Archive for the ‘vera deacon regional history fund’ Category

The Radical Newcastle Launch (l-r) Professor John Maynard, Dr Nancy Cushing, Mrs Vera Deacon and Dr Daniela Heil. Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

The Radical Newcastle Launch (l-r) Professor John Maynard, Dr Nancy Cushing, Mrs Vera Deacon and Dr Daniela Heil. Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

The Radical Newcastle Book was launched during the Newcastle Writers Festival held at the Newcastle Town Hall on the 22 March 2015.


View the RADICAL NEWCASTLE ALBUM on flickr here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/uon/sets/72157651117525408/


View the FULL VIDEO of the Radical Book Launch Here:


View VERA DEACON @ The Radical Newcastle Book Launch


View PROFESSOR JOHN MAYNARD @ The Radical Newcastle Book Launch


View DR DANIELA HEIL @ The Radical Newcastle Book Launch

View PROFESSOR CAROLINE MCMILLEN
LAUNCH THE RADICAL NEWCASTLE BOOK

View DR JAMES BENNETT’S Vote of Thanks

View THE QUOTE OF THE DAY

View THE MOST MENTIONS AWARD @ The Radical Newcastle Launch


PHOTOGRAPHIC STILL FROM THE VIDEO

Dr Nancy Cushing welcomed and introduced the speakers including Mrs Vera Deacon, Professor John Maynard, Dr Daniela Heil.

The Radical Newcastle Launch (l-r) Professor John Maynard, Dr Nancy Cushing, Mrs Vera Deacon and Dr Daniela Heil. Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

The Radical Newcastle Launch (l-r) Professor John Maynard, Dr Nancy Cushing, Mrs Vera Deacon and Dr Daniela Heil. Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

Mrs Vera Deacon @ The Radical Newcastle Launch  Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

Mrs Vera Deacon @ The Radical Newcastle Launch Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

 

Professor John Maynard @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

Professor John Maynard @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

 

Professor John Maynard @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

Professor John Maynard @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

 

Dr Daniela Heil @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

Dr Daniela Heil @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

 

Vera on the future of radicalism @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

Vera on the future of radicalism @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

Vera on the future of Radicalism @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

Professor Caroline McMillen @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

VC McMillen launches the book @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

VC Pofessor Caroline McMillen launches the book @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

Dr James Bennett Vote of Thanks @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

Dr James Bennett Vote of Thanks @ Radical Newcastle Book Launch, Newcastle Town Hall, 22 March 2015

Following a brief Question Time, Dr Nancy Cushing introduced the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle, Professor Caroline McMillen, to officially launch the book.

Fellow editor, and Radical Newcastle creator Dr James Bennett delivered closing remarks and a vote of thanks.

Vera Deacon was Guest Speaker at the 2012 International Women’s Day Dinner held on the 9th March 2012.

The Event was sponsored by the Newcastle Branch of the Union of Australian Women and held at The Adamstown Club Brunker Road Adamstown.

Vera was introduced by Janet Mundie and spoke on “Life by the Hunter River – Then and Now”

Vera is described as “an island girl who has tried to make the world a better place”

Her speech covered the followed topics including Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the current toxic state of politics and political debate in Australian media, University published book ‘100 Women’, Dr Jean Talbot, Donna Meehan, Hunter Valley and its ongoing care, 101st Anniversary of International Women’s Day, Winning of the Women’s Vote in Australia, Rose Scott, Scott Sisters, Ash Island, Women’s Suffrage Movement, History of Women’s Vote in Australia, ‘My Brilliant Career’, Vera’s early years, Woodstock Street Oakley’s Paddock, Hanbury Street Mayfield, Midwifery, Nurse Whiteman’s Lying In Home, Father works at BHP Coke Ovens, Family moves to Dempsey Island, then Mosquito Island, Labour Movement, Depression Camps, Platt’s Channel, Shortland Camp, Mayfield West Camp, Dole, Vera’s pedigree convicts Irish Catholics bullock driver, Aunty Nola Hawken, Awabakal People, convict women on Nobbys, Lysaghts Girls, Josephine Conway, Marilla North, Janet Copley, Charlie Skene, Vera’s father’s life, Big Ben, Soviet Union, Min Wilson, Communist Party of Newcastle, Socialists, Feminists, Reading, Migrants, Jessie Street and The Women’s Charter, Stockholm Appeal, Ban the Bomb, Dorothy Hewett, Nuclear tests and diseases of Children, Peace, Germaine Greer and the struggle for women’s rights across the world.

 

A Lyrical Afternoon in celebration of the life and work of Norman Talbot, Dorothy Hewett and Merv Lilley was held at Varuna, The Writers’ House in Katoomba,  on the 15th September 2012.

The first part of the afternoon was dedicated to honouring the life and work of Norman Talbot. Presenters included Dr Jean Talbot, Don Cohen,  President of Catchfire Press, Dr Christopher Pollnitz, Jo Tregellis and Zeny Giles.

