[Editor: This review of the book Fellows All: The Chronicles of the Bread and Cheese Club, Melbourne (by Harry Malloch), appeared in the “Book Reviews” column (written by P. I. O’Leary), published in The Advocate (Melbourne, Vic.), 21 June 1944.]
Mites and the Muse
To promote a spirit of mateship and fellowship and to foster interest in the works of Australian writers, artists and musicians is the admirable and active aim of the Bread and Cheese Club. This good object has been consistently worked to during the six years of the club’s existence.
The title of this pleasant organisation smacks, perhaps, of austerity — “austerity” in its wartime application. Bread and cheese only? Be not distressed! For, if mites and the Muse combine, in addition to the Loaf and the Cheese Round (not Rind, Mr. Lino-man, please!) there is abundant good cheer in kind and conversation alike at the club’s gatherings. Again, the title may suggest Bohemianism. However, though the cheese may be tasty, the “Bohemianism” is of the mildest kind. The fear is, indeed, that the club may become too “respectable” and socially “refined.”
Knight Grand Cheese
The debt of the Bread and Cheese Club to its president, “Knight Grand Cheese” J. K. Moir, cannot be expressed in material terms. He has, from the beginning, been its figurative churn and oven, has furnished its vis vitae and has had the most operative hand in all its achievements. Speaking paternally, the club is his “baby.” Well, then, it is that the “Hon. Trencherman,” “Bob” Croll, prefaces these chronicles with a characteristically happy appreciation of “J.K.”
Harry Malloch (the “Mr.” is taboo), “Worthy Scribe and Trusty Bagman,” in other words, the secretary and treasurer of the club, has done a good job in using a practised pen in the writing of this record. He has employed no stylistic flourishes, but has produced a most readable history — one full of sparkling personalia and happy recollective touches. Giving credit where credit is richly merited, he expresses the club’s special gratitude to Mrs. Susan Turner, patroness and only woman member, at whose home the club was founded, and where its meetings were held for over two years, and to Fellow E. J. Turner, the artist, who was the first Worthy Scribe and Trusty Bagman.
Copiously illustrated, this book contains reproduced photographic portraits of most members. It is a gallery of reproductions of paintings, drawings, etchings, etc., by members — an etching by Fellow Victor Cobb, which has the foremost place in the book, presents a beautiful view of the Yarra. The book-plates section is of special appeal. Bright, light, witty and informative are the biographical miniatures of the Fellows. But, above these attractions and inter-penetrating all of them, are the spirit and atmosphere of the club. These have a radiance and a sunshine warmth.
Fellows All — the Chronicles of the Bread and Cheese Club, Melbourne. By H. W. Malloch. Bread and Cheese Club.
The Advocate (Melbourne, Vic.), 21 June 1944, p. 10
Bohemianism = of or relating to the lifestyle of a Bohemian: someone who is socially unconventional in appearance and/or behaviour, who lives in an informal manner, especially someone who is involved in the arts (authors, musicians, painters, poets, etc.); an artistic type who does not conform to society’s norms; can also refer to a citizen or resident of Bohemia; (archaic) a Gypsy or Romani
Bread and Cheese Club = a social club dedicated to the promotion of the arts in Australian, founded in Melbourne in 1938
Grand Knight Cheese = the title of the president of the Bread and Cheese Club, a social club dedicated to the promotion of Australian art and literature
personalia = personal anecdotes, personal information, personal reminiscences, personal writings; personal belongings, personal concerns, personal equipment
vis vitae = life force, vital force
Yarra = the Yarra River (Victoria), also known historically as the Yarra Yarra River, which flows through central-east Victoria and the city of Melbourne