On World Poetry Day – why not delve into the work of Australia’s national poet?

Thursday 21 March 2024 is World Poetry Day.

A poet is, before anything else, a person who is
passionately in love with language.


Held every year on 21 March, World Poetry Day celebrates one of humanity’s most treasured forms of cultural and linguistic expression and identity. Practised throughout history – in every culture and on every continent – poetry speaks to our common humanity and our shared values.

UNESCO first adopted 21 March as World Poetry Day in 1999 with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increasing the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard; and in the hope of promoting poetry as a way to communicate across borders and cultural differences.

Poetry can push boundaries or employ personal experience to help understand the experience of many. It sheds light on the beautiful and the ugly and strives to understand the function of both.

For more information about Adam Lindsay Gordon and a sample of his works, check out Gordon of Dingley Dell: Poet and Horseman – visit www.freestylepublications.com.au – or email us for more information.

Happy discovery and/or re-discovery of the joy of Adam Lindsay Gordon’s poetry!

Vale – Allan Childs (1941-2024)

Allan Alfred Childs was born at OB Flat in the south-east of South Australia where Adam Lindsay Gordon spent 14 years of his short life. Since taking on the caretaker/curator role at Dingley Dell Cottage and Museum, Port MacDonnell, Allan and Jenny Childs have devoted more than 26 years to promulgating the life and works of Adam Lindsay Gordon.

However, Allan admitted than when they took on the lease of Dingley Dell in 1997, they knew nothing about Gordon but, as he had to talk to people while showing them through the cottage, he did some research. With the help of his grandchildren, he was introduced to the computer and the internet … and that was it! He became a walking encyclopedia about Gordon, even taking on the persona of the poet when talking to visitors, and he loved reciting the poet’s work!

Allan was instrumental in forming the group Friends of Dingley Dell to raise money for the betterment of Dingley Dell Cottage, and both he and Jenny maintained and improved the surrounding gardens and grounds, earning them the Port MacDonnell Red Cross Award for gardens. Then, in 2001, the cottage received a High Commendation for its gardens in the KESAB (Keep South Australia Beautiful) awards.

Dingley Dell Cottage and Museum, the first building to be listed on the South Australian Heritage Register (on 24 July 1980), in 2002 received a $15,000 heritage grant to undertake restorative maintenance work on the cottage, grounds, and the nature trail. Also that year, for his efforts in restoring the cottage and the ongoing preservation of its history and that of Adam Lindsay Gordon, Allan Childs received an Australia Day Citizen of the Year Award.

Phone calls to Dingley Dell would always be met with Allan’s greeting, ‘Adam Lindsay Gordon here’!

Allan and the late John Adams were instrumental in organising through the auspices of the Penola Cultural Fund and several other local benefactors, a replica bust to that in Westminster Abbey being installed in Penola, in the district where Gordon spent many years. The bust was unveiled in Church Street, Penola, on 26 October 2005 by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr Wesley Carr. This became the Poets’ Corner of Penola, with the addition of the busts of two other Penola poets – John Shaw Neilson and William Henry Ogilvie – unveiled on 2 December 2018.

Allan Childs was an inaugural member of the Adam Lindsay Gordon Commemorative Committee formed on 26 January 2006. Its first meeting was held at Dingley Dell on 7 October 2006, when Allan was elected the first President. In June that year was also the inaugural Froth and Bubble Festival at Federation Square, Melbourne, promoted by the Australian Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. This began an annual tribute of laying wattle sprigs at the Adam Lindsay Gordon statue in Spring Street, Melbourne, each June on the
Saturday closest to the date of the poet’s death.

Allan and Jenny Childs were made Life Members of the Adam Lindsay Gordon
Commemorative Committee in 2020, at the end of which year they reluctantly retired from Dingley Dell due to health issues, having served on the committee for more than 14 years.

Thanks to their daughter Shelley, Allan and Jenny were able to enjoy a day at the Coleraine races last August, a memorable day for those attending who knew him, and saw him so happy.

For Allan’s 80th birthday in 2021, a loving granddaughter Eboni penned a beautiful tribute to him:

“80!!! How bloody good are you Paradara?*
You’ve shown your 3 children, 8 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren what it’s like to kick ass!
You’re a fighter, the head of the family, the leader of your pack.
You’ve taught us about the ghost with one black eye, the giant gorilla on the walking track and the bird that couldn’t fly.
About how life is mostly froth and bubble, the right way to back a trailer back and to always head to Pa’s when we’re about to get in trouble.
But most of all you’ve taught us how to live life to the fullest even when it’s telling you to sit this one out.
You’re an inspiration to everyone and there isn’t a day that goes by that we aren’t proud of you!
I hope you have the most amazing day and celebrate your 80th birthday in style!
I love you always and forever! Eboni.”