Original running order for the segment was as follows :

The Work of Norman Talbot

Introduction by Don Cohen
Jean Talbot gives biographical details then reads the following poems:
First Hen Sonnet (photo)
Mum in a Photograph (photo)
Nine Tailors (photo)
Parachutes in the Second World War (photo)
Bell Pullers
At Aunt Ivy’s Christmas 1944

Followed by Christopher Pollnitz reading the following poems:
The Cactus
The Wrath of Tibrogargan
Birdsong at the Double Locks
The bat, Gunnedah
Listening to Little Wobby: Poetry Class
Followed by Zeny Giles reading from the unpublished novel Sulphurcrest

Followed by Don Cohen reading the following poems:
The Mystic Boiler Maker
The Birds of Lake Macquarie

Followed by Jean Talbot and Don Cohen reading The Pinkerton Haiku.

In addition to the Tribute, the Newcastle Poets also presented readings from recent works as part of the Event. Running order for this segment was Jo Tregellis, Dr Christopher Pollnitz, Zeny Giles, Don Cohen and Dr Jean Talbot.

The second part was dedicated to honouring the life and work of Merv Lilley. Presenters included Rozanna (Rose) Lilley, Marilla North, Tom Flood, Joe Flood and Adele Flood.

The original running order of the Merv Lilley segment (plus one Dorothy poem):

A: Poems (Rose and Marilla): approx. 15 mins
1. [from Git Away Back (1983)] Legend: 1 min

Rose : From What About the People?
2. Lucky Gem (p.14, 1.30)
3. When Freedom Cannot Marry (p.28, 2 mins)
4. The Canecutters Comeback (p.51, 45 secs)

Then Marilla does :
Go Down Red Roses (5 mins)

Rose:
5. Where Sailor’s Belong (p.54, 1 min)
6. Nostalgia (p.61, 1.35)

Then Marilla does :
Husband of the Poet (2 mins)

B: Merv songs : Tom, Joe, Adele: approx. 15 mins
Anti-Fouling Roll
Cane Killed Abel
Pick-up Shed (2.5 mins)
Birchgrove Park
Possibly a 5th Merv song (shorter than D’s)

C: Poems from Cautious Birds (1973): Rose: approx. 7 mins
To A Sleeping Bird (1 min)
On Holiday (1 min)
God’s Fool (1 min)
The Lesson (1 min)
Through Every Grey Dawn (1 min)
River Road (2 mins)

D: Prose/ Pom reads from Gatton Man (approx. 5 mins)

E: Merv on death: Rose (approx. 3 mins)
From Sandgropers (1973)
Lucy (p.17, 1 min) [about the death of his mother]

Poems Merv wrote late in life
Swift (ms, 1.30) [about the death of his mother/Dorothy]
Request (ms 40 sec)
[this last poem is about Dorothy’s grave, so that segues nicely into the
DH section]

The third and final part of the afternoon was dedicated to honouring the life and work of Dorothy Hewett. Presenters included Rozanna (Rose) Lilley, Rosie Scott, Tom Flood, Joe Flood and Adele Flood.

The original running order of the Dorothy segment is as follows:

A: Dorothy songs: Tom, Joe , Adele [15 mins]
Norman Brown (Tom)
Sailor Home From the Sea (Adele)
Sweet Song for Katie (Adele)
Black Strike (Clancy & Dooley)

B: Rose reads
Once I Rode with Clancy (3 mins)
Living Dangerously

C: Rosie Scott: 10 mins
Inheritance
Halfway Up the Mountain
Neighbours
In Wind and Rain
Exodus

D: Rose reads from Wild Card (Last Summer) 5 mins

This segment finishes with ‘You’ve said enough’, snaps the ghost of my
grandmother, ‘so hold your tongue.’

Reminiscences (Joe Flood)
End of the Town
Dorothy on Death
Last Rites

Final Song: Weevils in the Flour

At the end of the day was heard the most beautiful Australian song ever written. A poem by Dorothy Hewett in 1963, set to music by Mike Leyden in 1965. Based upon the reminiscences of the Great Depression by our own local treasure Vera Deacon. The “island in the river” is Moscheto Island that once stood in the Hunter River, the BHP was own BHP, the Humpies were those on Platt’s Estate.

A classic Australian song based from memories of Newcastle. http://unionsong.com/u140.html

Weevills in the Flour (Click for a larger image)

UPDATED Weevils in the Flour: A short history of a song by Mark Gregory (1.1MB PDF File)

Please read Weevils in the Flour: A short history of a song by musicologist Mark Gregory. Also included is a note about the new setting of Black Strike (Clancy & Dooley & Don McLeod) relating to the first strike . Mark Gregory, in conversation with Marilla North, has referred us to the eminent  Julian Croft’s (of University of New England) paper he did back in 1999 – “A Sense of Industrial Place” published in ANTIPODES Vol 13 No 1, June 1999. Croft  nominates Newcastle as “the world’s first industrial city” and asserts that it was “atypical of the usual construction of Australian place”. He further asserts that proper parallels for the shaping of Newcastle should be made with Stuttgart, Birmingham and Pittsburgh.  One of Mark’s discovered heroes is “Frank the Poet” who has his own link: http://www.frankthepoet.com  who actually was a convict sited in Newcastle over 1837/1840 and who wrote four poems in or near Newcastle c 1838.

