Australian poets: Professor Brereton’s lecture [re. a lecture given by John Le Gay Brereton, 12 September 1927]

[Editor: This article, about a lecture given by John Le Gay Brereton, was published in The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, NSW), 12 September 1927.]

Australian poets.

Professor Brereton’s lecture.

Colourful word pictures of Australian poets he had known were drawn by Professor Le Gay Brereton yesterday afternoon for the edification of a large audience at the Central Methodist Mission’s meeting at the Lyceum Theatre.

It was often believed, he said, that artists were quarrelsome creatures, very easily excited with petty malice against each other. That had not been his experience. When he was thinking of the poets with whom he had been associated the air about him became bright and warm always with friendliness.

Professor Brereton mentioned that his earlier association with poets began in the home of his father who was himself a poet. It was thus that he met Henry Kendall, whom he described as a rather haggard looking man with loose clothing, and the most distinguished of Australian writers. Another he met in the same way was Dowell O’Reilly — a young man of great ambitions, enthusiastic, humorous, glib-tongued, great-hearted.

As editor of “Hermes,” the Sydney University paper, Professor Brereton became acquainted with Miss M. J. Cameron, afterwards Mrs. Mary Gilmour, with whom he became a fast friend. He described Mrs. Gilmour as having an alert manner, abrupt speech, and active mind. He paid high tribute to her sympathy and understanding. It was through her that he had his first meeting with Henry Lawson — a meeting that was the beginning of a warm friendship between the speaker and one who had been recognised as the most typically Australian of all literary figures.

It was Lawson who introduced Professor Brereton to Roderic Quinn, whose best poetry “is better than he knows himself.” Later he formed a close friendship with C. J. Brennan, intercourse with whom was a liberal education, and the extent of whose learning “reduced fine scholars to humble docility.”

Among other poets mentioned were Banjo Patterson, Arthur Adams, R. B. Fitzgerald, Raymond McGrath, and Victor Daly. Among undergraduates of the University to-day, he said, there were young people of promising talent, including R. G. Howarth and W. F. Wentworth Shields.

The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, NSW), 12 September 1927, p. 10

[Editor: Changed “humourous” to “humorous”.]

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