Printed word [18 July 1915]

[Editor: Two extracts from the “Printed word” column, published in The Sunday Times (Perth), 18 July 1915. It says that Frances Oakes was the first white person born in Australia. The judge and poet Barron Field is also mentioned.]

Printed Word

Books and their builders

Recollections and reviews

From Tyrrell’s Ltd., Castlereagh-street, Sydney, we have received a copy of “Peeps at the Past,” a bundle of notes on early Australian history published under the auspices of the Australian Historical Society. Some of the notes are very interesting indeed, particularly those on Barron Field, the discovery or the Hawkesbury River, Nicholas Devine, and the first white settlers to cross the Blue Mountains. Others are unimportant to readers outside New South Wales. Among the illustrations is a portrait of Mrs. Frances Oakes, the first white child born in Australia. She died in 1883 at the age of 93.

* * *

The lines —
A land without antiquities; with one,
And only one, poor spot of classic ground —
That on which Cook first landed —

were (says the compiler of “Early Australian History”) written by Barron Field, the friend of Charles Lamb. Field had an exalted opinion of his poetic powers, but he was probably the only one who had. It was a brother judge, Roger Therry, who referred to his “Botany Bay Flowers” as having “long since lost their odor, and now lie ‘withered and gone,’” while a rival bard was unkind enough to perpetrate the following:—

Thy poems, Barron Field, I’ve read,
And thus adjudge their meed —
So poor a crop proclaims thy head
A barren field indeed!

The Sunday Times (Perth, WA), Sunday 18 July 1915, page 20 (page 4 of the second section)

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