Saturday, 14 September 2019

Harkaway by Llywelyn Lucas

I was kindly given this poem by Robyn Browne, whose father had it amongst his papers.  It was typed out and at the end of the poem was written Queensland - Llywelyn Lucas, February 1st 1928. I have discovered more about the author, which you can read after you read the poem.


O Harkaway is far away,
And Harkaway is fair,
The green hills run to meet the trees,
And a child plays there!

O hills run up and hills run down
To meet the Dandenongs
And Harkaway is far and fair
And there a child belongs.

Don’t you remember how the fox
Yelped in the hedge at night
And Narre Warren hid in mist?
And Berwick out of sight?

Don’t you remember magic lakes
With islands of treetops,
And dewdrops scented in the sun
Sliding to bigger drops?

All down the rusty fencing-wire,
And bunnies with white tails
Bobbing among the barley and
The cuckoos at their scales?

(Ah, mournful, lovely, bad cuckoos!
Long since must you be dead;
Yet on and on, and on and on
Your scales go in my head!

And in my heart – age-old, and lost,
The mournful, mournful cry,
Asking and asking endlessly
O where? O where? O why?

Do you remember lilac time,
When lilacs purple and white,
Maddened us with the scent of them
And the young life delight?

Of course you do! And so do I,
And how the cows of sums
Wouldn’t come out: and won’t do, yet!
Not even using thumbs!

How good the hung-up lunches smelt,
Of sandwiches and sauce!
Do you remember “swapping taws”?
You do; you do, of course.

Remember how the “milk: went by,
With brakes that squawked and squealed,
And how the bellbirds clinked and chimed
Like mad at Beaconsfield.

And all along Kardinia Creek
The Christmas bush grew thick,
The bellbirds raced you out of sight
If you weren’t quick.

Do you remember Muddy Creek,
And that pot-holey track
That went beyond the Finger Posts
To people at the Back?

O Harkaway! O Harkaway!
How fair you were, how fair!
The silver huntsman on the hills.
And a horn winding there.

A winding horn, a challenge horn,
Away! Away! ah do!
O Hark! Away! the hunt is up!....
How faint I answer you.

The hunt of life, at dawn, is up,
Away, away we go.
Envisioned eyes, quick-coming breath,
Ho, tally, tallyho!

The hunt is up, the hunt, the hunt!A
Do we look back? Not we!
Ahead the toppling Mountains wait;
Below, the crashing sea!

The deep blue tides of Western Port,
Hard by Port Phillip Bay;
The silver sand’s a laughing lure-
Away! away! away!

A magic horn, a merry horn,
The echo’s never sped…..
No! I shall not go back again-
That kiddie might be dead.

Who was Llywelyn Lucas?   Beryl Llywelyn Lucas was born in 1898 to  Albert Llewellyn Lucas and Mary Janet Mackie. Sadly, her father who was the Presbyterian Minister at Bright, passed away on October 14, 1897 due to diabetes, before she was born. They had one other child, Keith Mackie Lucas, who had was born in  1897 in Bright. Albert Lucas' father, Edward, was the Town Clerk of Brighton from 1874 until his death in 1900.

Llywelyn Lucas
Australian Woman's Mirror October 4, 1927

Llywelyn was written up in the Australian Woman's Mirror October 4, 1927. The article (read it here) was written by Bernice May, and I will quote from it here.  Llywelyn was introduced as a writer of lyrical poetry. She is first and foremost a poet, and after that a joyous Australian girl with the Australian's abiding sense of humor. Mary Lucas was a nurse and she was living at Harkaway when her daughter was born. Llywelyn was educated at Presbyterian Ladies College and she wanted to study medicine after school 'but the war stepped and I went to the School of Horticulture, Burnley, Victoria, to learn gardening instead. Mother - more like a sister than a mother - took up the work with me, and we soon had charge of a big garden in Melbourne, with two men working under us. All through the war and after we worked.'

After the War, Llywelyn had a breakdown in health  and 'I had to have a holiday... and with two other girls as impecunious as myself, I went to England.' While she was away her poetry was published in The Bulletin and she tramped through Italy and France and her account of this trip was published in the Sydney Mail.