Marilla North, who conceived and organised this event contact Vera Deacon, who unfortunately could not make it. She did send her apologies which included the following reply:

I’d love to be there with Malcolm to remember Dorothy and Norman. One of the great joys of my life in the Sydney Realist Writers meetings was to her Doffy, as our little children called her, say her poems in that wonderful, melodious voice…”Have you heard the children singing…” and “Hiroshima, Hiroshima.” Our fifties generation of young mothers was haunted by fear of the atom bomb tests and our children developing leukemia; a fear powerfully real for Dorothy who had lost her little boy to leukemia. The RWG National Council published Merv Lilley and Dorothy’s collection What About the People. Denis Kevans and I sold that precious collection in the Sydney Domain, when we were invited to recite the poems from various stumps. I treasure a photo of myself, taken in 1964 by an old man, as I spoke from the stump. You can clearly see a copy of What About the People in my hand.

It’s seven years since Denis Kevans, Australia’s ‘Poet Lorikeet’, died in August 2005. Ten years since Doffy left us to sleep in that lovely Springwood bushland place. Eight years since I sat with many others, in silent homage to the moving quaker celebration of Norman Talbot’s life. A few years since I heard Merv Lilley and Jean Talbot perform the “Swan River Love Poem” at a hamilton poets’ night. Our memories, our lives are richer for having known them. Now I have kate Lilley’s selection of Dorothy’s poems and so the music of her life and work lives on.

Please give Merv and Jean a BIG HUG and greet the members of the Performance Celebration for me.

Cheers! Love and Big Hugs for you!!

Vera

Mervyn Percy Copley
1914 – 1978

Merv Copley was born in Western Australia in 1914. On leaving school he joined the Public Service in that state, becoming a clerk of Petty Sessions and serving as secretary to two Royal Commissions. Disturbed by the poverty and injustices he saw on a daily basis during the Great Depression, he became interested in Socialism and gave up a promising career to become an organiser for the Clerks Union. After he joined the Communist Party of Australia he moved to Sydney, then to Newcastle in 1948 where he worked as an organiser for the Clerks Union and latter as a tally clerk on the waterfront.

Merv was an activist all his adult life. He was an honorary research officer for Newcastle Trades Hall Council for many years amassing a huge amount of statistical and other material along the way. One of the many campaigns in which he took a leading role was in the struggle to reduce air pollution in Newcastle during the 1950s. At this time it was so bad that it was a real danger to people’s health. His booklet ‘Eliminate that Smoke’, published in 1957, made a significant contribution to the campaign which eventually forced the NSW Government to strengthen legislation regarding air and water pollution despite prolonged opposition from BHP and other big polluters.

In all his campaigns, Merv was assisted by his partner, Janet. Both of them helped organise International Women’s Day and May Day celebrations in Newcastle during the 1950s, 60s and 70s. In a letter to Vera Deacon in 1993, Janet Copley described how they worked together:

I gathered a lot of material for him from Trade Union Offices. About 4 pm on Fridays I took the shopping trolley to the Trades Hall and visited the Trades Hall Council, the Waterboard, and The Seamens Union office etc, and picked up the daily papers and Hansards they had finished with and brought them home for Merv to disect them. We worked during meal time with Merv clipping the various papers and Janet with a lead pencil in her hand recording the dates and the paper or book from which they had been out.

Janet Copley’s father, George Cant, born 1892 in Dundee Scotland was a ploughman who came to Australia in 1910. He later joined a WW1 Reconstruction Team sent to repair homes in England. May, her mother, was a Dora Creek girl whom George met after he settled in Morisset. Both were very active in the Hamilton North P&C struggling for improvements in the primary and kindergarten school. George founded the Timberworkers’ Union, worked in the railway, gas works. Retirement saw them both active in Pensioner and other community movements.

Some of the ephemeral material, such as pamphlets, leaflets and election material, which Merv and Janet collected would otherwise have vanished completely.  It has now found a permanent home in the Archives of the University of Newcastle.

This information was provided by Mr Ross Edmonds and Mrs Vera Deacon.
2010

Sources

Ross Edmonds; Interview with Janet Copley, July 2010.
[Letter] Janet Copley to Vera Deacon 7 January 1993.
Geoff Curthoys; Funeral Oration for Merv Copley, September 1978.

The Collection was deposited in the University circa 1978 and was finally accessioned May – October 2006 by Mr Peter Gray – Brattan. The listing of the Merv and Janet Copley Collection was made possible by the kind generosity of the Vera Deacon Regional History Fund.

Finding Aid: The Merv and Janet Copley Collection (PDF File)