1 May 2023 Susannah

Book Addict Admires a Literary Statue – Banjo Paterson

Banjo Paterson statue, Yeoval, NSW

One of Australia’s newest statues is a literary one.

Unveiled in 2021, it stands in the town of Yeoval in NSW, just outside the Banjo Paterson Museum in the main street, and it depicts Andrew Barton Paterson, best known as ‘Banjo’ Paterson, in his military uniform as Major of the Allied Remounts in Egypt. It stands 2.7m high, is in bronze, and was the work of Australian sculptor Paul Smits (who died suddenly just a few days after this work was unveiled). In one hand the poet holds his trusty pipe.

I must admit I’d never heard of this poet until I came to live in Australia. I knew the words of Waltzing Matilda but was ignorant of The Man from Snowy River until I heard and watched it at my first Royal Easter Show in Sydney. It’s a poem I have come to love, for its fabulous energy and movement, the drama of the dangerous ride, and the very Australianness of its tale and language. So, I’m delighted that Paterson has been honoured with such a fine statue, although I think I’d have personally chosen to leave him out of military uniform and instead portray him with a pen in his hand.

Have you seen this statue? Tell me by leaving a comment here.

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Header image- Banjo Paterson statue, Banjo Paterson …more than a Poet Museum, https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=5740265902658853&set=pcb.5740281809323929; & Kosciuszko National Park NSW, by Christian Bass, https://unsplash.com/photos/2Jl1Zr06AWI
Body image- Mary Wollstonecraft by John Opie, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=970256

Comments (9)

  1. Norma Clarke

    Banjo Paterson wrote many poems including the children’s; poem ‘The animals Noah Forgot’ which was illustrated by Norman Lindsey. Norman admired poets and he also illustrated for Henry Lawson and other poets. Norman Lindsey wrote and illustrated the ‘The Magic Pudding’. It is interesting to look at the connection between poets and authors and illustrators. Illustrations complement writing and add that visual pleasure, particularly in childrens’ books.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      I thought of Norman Lindsay the other day as I drove past his place in the Blue Mountains. Yes, there are often fabulous connections between writers and artists and sometimes an author is lucky enough to find exactly the right artist for his work, like AA Milne with EH Shepherd.

  2. I read a lovely short book by Gregory North on Banjo Paterson which was a wonderful short account of his life and works – the poems were printed alongside the poems and sometimes in the old style they first appeared. I will look out for his statue when next in the area. Kind regards Marina Marangos

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Thanks for the book recommendation. He was an interesting man and I think it’s great there is now a fine new statue of him.

  3. Shirley LaPlanche

    NO I haven’t seen it but like you Susannah I didn’t know about him until I moved to Australia. As horse rider I loved The Man from Snowy River and the filming of it and I bought ‘The Best Of’ of his writings and still enjoy reading them. His work is so vibrant it thrills the senses.
    Shirley Laplanche

    • Susannah Fullerton

      It’s interesting that you knew the poem before going to Australia. I got lots of Aussie books as a child – Seven Little Australians, the Billabong series, May Gibbs and her Gumnut babies, but somehow I totally missed The Man from Snowy River. My loss!

  4. Merrowyn Deacon

    Hello Susanne
    As a typical country kid growing up in Sth Australia, I loved the poems of all those early guys, Banjo Patterson, C.J. Denis, as well as Dorothea Mc Kellar, and books like, “The Magic Pudding”, even Furphy, although I ‘ve no idea how I got hold of his crazy lot of adventures. The Colonial history of Australia, seen through the stories and poems of these early settlers is an antidote to the doomsayers, who see that period as being all horrible, murderous and dark. Thanks for your newsletter as usual. Merrowyn Deacon.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Yes, the fun books of the era do show another side of life at that time. I missed The Magic Pudding as a child in NZ, but I did get the Gumnut babies, the Billabong books and lots of Ethel Turner.

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