Miss Lucas writes of things with the skill of one who, though so young, has touched many different occupations and spheres of life. In a recent letter to me she said ' I once tried motor-driving at Miss Anderson's girl's garage in Melbourne.'

Her brother Keith who served in World War One, trained as a Veterinary Surgeon and took up practice in Brisbane. Llywelyn and her mother gave up their gardening business and also moved to Brisbane. Llywelyn worked at his practice for a while and continued her writing. Bernice May quotes Llywelyn again 'being assistant to a Vet. and writing verse, don't seem to go together, but I make them fit somehow.' During this time she was published in The Bulletin, Australasian and the Sydney Mirror.  

Miss Lucas has her ambitions, like all girls. She wants to write real poetry; and publish it, also some books that will make people laugh and cry, and perhaps a play that will make them think. (Australian Woman's Mirror October 4, 1927, read it here)

There are many examples of Llywelyn's works that you can read on Trove, which were published in various newspapers -  poetry, plays, short stories and articles on poets and poetry. She also had some collections published -  The Garden, in 1938; On Wings, in 1944; Aphorisms of Llywelyn, in 1964; Brown Boronia: a collection of sixty-six poems, in 1966.  In 1968, Lost kinship and other poems : a memorial to Llywelyn Lucas selected by Edith M. England was published with various poets paying tribute to Llywelyn.

Wedding notice of May Mackie to Albert Lucas
The Australasian, March 14, 1896

We will now have a look at the Harkaway connection which was through Llywelyn's mother. As you can see from the marriage notice, above,  Mary was the daughter of James Mackie and Gideon Burnett Adamson of Kalimna, Harkaway.  Other children in the family were Margaret Thompson (born 1856 at South Yarra), Archibald Walter (1858 South Yarra), James Thompson (1860 St Kilda), William Alexander  (1864 South Yarra*), Helen Agnes (1867 Deniliquin) and Llywelyn's mother, Mary Janet, born in 1873 at Deniliquin.

According to Early Days of Berwick (first published in 1948) The pine and other trees along Harkaway Road were planted by Cr W.G. a'Beckett and Miss Mackie of Berwick, at one time  a resident of Harkaway, and her late brother, Archie.  James, another brother of this family, was a member of the staff of the bank at Jerilderie when it was held up by the Kelly Gang.  The only other reference in Early Days of Berwick to the Mackie family was The Mackie family occupied Kalimna, so named from the Aboriginal word meaning "lovely or beautiful," where it commands a magnificent view. Mrs and Mrs Mackie beautified it by planting trees from many parts of the world. The magnificent view was alluded to more than once by Llywelyn in her Harkaway poem.

It appears that Mary Lucas moved backed home to her parent's house after the death of her husband as that is where Llywelyn was born. In August 1915, at the age of 18 years and 10 months,  Keith enlisted in the AIF (his service number was 9315) and his address and that of his mother, who was his next of kin, was Kalmina, Harkaway. Keith had attended Berwick Grammar School, under Edward Vieusseux and is on their Honor Roll (Berwick Shire News February 9, 1916).  In 1924 and 1925 the family were listed in the Electoral Rolls at Hethersett, Burwood Road, Burwood. 1926 was obviously the year they moved to Brisbane as their address was Kadinia, Kitchener Road in Ascot.  It is interesting that they called their property Kadinia, which in spite of the spelling must relate to the Cardinia Creek, which runs through Berwick.

The only other family information I have is this - Keith married Marjorie Hollinshead, who was a dancing teacher,  on November 21, 1932. Marjorie also lived in Kitchener Road in Ascot and she had collaborated with Llywelyn in 1929 in the production of  an all-Australian play for children - Sun God's Secret - Llywelyn being the playwright and Marjorie the choreographer.  (Sunday Mail, November 24, 1929).  In 1933,  Mary Janet Lucas was killed after being hit by a train. In 1936,  Llywelyn was listed in the Electoral Roll as a writer and her address was Flinders, near Ipswich. Llywelyn died in 1967 and Keith died in 1987.

I have created a list of newspaper articles on Trove, relating to the life of Llywelyn Lucas and her family and her works, you can access it, here. All the articles referenced here are on the list.

* I have taken this information from a Family Tree on Ancestry, they have no sources listed. I know he existed as he died in 1939, I just haven't found  an authorative source of his birth.

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