C.J. Dennis – Songs of a Sentimental Bloke

C.J. Dennis c. 1910. Image source: State Library of New South Wales

by Mark Gwynn

Today marks the 136-year anniversary of the birth of Australian poet C.J. Dennis (7 September 1876–22 June 1938). Along with Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson, Dennis was instrumental in popularising the Australian vernacular through fiction. Unlike Paterson and Lawson’s preoccupation with the Bush, Dennis is best remembered for his tales of the urban environment. C.J. Dennis’s most popular work The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke was first published in 1915. A hundred thousand copies were sold in its first four years, including a pocket ‘trench’ edition designed to be sent to Australian diggers fighting in the First World War. Dennis’s story would later be adapted into multiple film versions, a musical, a television program, and a ballet.

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The earliest words in Australian English

by Julia Robinson

Dampier's illustration of a 'guano' (a goanna), in 'A new voyage round the world' (1699).

We posted a blog recently with an interactive graph (devised by Tim Sherratt) showing the first occurrences of Australian words in print, as they appear in the text of the Australian National Dictionary (AND). One blog-reader asked us about the words that predate the First Fleet’s arrival in Botany Bay in 1788. Continue reading

Print and Australian English

The Fawkner Press - the first newspaper in Melbourne (Melbourne Advertiser) was printed on this press in 1838. Image source: Museum Victoria

by Amanda Laugesen

The Centre’s recent posts on digital tools are exciting ones for me. The tools developed by Tim Sherratt (see also his terrific work on analysing the data of the National Library’s Trove: http://wraggelabs.com/emporium/trove-tools/) allow us to extract significant information that can illuminate important questions about the history of Australian English.

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