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Letter 3 - Pot Pourri

Pot Pourri

The tradition of using potpourri dates back centuries and has continued to thrive in Australian homes and gardens.  A blend of flowers is carefully crafted to create a harmonious and inviting scent that can fill a room with natural fragrances, often displayed in decorative bowls, sachets, or small fabric bags.

The use of Pot Pourri extends beyond its aromatic qualities as it creates a sense of relaxation, evokes memories, and enhances the ambiance of a room. 


Holden Brothers Circus Band

The Holden Brothers Circus Band holds a significant place in the history of Australian entertainment. Founded in the late 19th century by the Holden brothers, the band became an integral part of the circus performances that captivated audiences across the country.

Adolphus Holden, the mastermind behind the circus, overcame adversity early in life. A railway accident near the Royal Melbourne Zoo resulted in the loss of part of his leg. Undeterred by this hardship, Adolphus rose to fame as an athlete, circus proprietor, animal trainer, acrobat, and sensational aerial loopist and triple horizontal bar performer. He established a legacy that would endure for decades, alongside his dedicated family of 10 sons and 1 daughter. 

The Holden Brothers Circus Band consisted of talented musicians who showcased their skills through a diverse repertoire of tunes. Beyond their musical contributions, the band members were known for their showmanship and interaction with the audience. They often performed during parades, attracting attention with colourful attire and energetic performances. Their presence added an element of excitement and anticipation, drawing crowds and setting the stage for the thrilling circus acts that would follow.

The Holden Brothers contributed to the magical ambiance of the circus and played a significant role in shaping the cultural landscape of Australian entertainment. 


Core of My Heart

"Core of my heart" is a poem written by Dorothea Mackellar, an Australian poet. It is also commonly known by its first line, "My Country." The poem was first published in 1908 when Mackellar was just 23 years old. It has since become one of the most celebrated and widely recognised works of Australian literature.

The poem captures Mackellar's deep love and connection to her homeland, Australia. It expresses her profound admiration for the vastness, beauty, and unique qualities of the Australian landscape. Mackellar portrays Australia as a land of contrasts, with its rugged mountains, sweeping plains, and diverse flora and fauna. She celebrates the country's natural wonders, such as the "jeweled seas" and the "sunburnt country."

"Core of my heart" beautifully depicts the Australian spirit, resilience, and connection to the land. It expresses a sense of belonging and pride in Australia's distinctive qualities. Mackellar's words evoke a strong emotional response, capturing the essence of the Australian experience and the deep bond that many Australians feel with their country.

The poem has become an iconic representation of Australian identity and is often recited and celebrated on occasions of national significance. It resonates with people from all walks of life, reminding them of the beauty and grandeur of the Australian landscape and the enduring connection between individuals and their homeland. The love of field and coppice,

Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens,
Is running in your veins —
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies …
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel sea,
Her beauty and her terror —
The wide brown land for me!

The stark white ring-barked forests
All tragic ’neath the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon —
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the treetops,
And ferns the crimson soil.

Core of my heart, my country —
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die …
And then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain

Core of my heart, my country,
Land of the rainbow gold —
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back three-fold …
Over the thirsty paddocks
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as you gaze …

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land —
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand …
Though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly

Henrietta Gulliver

Henrietta Maria Gulliver (29 October 1866 – 15 July 1945) was a renowned Australian artist, known for her exceptional landscape and floral still-life paintings. She excelled not only as a painter, but also as a florist, horticulturalist, and landscape designer.

Henrietta was born in Sale, Victoria. Her upbringing in a creative and nature-oriented family laid the foundation for her artistic pursuits. In 1900, Henrietta married George Ekins Gulliver, a successful pharmacist who developed and manufactured the famous Australian drug "Laxettes." Together, they had two daughters and resided mainly in the Melbourne area, with a few years spent in Capel, Surrey, England.