* Hindi for ‘one who watches over, to keep safe from harm or danger, protector’.

Paradara is at rest now, he no longer has pain, but he will be forever remembered.

But Allan’s soul will only rest when Dingley Dell Cottage and Museum, which he and Jenny watched over and protected for 23 years, is once again in the hands of genuine custodians who will preserve and promote their legacy, and that of Adam Lindsay Gordon as Australia’s national poet.

– Lorraine Day

Backers south for a long ride

A riding jacket more than 100 years old will help raise money to send the Australian equestrian team to the Munich Olympic Games later this year. The colours were worn by the Australian poet and steeplechase rider, Adam Lindsay Gordon, who died on 24 June 1870.

Members of pony clubs in NSW, Victoria and South Australia will carry the jacket on horseback to Gordon’s home town, Adelaide. The NSW Pony Club Association, which arranged the long ride, hopes to raise $25,000 on the NSW part of the journey to Albury.

Each rider who take part will be sponsored on a mileage basis, the money going to the Australian Equestrian Federation’s Olympic Appeal Fund to go towards the expense of sending an eight-man team and their horses to Munich. The NSW branch of the federation is aiming to raise $100,000 towards its share of financing this and future Olympic equestrian teams.

A ceremony to start the ride will be held at Parliament House tomorrow morning.

The owner of the jacket, Mrs JC Blackmore, of Manly, will present it to the NSW Minister of Justice, Mr Maddison,deputising for the Premier Sir Robert Askin. The jacket has been in the Blackmore family for 100 years.

Mr Maddison, will hand the 102-year-old red and black checked [Rob Roy tartan] jacket to Olympic equestrian gold medal winner Laurie Morgan, who will lead 16 riders, under a mounted police escort, to Warwick Farm on the first leg of the 1500-mile journey to Adelaide, where it will be presented to the South Australian Jockey Club.

Edwin Gordon Blackmore (1837-1909) was Parliamentary Librarian when Adam Lindsay Gordon was in the South Australian Legislative Assembly in 1865-66, and the two became firm friends. Gordon trained Blackmore’s horse Lancelot while in Adelaide, and Blackmore also rode with Gordon on the hunting field. In 1869, Gordon travelled by sea from Melbourne to Adelaide and rode Lancelot in the first Adelaide Hunt Club Steeple on 2 October, but did not win a place. Blackmore returned Gordon’s visit, and watched him rider Major Thomas Baker’s horse Prince Rupert in the VRC Steeplechase at Flemington on 12 March 1870, in which Gordon was thrown at the second fence. In spite of the seriousness of the fall, Gordon jumped to his feet, remounted, recovered the lost ground, and led again until Prince Rupert fell at the third fence. This time Gordon was thrown badly. Blackmore came to his help and took him home to Brighton; this was the fall he never fully recovered from.

Adams, John W & Sellers, Travis M, 2020, The Encyclopedia of Adam Lindsay Gordon, Adam Lindsay Gordon Commemorative Committee Inc., Ballarat, Victoria. 

Day, Lorraine, Gordon of Dingley Dell: The life of Adam Lindsay Gordon, Poet and Horseman, 2nd edn, Freestyle Publications, Yankalilla, South Australia.

Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday, 13 January 1972.

Sydney Morning Herald, Saturday, 15 January 1972.

Hitching Post

We are pleased to announce that a protective cap has now been placed on the top of Adam Lindsay Gordon’s hitching post outside Brighton’s The Marine Hotel (Victoria) and we thank the Marine Hotel management for providing us with a photo of the cap which was manufactured and installed by Greg Harris of Greg Harris Sheet Metal, Ballarat.

Members and friends have kindly donated $740 to our Hitching Post Fund.

We thank our donors:

  • Joan Moore
  • Lorraine Day (Freestyle Publications)                           
  • Robert Buntine (owner Avenel Honey)                         
  • Brigid Magner                                                               
  • Beth Sampson                                                              
  • Joan Pretty                                                                  
  • Tim Shaw                                                                    
  • Anon                                                                        
  • D Nicholls (Worcester Royal Grammar Alumnus)              
  • Dr Christopher Reynolds                                               
  • Virginia Barnett.

The overall cost for metal cap and descriptive plaque was $777.34.