The Journal of the DH Lawrence Society of Australia

ISSN No: 1039-9658

Vol 16. No 1. January 2009



Laura Forrester and Frieda Lawrence walking in the Sydney Botanic Gardens in 1922
Photo: Denis Forrester

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 meat sandwiches.

Beverley Firth welcomes us to her "dining room"
Photo: Sandra Jobson


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 ( under NEW ARTICLES).

It was a fitting topic for a talk in the Botanic Gardens.

- Sandra Jobson

Society Treasurer, Greg Baran, flanked by son, Sam, and daughter, Tiffany
Photo: Sandra Jobson

Click HERE to see more photos of the PICNIC

Click HERE to see reports of AGM