Henrietta's journey into the world of art began when she moved to Melbourne in 1885 to work for her uncle, Nathaniel Ronalds, a prominent nurseryman and florist. Her experience there sparked a deep appreciation for the beauty of flowers and plants, which would later become a recurring theme in her artwork. Henrietta established her own florist business in the city centre, quickly gaining recognition for her remarkable talent and craftsmanship. 

During the period of 1892-1899, Henrietta honed her painting skills at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School. Influenced by renowned Australian artists such as Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton, she developed a distinct style that captured the essence of the Australian landscape. In 1905, she was invited to exhibit her works at Frederick McCubbin's studio, a testament to her growing reputation in the art community.

Henrietta was a founding member of the Melbourne Society of Women Painters and Sculptors, played an active role in the Victorian Artists Society and was a member of the Twenty Melbourne Painters Society.

Inspired by her own gardens and the vibrant flora within them, Henrietta created captivating paintings that showcased the beauty of nature. Henrietta Gulliver's legacy as an accomplished artist and her contributions to the Australian art scene endure to this day. Her ability to capture the intricacies of the natural world, combined with her talent as a landscape designer and florist, has left an indelible mark on the artistic heritage of Australia.


As Long as Your Eyes Are Blue

The poem "As Long as Your Eyes Are Blue" is a romantic and sentimental piece of poetry written by the Australian poet Banjo Paterson. It celebrates the enduring beauty and allure of the color blue in a person's eyes and expresses the poet's deep affection for his beloved.

The poem portrays the eyes as windows to the soul and speaks of the power of love and the significance of physical attributes in deepening emotional connections.

The poem reflects Paterson's skill in expressing emotion through simple and evocative language. It is a romantic tribute to the enduring qualities of love and the captivating nature of a beloved's eyes.

Wilt thou love me, sweet, when my hair is grey
And my cheeks shall have lost their hue?
When the charms of youth shall have passed away,
Will your love as of old prove true?

For the looks may change, and the heart may range,
And the love be no longer fond;
Wilt thou love with truth in the years of youth
And away to the years beyond?

Oh, I love you, sweet, for your locks of brown
And the blush on your cheek that lies --
But I love you most for the kindly heart
That I see in your sweet blue eyes.

For the eyes are signs of the soul within,
Of the heart that is leal and true,
And mine own sweetheart, I shall love you still,
Just as long as your eyes are blue.

For the locks may bleach, and the cheeks of peach
May be reft of their golden hue;
But mine own sweetheart, I shall love you still,
Just as long as your eyes are blue.

 


Fasoli's

Fasoli's is an historic icon of Italian dining in Melbourne that is significant for the food it served as well as the unique atmosphere and the diverse people who frequented it.

Located at 110 Lonsdale Street, Fasoli's traces its origins back to 1897-98 when Vincent Fasoli (Vicenzo) took over the premises that had operated as the 'Pension Suisse' since 1864. 

Vincent arrived in Victoria from Nobbialo, Italy, in 1864 and settled in the Daylesford region. He married an Irish woman, Bridget White, and had five children. His life in Daylesford involved winemaking for which he won prizes at agricultural shows. In 1889, Fasoli applied for Australian citizenship, and later became the owner of the Carriers Arms Hotel in Daylesford.

In 1898, Vincent Fasoli relocated to Melbourne and established Fasoli's on Lonsdale Street. He retired in 1905 and his daughter Katherine Maggia took over the management. Fasoli's popularity continued to soar, leading to a relocation to King Street in 1907. The restaurant became renowned for its bohemian atmosphere, attracting artists, poets, journalists, musicians, parliamentarians, and professionals. Katherine maintained the distinctive menu and the unique ambiance that characterised Fasoli's.

Vincent Fasoli passed away in 1919 and his wife 1926. Katherine passed in 1929. At this point the business was managed by Katherine's sister Virginia, and then Katherine's son Guido.  It was sold in 1934, marking the end of its 36-year tenure in Melbourne.

Fasoli's highlights the significant contributions of early Italian immigrants who utilised their skills and knowledge to earn a living and introduce Italian cuisine and dining customs to Australia.


 Sources for images and further reading