President, John Lacey, opens our 90th Anniversary celebrations:
ELCOME to our celebrations of the 90th anniversary
of DH Lawrence's arrival in Sydney, and, by a happily-planned
coincidence, the 20th anniversary of the founding of our Society.
spent their first two nights at Mrs Scott's guest-housee over
there (the modern building until recently housed the American
Club) before leaving for Thirroul where they lived inside a mystery
wrapped up in an enigma which Robert Darroch, our vice-president
and driving-force has spent many years trying to unravel.
meeting was held here, in the Rose Garden Pavilion in 1992. So
I would ask you to join me in a toast to the DHL Society of Australia
and its members.
is indeed a happy occasion for the Society, it is a sad one for
me personally, as I formally tender my resignation as President
and Editor of Rananim. Some of you know that I am suffering
from a chronic illness and this has led to my moving to Coffs
Harbour to be with family.
only two resolutions to this illness: one is an organ transplant,
but re-reading parts of Lawrence has helped me get through the
dark nights contemplating the alternative.
I do not have the strength to devote to the needs of the society,
and to you its members.
While I hope that I may have "done the State some service",
personally my life has been enriched by many experiences in holding
After 13 years as President of your society I have a great many
people to thank, starting with all of you present today. But I
will name two people only, Rob and Sandra Darroch. Without them,
as I am sure you realise, there simply would be no DH L Society
of Australia, and I wish to thank them publicly too for their
many acts of personal kindness to me over the years.
So I would
propose a second toast, to the Darrochs and their huge contributions
to the DHL Society.
For the reasons I've mentioned above there will be no Presidential
Report as such. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen - friends - you
may now enjoy the day.
Some pictorial memories of John Lacey's 13 years as President
of the DH Lawrence
Society of Australia
VIP steam yacht Lady Hopetoun, which John chartered
for t-e Society's annual Harbour cruise
spectacular sunset, photographed by John on
one of the Lady Hopetoun cruises
Lacy and Cerridwen Lee aboard the Lady
Jonathan Long (a member of the DH Lawrence Society of the UK)
of a talk given at The Sun Inn, Eastwood, on April 13 last year
on "Dudley Nichols: 'Breaking the Chain of Conversation.
A Journey of Discovery, Following
Lawrence Around the World'.")
a special meeting for two reasons. The first, with the [UK] Society
'homeless' following the predictable but unfortunate increase
in charges for the use of the Eastwood Library, we were trying
out alternative venues. An obvious choice was the Sun Inn, at
the heart of so many places in Eastwood with Lawrence connections
(and the site of the birth of the Midland Railway in 1832). The
second was that our speaker was a nephew of Lawrence's fiancée
Louie Burrows, his mother being one of her younger sisters. And,
perhaps uniquely, Dudley had previously made a similar presentation
to the D.H. Lawrence Society of Australia - see: http://www.dhlawrencesocietyaustralia.com.au/lawrence%20month/l%20month.html
Dudley gave us a copiously
illustrated talk on some of the places across the world that he
and his wife had visited where Lawrence had been. He showed us
over 100 photos, taking us in chronological order from Dudley's
association with Lawrence as a nephew of Louie and her family's
connection with Cossall, the Cossethay of The Rainbow, through
to the Lawrence tomb in Taos, New Mexico. As illustrated biographies
have shown, although we can never reproduce what Lawrence saw
and felt, we can get closer to him through images of the places
he visited. Keith Sagar's The Life of D.H. Lawrence and
Harry T. Moore and Warren Roberts' D.H. Lawrence and His World
would be much less impressive without those carefully chosen illustrations.
Any member of our
Society will want to visit the places that Lawrence stayed the
longest and that are associated with his best work. The Nichols'
travels in Lawrence's footsteps included Villa Mirenda, Scandicci,
set in a beautiful location in the hills overlooking Florence,
and forever associated with Lady Chatterley's Lover, and Mabel
Dodge Luhan's house and the Kiowa Ranch, inspiration for so much
of Lawrence's American period. The photos of Thirroul, where Lawrence
wrote Kangaroo, remind us though that houses such as Wyewurk
are private property and not all owners of such property share
our appreciation of a famous former resident, nor do they welcome
visitors. Close shots of that house are not possible in the way
they are of properties fronting roads, such as 1 Byron Villas,
in Hampstead. Dudley also talked us through the early months of
Lawrence's relationship with Frieda and their travels through
the Tyrol and down to Gargnano on Lake Garda, some of the most
picturesque places on his travels. Such an evening could only
raise again the question of why Lawrence never settled anywhere
permanently, particularly when so many of the places he stayed
are quite inspirational.
Some of these locations
are of course very familiar to us from the illustrated biographies
but it was interesting to see how (if at all) they have changed
over the years. Equally interesting was to see some of the less
familiar sites such as The Cearne, Edenbridge where Edward Garnett
lived, an editor so important to Lawrence's early development
as a writer, and Ludwig Wilhelm Stift in Baden-Baden where Frieda's
mother spent her last years - the lady who became the recipient
of some of Lawrence's best letters. And how many of us have been
to Compton House in Bournemouth where Lawrence convalesced in
1912, or the house in Broadstairs where Lawrence stayed in 1913?
Some of these locations
are difficult to locate - you cannot for example follow the directions
Lawrence provided to get to the Villa Mirenda. The task for us
is to record (perhaps in this Journal) how these important sites
can be reached.
Louie Burrows, Lawrence's fiancee
shrine, Taos, New Mexico
Photo: Michael Lester