JANUARY 3, 2009, dawned grey and cool - thank
goodness! For that was the day of our annual DH Lawrence
Society picnic in the Sydney Botanic Gardens - and we
still had memories of a previous picnic day there when
the temperature was in the 40s.
We had planned to hold the picnic in the Rose Garden Pavilion,
the site of the founding of our Society 16 years ago.
The Rose Garden is close to the Palace Garden Gates in
Macquarie Street, opposite the site of Mrs Scott's guesthouse
where Lawrence and Frieda spent their first night in Sydney,
and which features in the opening chapter of Kangaroo.
However, the Rose Garden Pavilion had been booked for
a wedding on January 3, so we held our picnic in the Maiden
Pavilion at the Mrs Macquarie's Chair end of the Gardens,
looking down towards the ponds with the city a silent
dentinel in the background.
This end of the Gardens also has a Lawrence connection:
Frieda Lawrence went on a picnic at Mrs Macquarie's Chair
and a walk in the Botanic Gardens with her shipboard friend,
Laura Forrester. Denis Forrester took a photograph of
them (see photograph at top of page).
When we arrived at the Gardens Rob (Darroch) and I set
up our picnic food - smoked salmon, dolmades and salad
- and were soon joined by Beverley Firth and Andrew Moore,
who laid out their picnic fare in an imaginary "dining
room" which Beverley indicated was in the corner
of the sandstone pavilion (see photograph below).
Greg Baran and two of his children, Tiffany and Sam, then
arrived, followed by Peter Jones and Kerie and Roger Hooke
who had all met on the ferry from Mosman. Our DHL Society
President, John Lacey, came bringing delicious nibbles
and sandwiches, and Kerie passed around her tasty roast
|Beverley Firth welcomes us to her
Needless to say, on this occasion too, much
wine was imbibed.
One wonders what Lawrence might have brought
to such a picnic. Possibly a paper bag of pears - like
the ones he and Frieda ate by the side of Narrabeen Lagoon
in 1922 when they got off the tram at Narrabeen on their
second day in Sydney. Lawrence didn't mention food very
often in his writing, although we do know he described
one Australian feast. Fictionally, it was at Jack Callcott's
place in North Sydney, but in reality it was almost certainly
at Wyewurk in Thirroul. Lawrence wrote in Kangaroo:
"For tea there was cold roast pork
with first-class brown crackling on it, and potato salad,
beetroot, and lettuce, and apple chutney; then a dressed
lobster - or crayfish - very good, pink and white; and
then apple-pie and custard-tarts and cakes and a dish
of apples and passion fruits and organges, a pineapple
and some bananas: and of course big cups of tea, breakfast-cups."
We also held our AGM at the picnic, which, like all DH
Lawrence Society AGMs, was mercifully brief. (Please see
the President's report, Secretary's Minutes and Treasurer's
report over page.)
The Society, the Treasurer reported, is in good financial
health, due to the decision last year to cancel the hard
copy production of our journal, Rananim, and replace
it with a "virtual", online, edition. This saves
considerable amounts of money in printing and postage
and will free up the Society to hold more talks and other
activities in future months.
Finally, Vice-President, Rob Darrroch gave a talk about
Lawrence's source of inspiration and his curious affinity
with trees (see text highlighted on our Home Page (www.cybersydney.com.au/dhl)
under NEW ARTICLES).
It was a fitting topic for a talk in the Botanic Gardens.
|Society Treasurer, Greg Baran, flanked by son,
Sam, and daughter, Tiffany
to see more photos of the PICNIC
to see reports of AGM