WHEN we chose March 2 for the cocktail-party launch of our recent
DHLA-sponsored Lawrence event in Sydney, we did not realise the
significance of the date.
It was only after the start of Lawrence Month the highlight
of which was an art exhibition at the Union, University and Schools
Club in Sydney - that it dawned on us that March 2 was also the
80th anniversary of Lawrences death.
We hope that he smiled down at the exhibition of paintings and
etchings by Garry Shead, Paul Delprat and Frank Nowlan depicting
Lawrence and Frieda at Thirroul, where Lawrence stayed and wrote
Kangaroo in 1922.
As our DHLA vice-president Robert Darroch explained, when launching
Lawrence Month, all three artists portrayed different aspects
of the novel in their works.
||There were 13 water-colours by
UUSC member (and chairman of the clubs Art sub-committee)
Paul Delprat depicting Lawrences time in and around
Thirroul, where he met the local barber, watched a football
match, walked on the beach, bathed, chased his hat into the
waves, and took
trips into the local bushland. Paul also depicted the lighter
side of Lawrences influence with one of his typical fantasy
Delprat with UUSC President Paul O'Sullivan at the exhibition
Garry Shead s four etchings focussed on Lawrence and Frieda
at Wyewurk, the cottage they rented overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
His dark images hinted at the menacing, sinister secret army which
Lawrence encountered during his stay, and fictionalised as the
Maggies in his novel.
Frank Nowlan, a local Thirroul amateur artist, showed
Lawrence and Frieda inspecting the backyard of Wyewurk and attending
a football match. One painting also depicted a fantasy scene of
Lawrence and the artist Brett Whiteley together on Thirroul Beach.
(Brett painted a diptych with Gary Shead of Lawrence at Thirroul.
Brett, one of Australias greatest painters, died
Nowlan in front of one of his paintings
tragically in a local Thirroul motel in 1992. A reproduction
of the diptych was also on display with the show, along with part
of Rob Darrochs collection of Kangaroo first-editions.)
More than 50 guests attended the opening of the exhibition, which
continued through the month and concluded with a special lunch
on March 30 where our English visitor, Dudley Nichols, gave an
illustrated talk about the various places where Lawrence went
during his all-too-short life.
Nichols and Sandra Darroch
with a first edition of Kangaroo
Dudleys aunt was Louie Burrows, who met Lawrence as a fellow
trainee teacher, and was engaged to him for 15 months before he
fell seriously ill and was advised by his doctor not to contemplate
marriage. That was in early 1912. (Two months later, Lawrence,
restored to health, eloped with Frieda Weekley, nee Richthofen,
the wife of his French professor
and the rest is history.)
During his talk Dudley showed us a photo of the family home where
Louie Burrows continued to live after her broken engagement (until
she finally married at the age of 52). Dudley said Louie always
carried Lawrences letters to her in her stays,
and kept them under her bed at night.
Dudley and his wife Jane, who also collects first editions of
Lawrences works, have travelled the world visiting places
Lawrence went, carefully researching beforehand, and the photographs
that Dudley showed us were complemented by passages from Lawrences
letters and writing.
His talk illustrated Lawrences knack of always falling
on his feet, and, no matter how impoverished he might have
been, always managing to find lovely places to stay - most especially
Wyewurk, in Thirroul.
Society of Australia
President John Lacey
by Brett Whiteley (left) and Garry Shead (right) of Lawrence,
Wyewurk and Thirroul