QUEENSLAND AUTHORS' AND
The evening's entertainment was arranged by the Queensland, Authors' and Artists' Association. Professor J. J. Stable, M.A., presided, and there was a large and enthusiastic audience.
Mr. F. Bennett dealt with the works of A. C. Grant, whom he described as a remarkably gifted descriptive writer, with a sense of humour, and a rare facility for putting on paper his im- pressions of life in the outback. Grant was a fine type of man, and was well
know n to many Brisbane residents at the present time; his works were particularly valuable, because they recorded a faith- ful impress of many types of life that were passing out. In his "Bush Life in Queensland," Grant had given a wonder- ful portrayal of life on stations, when sheep were specially washed for shearing, and in the days when machine clippers had not come into vogue. He had also given realistic accounts of the many practi- cal jokes played upon the blacks, and, with his keen insight into the psycho- logical make-up of aborigines, he had shown how keenly the blacks possessed a sense of the ridiculous, and revelled in the jokes played against them. Grant, after the publication of his book, had gone to the Argentine, and thence to Los Angeles, where he now resided and prospered.
A paper by Mrs. M. Bulcock, on John Nicholson's contributions to Australian literature, was read. She explained that, although Nicholson was born in England, he came to Queensland at an early age. He was a teacher in the bush, and under- stood, to a surprising degree, the message of the bush. His books were good and wholesome, and carried on the music of language. He loved children, for he was a simple-hearted child himself. A bit of Puck in his composition, made him a delightful sprite, and his nonsense verses were a pure delight. He should never have been a teacher, for he was like a caged lion. He was invariably kind and courteous, but a childlike vanity marred his character, and he grew eccentric and and erratic.
Mr. L. Anderson was frankly amusing in his paper on the works of Jack M'Laren. Firstly he asserted that the most popular book in Australia to-day was the race-book, which secured a circulation of 80,000 an issue in no time - a record that put to the blush any best- seller in the world. M'Laren, he said, was a distinct credit to his country. He gained his experience in the wild country of Cape York He had tried every job in the world except sitting still. His hank- ering for adventure took him into strange places, and "My Odyssey" was an amaz- ing record of his adventures in the South Seas. But probably his most remarkable book was "My Crowded Solitude," in which he described with great power the hardships and compensations of his life amongst the aborigines, in Cape York. They were human and gripping stories.
Mr. Inigo Jones referred to the writings of Mrs. Campbell Praed. Mrs. Praed, he said, was a native of Queensland, having been born at Bundooran station, on the Logan River. She was not only a dis- tinguished authoress, but an eminently successful one, financially as well as aca- demically. She was a prolific writer, and had published many volumes. She wrote not only of Queensland life with a facile pen, but of other countries in which she lived. She had collaborated with the late Mr. Justin M'Carthy in works of a politi- cal nature. She wrote with the finger of delicacy on the pulse of her time.
During the evening a programme of in- strumental music and songs by Australian writers and composers was provided. It was thoroughly enjoyed, and no doubt it came as a surprise to many to find that Brisbane possessed such a degree of musi- cal talent as the compositions disclosed. There was, for instance, a truly distinc- tive note in the compositions of Mrs. Spencer Browne, who wrote the music to many of the songs sung. The music was peculiarly adapted to the theme of the Australian odes, and paiticularly in "Back of Sunset" (words by Doris Waraker), sung by Miss Ivy Plane, both words and music con- veyed a distinctly Queensland atmos- phere - an atmosphere of clear skies and brilliant glow. Mrs. Spencer Browne was equally happy in her interpretation of the spirit of a "Lost Sixpence" (words by O.L.), also sung by Miss Ivy Plane. It is a dainty little song, with a sugges- tion of irresponsible mischief. Miss Plane's splendid soprano voice, with its graceful modulations and flexibility, com- bined with the fact that the composer played her own accompaniments, ensured the songs being produced with proper appreciation. Another composer whose work was outstanding was Mr. Robert Kaye. To his own music he accom- panied Mr. J. E. England in Tennyson's "Crossing the Bar" and Lovelaces "When all the world was young." Composer,
vocalist, and the writers of the words were in complete unison, and the inter- pretation was a sublime piece of artistry. Alfred Hill's fine composition. "Sonata in
F Minor," was played on the piano and
violin by Misses Merna and Acie Gillies in a manner that evoked unstinted ap- plause - plaudits that were thoroughly de- served, for these talented sisters were a real pleasure to listen to. Miss Aubrey Bell sang "Little French Mother" and "The Rose Gift." The words of the songs are by Mrs. Sheldon, and Miss Meta Maclean composed the music. The items were interesting, as showing an earnest effort to create something original in the direction of musically interpreting a vocal sentiment. Miss Mildred Bell sang a bracketed number, "Ave Maria" and "Moss Rose," the words of which, by
Mrs. Sheldon, were set to music by Mr. Henry John King. Miss Bell has a voice of considerable range and power, and her tones in the middle register were particu- larly pleasing. Her effort was thoroughly enjoyed. A decidedly pretty number was "Meadow Sweet," the words of which are by John Taylor, and the accompaniment by Mary Blake. Miss Molly Gordon gave an acceptable musical monologue, and Miss Mae King sang "The Heart You Gave," the words of which were written by Mrs. Forrest, and the music by Linda Roy Coutts.