspot.com/
Stuck! One warm and windy day, Charlie and his friends decide to fly a kite. It takes off and soars and swoops and plunges straight into a tree. The kite is stuck. One by one, Charlie's friends each try to free the kite with their toys all of which end up stuck in the tree along with the kite. Just when it looks as though everything is stuck forever, the cat loses its footing on a branch and sets off a chain reaction, sending their toys to the ground. But guess who is stuck now? The book is beautifully illustrated by Mark Jackson and there is a little caterpillar to look out for in the drawings.
"It was in the Metro section of the Saturday paper - one of those what people are wearing in the street'-type segments, featuring a photo of the person and a paragraph underneath describing what she (it was always a girl) had chosen to put on that day. There I was, Alice Macbean, looking like the typical uni student. Fair hair springing around my face, sunnies stretched across wide cheekbones, smiling my having-a-good time smile for the camera. Except it wasn't me." Alice thinks she's got it pretty good. Other than her first year at uni being a bit stressful, her boyfriend Dunc being a bit difficult, and her best friend Milly being a bit impulsive, she can't complain. But when an unfamiliar picture of herself appears in the paper, everything starts to change. Soon, Alice is under a spotlight mistaken for the strangely named Wilda. Every time she tries to set the record straight, she gets sidetracked - especially when the charming and funny Andy is around. Just who and where is the mysterious Wilda? But, more importantly, if she finds her doppelganger, will Alice learn a lot more about herself than she is willing to know?
Cupid Painted Blind
Another mystery – midsummer madness and first love, combined with A Midsummer Night's Dream and an anonymous Gremlin.
Heath's island world is turned upside down when sophisticated cousin Amber and her dysfunctional family come to stay.
Mel's hellish move from Melbourne to a tropical backwater. New school, new kids. Plus a tragedy no one should have to go through ...
Kathleen was born and raised in Molong and later Orange. She has written for a living since 1987 as a commercial copywriter for radio, TV and print, then worked briefly as a freelance journalist. She received formal qualification in communications from the University of Technology, Sydney in 1992.
After becoming a parent in 1997, she was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and spent several years in and out of institutions in Australia and the UK learning to manage this condition.
She worked on the !@#$ Happens Puppet Show as co-writer and performer for mental health week in 2003 in collaboration with Arts Out West. Her poem Bowess and short story Apple Blossom Cherry Queen were published in the 1st Contours publication produced by the Central West Writers' Centre. Both were featured on local ABC radio.
She has also worked on several board games as well as articles, child care publications and business publications.
A three week retreat fellowship at Varuna Writers Centre in 2001 for her non fiction manuscript about her experiences with bipolar and psychosis led to her work being featured at the 2004 Sydney Writers' Festival.
Her most recent work has been with OCTEC (Orange Community Training Education Centre Inc) as a literacy tutor and bus driver for a program Links to Learning for children at risk of disengaging from school.
Kathleen is pictured above. For the extract from her work presented at the 2004 Sydney Writers' Festival click here.
Paul Stafford is a literacy consultant (specialising in Stage 3-4 reluctant boy readers & writers) in schools across Australia. His latest series of books of comedy-horror, Horror High, are published by Random House Australia, and he's the author of the teenage fiction novel Ned Kelly's Helmet and eight books of short stories under the Pants on Fire imprint. (see www.pantsonfire.com.au) Paul grew up in Kurrajong Heights and now lives outside Bathurst, NSW. He studied print journalism at Mitchell CAE, graduating in 1989, but renounced the make-believe world of journalism for the hard and gritty reality of teenage fiction. Although a career in writing has meant abandoning his childhood dreams of wealth and respectability, he now gets to sleep late, dress scruffy, and gnaw on the skulls of his enemies. It's a trade-off he's learnt to live with.
Former Central West Writers' Center member, now South Coast Writers' Centre member, Dale Harcombe's collection of poetry, Kaleidoscope, was published by Ginninderra Press in 2005. Many of these poems have been published in some of Australia's leading literary journals and newspapers. Her poetry has appeared in several anthologies. An experienced English tutor, Dale has conducted writing workshops in Sydney and Orange. She is a manuscript assessor for Driftwood Manuscripts Services and Manuscripts Online, has reviewed poetry books and scripts for several magazines and is a children's book reviewer. As well as poetry, Dale's short stories, children's and YA fiction, a radio play, articles and educational texts, have been published in Australia, USA, UK and Malaysia.
Added to poetry, Dale writes short stories, children's and YA fiction. Chasing After the Wind, her novel for 11-14 year olds, was published by Scholastic in 1997. An extract can be seen below (click image for more info);
Her latest book is Streets on a Map. You can read more about Streets on a Map on the Ark House Press site here http://www.arkhousepress.com/shop/arkhouseau/
Other books include: Lights, Camera, Action and Saltspray Idol and The Goanna Island Mystery
Write and read with Dale - go to her blog at http://www.livejournal.com/users/orangedale/