Minimay to celebrate famous poet
The Wimmera’s most famous national poet John Shaw Neilson will be the subject of a community commemoration at Minimay in the west Wimmera next week.
Minimay Hall Committee is organising the event, at Minimay Soldiers Memorial Hall on October 19, to commemorate the time Neilson lived in the town.
Neilson was born in Penola on February 22, 1872, and went to Minimay with his parents as a nine-year-old in 1891.
He became one of the foremost poets of his generation.
He wrote his first poem, ‘When are the Angels Nearest’ when he was 16, The a work published in newspaper, Australasian.
The swamps and birdlife Neilson encountered on his walk to school and work greatly influenced his work.
Minimay Hall Committee has invited grade five and six students from all west Wimmera schools and Frances Primary School in South Australia to gather at the hall to learn about John Shaw Neilson, read and act out his poetry and learn about life in Minimay in 1891.
It has also invited the wider community to attend an official dinner in Minimay Soldiers Memorial Hall.
Members of John Shaw Neilson Society from Melbourne, as well as Penola, will attend the dinner, with proceedings starting at 4.30pm with district identities reciting Neilson’s poetry.
Officials will also unveil a painting of Neilson, by Harrow artist Ron Penrose, during the night.
The organising committee is encouraging all former Minimay school students, of which it believes there about 25, to attend the evening of celebration.
People seeking further information or keen to book in for the dinner can call committee members Geoffrey Carracher on 5386 6261, Jenny Chenhall on 0416 264 113 or Dick Smith on 5386 6241.