Boree Log Cottage poetry event

The years have turned the rusted key, and time is on the jog, yet spend another night with me around the boree log

  • Excerpt, Around The Boree Log, by John O’Brien

If only these walls could talk of the very Boree Log Cottage here in Yass that O’Brien grew up in and wrote about later on in life.

Well, perhaps now they can, with a special opening of the cottage on what would have been O’Brien’s 140th birthday, October 13, 2018.

Owners, husband and wife David Price and Sandra Lloyd, fell in love with the poet’s cottage the first time they saw it and purchased it in 2000. Now, they want to share its history and magic with others.

“There’s something quite nice about this space; it affects people,” Ms Lloyd said. “If there’s any time to share the cottage, it’s this year.”

The cottage will open at 9.30am for a 10am start, with readings of O’Brien’s works by local performance poet and writer Robyn Sykes, until noon. There will then be the opportunity to meet and see original sketches and an original painting by artist Patrick Carroll, who was commissioned to illustrate the 1980 edition of Around The Boree Log.

Guests will also be able to browse memorabilia and a collection of limericks written by locals over morning tea with a gold coin donation.

“We’re inviting people in the theme of being Irish to write a poem about his work and life,” Ms Lloyd said.

She, Mr Price and Ms Sykes, have already written their limericks and are eager to see submissions from others.

Ms Lloyd’s limerick was inspired by O’Brien’s curious name change, born as Patrick Joseph Hartigan. 

It’s believed O’Brien named himself after the local milkman who was known to water down his milk. A humble man, O’Brien considered his poems watered down, never expecting them to equate to anything.

There once was a milkman called O’Brien

Who watered his milk down all the time

When the Hartigans complained

He was restrained

Then resorted to watering down wine

Ms Lloyd’s limerick will be in the collection.

Ms Lloyd discovered this story during her research of O’Brien’s life since living in the cottage and now using it as a retreat from working life in Canberra.

“We really want people to understand that this cottage is to be shared and have a legacy. All sorts of exciting things have been happening at the cottage and I know there’s so much more to come,” Ms Lloyd said.

  • RSVP and/or submit your limerick by September 29 to thebigskyandi@outlook.com
Stories from Around The Boree Log await guests inside the cottage John O'Brien grew up in. Picture: Hannah Phemister Photography

Stories from Around The Boree Log await guests inside the cottage John O'Brien grew up in. Picture: Hannah Phemister Photography

Owner Sandra Lloyd prepares for poetry performances at Boree Log Cottage on October 13, 2018. Picture: Hannah Sparks

Owner Sandra Lloyd prepares for poetry performances at Boree Log Cottage on October 13, 2018. Picture: Hannah Sparks

The quirky and welcoming exteriors of Boree Log Cottage are reminiscent of John O'Brien's poetry. Picture: Hannah Phemister Photography

The quirky and welcoming exteriors of Boree Log Cottage are reminiscent of John O'Brien's poetry. Picture: Hannah Phemister Photography