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Henry Lawson in the Park

City of Canada Bay will be marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of Henry Lawson with a performance of some of his best known works in Henry Lawson Park on 17 June 2017.

Henry Lawson Park at Abbotsford was officially dedicated on 3 September 1938 by Alderman Jacob Henley, Mayor of Drummoyne (on the left), Honourable William McCall, Federal Member for Martin and Alderman Thomas Higham. To mark the occasion, three trees were planted near the foreshore by Eileen M. Buckley of the Henry Lawson Literary Society, Bertha Lawson, his wife and Mary Gilmore, his friend and fellow poet. The tree planted by Mary Gilmore had a plaque with an original verse by her:

‘As weeds grow out of graves and vaults
So from his broken heart his faults
And yet so marvellous his power
His very faults brought forth in flower.’

Bookings for the free event ‘While the Billy Boils – 150 years of Henry Lawson’ can be made at: http://whatson.canadabay.nsw.gov.au/

Henry Lawson remembered

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Henry Lawson who captured the spirit of Australia through his short stories and poems.

An exhibition to mark the occasion at Five Dock Library highlights his association with the City of Canada Bay. Born in Grenfell on the 17 June 1867, he spent the last period of his life at Abbotsford, where he died on the 2 September 1922. He was also one of the more famous patients at Thomas Walker Convalescent Hospital at Concord which he described as ‘a stately home of Rest’ in his poem The Unknown Patient.

Today he is remembered by Henry Lawson Park at Abbotsford and a memorial and hall named in his honour at Abbotsford Public School.

There will also be talk about Henry Lawson’s life and work by Susannah Fullerton at Five Dock Library on Tuesday, 2 May at 6pm for 6.30pm start. More events are planned by the City of Canada Bay in June in Henry Lawson Park.

Above is a sketch of Lawson’s cottage at Abbotsford by John Barclay Godson (read more under comments).

A stately home of Rest

Rivendell 21

On his death in 1886, Thomas Walker of Yaralla left a legacy of £100,000 to build a convalescent hospital on 13 hectares of land at Rocky Point on the Parramatta River.

The Thomas Walker Convalescent Hospital was designed by noted architect Sir John Sulman and opened in September 1893. Some 70, 000 patients convalesced at the hospital from the time of its opening until the 1970s, including servicemen from both World Wars. One of the more famous patients was writer Henry Lawsonwho described it as ‘a stately home of Rest’ in his poem The Unknown Patient.

In 1979 control of the hospital was transferred to the NSW Department of Health which has used it as a facility which focuses on the psychological health of young people and their families. It was renamed Rivendell, a name taken from Tolkien’s The Hobbit where it features as a place of rest.

Rivendell has appeared in several films, including Flirting, The man who sued God, Lorenzo’s Oil and, most recently, The Great Gatsby.