Parrots | Rex Ingamells #1936Club

Mr Books and I recently enjoyed a roadtrip through rural Victoria and NSW to visit relatives we hadn’t seen for over a year. The journey between Echuca and Rutherglen allowed us to see two of the silo art installations popping up in various country towns across the two states in recent years.

Jimmy Dvate has painted a Superb Parrot in the Barmah National Park on the silo at Picola, Victoria. A kookaburra is depicted on the other side of the silo. Click here to see images of the entire piece, on the silo art trail website.

The Tungamah silo was painted by Western Australia street artist Sobrane Simcock. Her installation includes a hummingbird, pink and grey galah, owl, white ibis, blue wren and a sulpher-crested cockatoo (only just visible in my image). Around the other side are the dancing brolgas. It was not an easy silo to photograph due to the fencing around the private property and the shadows in play at the time of day we arrived – more images are available on the website here.

Silo art is a proud example of our love of Australiana – in art and nature. As is Rex Ingamells 1936 poem, Parrots.

Parrots

Parrots are flying and crying in the bush:
Their colours and their shrillness sweep veering through the gumtrees.
Green leaves and green birds.
Golden leaves and golden birds.
Crimson leaves and crimson birds.
And there are between-lights, mixed, elusive colouring.
There are clear shrills and vortices of chorusing,
A screaming of notes and a streaming of hues.
The parrots go crying and flying through the gums;
Their colours and shrillness sweep veering away.

When I was searching for a poem to celebrate the #1936Club, Rex Ingamells’ poem, Parrots, jumped out at me as a way to not only share these stunning silo installations with the world, but as a way to highlight a project dear to Ingamells heart – the Jindyworobak cultural movement.

The what? I hear you ask.

My reading of Australian literature is fairly limited in the larger scheme of things, but more wide ranging than the average Australian, yet I had never heard of the Jindyworobaks either.

In an editorial from 1939, Ingamells explains the aims and intentions of the Jindyworobaks. Essentially they were a group of Australian writers keen to promote Australian culture during the 1930’s and 1940’s. They believed that Australia, and its unique environment, were subjects worthy of art and literature. They desired to overcome ‘cultural cringe’ by understanding Australian history and traditions, engaging with the local environment and by appreciating Indigenous myths and language. They were one of the first groups to acknowledge the impact of colonisation on First Nations people and to bring it to the attention of a wider audience, through poetry in particular.

I have some concerns that I may not finish my 1936 book, All That Swagger by Miles Franklin in time to join in the #1936Club (I’m not enjoying the epub format and the story itself feels a bit tired), so a 1936 poem is my stand-in, just-in-case entry.

Book: Forgotten People | Rex Ingamells
Publisher: F. W . Preece & Sons, Adelaide
Publication: 1936
Format: Hardback

9 thoughts on “Parrots | Rex Ingamells #1936Club

  1. I always enjoy your thoughtful choice of poems. I hadn’t thought about the Jindyworobaks in terms of Gen 3 but perhaps I should have, though there are not many women listed as being part of/influenced by the movement – Judith Wright, Nancy Cato, Gwen Harwood being the most notable. I own books by Harwood and by Ingamells, perhaps I should read them.

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    1. I thought you would know all about the Jindyworobaks!

      I studied Judith Wright in highschool and I don’t recall her part in the Jindy’s ever coming up. Apparently Les Murray claimed himself to be the last Jindyworobak.

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  2. The poem is lovely as is the silo art.

    I remember when I was in Australia thinking that parrots were the pigeons of Australia–and how cool was that! Much better than actual pigeons…

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