Search just our sites by using our customised search engine
Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

The Avondale Poets
In Memoriam -"Poppy" McLachlan-Day

The Poet Speaks

"And don't give up the Day".
... held a plate ...
Made of gold so rare:
And studded in diamonds
was a name ...
-Poppy Day "-

With wonder & great delight
Now widest world can stare.
Vale & congratulations to -
- Poppy McLachlan-Day

Poppy McLachlan-Day early 1920's.

This poem, "The Poet Speaks" constitutes a tribute to Julia Agnes Sinclair, the eldest granddaughter of our mutual grand parents, Daniel McLachlan 1852 - 1917 & Maria (Marie) Alice Spenser 1858 - 1941. (The mother of Maria known as -"Marie” also, had the maiden name of Dwyer. Marie Dwyer married Dan Spenser, thus her offspring was - Spenser). Thus, Poppy Snclair was my eldest first cousin.

Poppy was born on the 19th November 1906 @ Hillgrove NSW Australia, & passed away on 4 February 2004 @ Armidale NSW being buried @ Dorrigo NSW, Australia, on 7 February 2004. Poppy, daughter of Mary Agnes nee McLachlan 1883 - 1959 & Jack (John Alfred) Day 1879 - 1962, became the wife of Baden Sinclair on the 17 September 1928. The couple had five children, of whom, two girls & two boys survived.

As well as being daughter, wife & mother, (when she was a farmer's wife on the farming property called "Woodstock" @ Tyringham on the Armidale to Grafton road), in later working years, Poppy went travelling, fruit-picking, gem fossicking, & for a time was working in the hospitality trade.

Most importantly, Poppy was a successful poet who had poems & lyrics published, including a self - published book, entitled - “Collection of Poems”. Herein is included a poemlet, so-to-speak, that represents an Introduction to this Tribute to Poppy". The following in reference to Poppy's poetry, (a verse by Poppy herself), is quoted whimsically to honour Poppy McLachlan-Day & her poetry.

“These verses are many & varied,
I’ve written at random & leisure,
I’ve written in moments of sorrow,
And also in moments of pleasure.
I send them forth with a prayer,
That a pleasure they may be,
A blessing to some heart bring,
If only a memory.
If only one heart may be cheered,
Or the chords of one heart respond,
It is ‘Something attempted, something done’,
To earn repose in the Far Beyond”. - Poppy Day

Another one of our kith & kin who wrote finely in the verse
Has left the Earth; finished the course. Listen to words so terse.
"Mum died February four, year two thousand & four."
The world has been left once again much less & very poor.

Julia Agnes Sinclair now has peace @ her desired repose
Dorrigo, In NSW's New England, where her loved hilltops rose.
Where still they rise to meet the dawning of each earthly day;
Yet seen the bush birds wending o'er sky their fleeting way.

Baby girl born @ Hillgrove, year nineteen hundred & six
To Mary Agnes McLachlan & Jack Day, honourable heritage mix.
From o'er gorge came child-aunts, Phoebe & Eva, in greatest glee,
Marvelling much at wee bundle that they had come to see.

"The major find was deep in the one thousand foot gorge
at Hillgrove east of Armidale. First antimony was found,
the Elanora goldmine followed with more as the field developed.

Hillgrove township grew up on the hill and at its peak contained
some three thousand people, while tramways with winding gear
led to the shafts in the gorge. Hillgrove worked gold
from 1881 to 1921 and was working antimony until the 1970s.

At its peak it supported a newspaper and six hotels,
and an innovative hydro-electric scheme in 1894.
A subsidiary town, Metz, also developed." - Regional Histories of NSW

Babe in world arrived, scarlet-complexioned as poppy bright.
Given name was nickname ... "Poppy" ... forever sheer delight.
Poppy, first McLachlan granddaughter, & favourite of own Dad,
Knew mining life. Both grandfathers, miners, made her very glad.

As youngster near Baker's Creek, Poppy chased alluvial gold,
Exciting adventure remembered well especially as she grew old.
Of these days of utmost joy Poppy's left historical record.
Shafts & tunnels were play haunts that today are beyond afford.

"It is not difficult to imagine, for my father was a miner
& many a day of my childhood was spent among his shafts
& tunnels, or chasing alluvial gold, the latter for which a cradle
or sluice box is used. ... flashing picks & shovels in the sunlight,
the sound of laughter, the cradle & the sluice box working.
- What a breath-taking sight". - Poppy Day

As child she caught "mining fever". Long after, dug for other gem
Like the opal. At Lightning Ridge, as adult, she'd find lots of them.
Poppy visited Auntie Phoebe in Sydney, to show that group of kin,
Her glowing opal-finds. All were shiny, some large sized, others thin.

Soon brother, Doug, united in happy playtime in goldmine too.
Teatime, both found underground at games of "peek-a-boo".
Carefree love & laughter times, Poppy's memories evermore
Of childhood. Tales, she'd recount with spirits loftily soaring.

She learnt literature to love. Verses were recited by her mother
Both devoted to this literary gift. Each talented like the other.
Mary Day valued famed writers, Walter Scott & Robert Burns.
Next part of Mary's saga-letters were awaited with much yearning.

Poppy experienced oft' her mother's reading-writing example.
Poppy copied mother's model. She'd create many a worthy sample,
Beginning as child's fun game with rhythmical magical rhyme
Developed by model miming to be her lifelong literary climb.

As young farmer's wife through decades of toil-packed years
Poppy Day-Sinclair had fair share of joy, seriousness & tears.
During farm years, verse writing was evermore safe saviour
She wrote feeling spirit-fulfilled & gladly she found favour.

Poppy's topics varied; at times featured "Pioneers & the Past".
Easy inspiration, for she, like her kin, was in that Pioneer cast.
One poem, "Fragments", symbolised nostalgic days from faraway.
Poppy's collected pieces in word snapshots. See images again today.

"Fragments dug from out of earth,
Cast there by some careless hand;
Found & treasured now by us,
Pictures of some other land.
Mustard pots & broken dishes,
Jade ornaments & figures too;
Oh what stories these could tell ...
Of days gone by; & things they knew.
Of months of journey by the sea,
Storm-tossed waves & darkened nights;
Crinoline ladies in despair ...
Waiting for the dawn's own light.
Safe at last ... Australia's shore ...
... Unpacked ...
Fragments found in Hyde Park,
Buried all these many years;
Found at last as treasures rare,
With their stories of smiles & tears". - Poppy Day

Poppy with eldest son, Peter Sinclair at site of old gold town, Dalmonton

Another absorbing topic in which Poppy reverently indulged
Was her faithful crusading interest. To us, she cared to divulge.
She wrote of pleading yearning of bush & its environment
Such as native trees being sacrificed to capitalistic management.

"The Trees Lament" was upon this magnanimous theme.
She informed of the trees' sad condition worsening to extreme.
Provocatively, she implored careless nation by honest urgent appeal;
She thought as the trees think; sought trees' tribulations to heal.

The poem, "The Trees Lament", is bushland forest's eager voice.
Poppy wants us to listen earnestly so trees can gladly rejoice.
When younger, she'd seen the cedars hewn ruthlessly by men.
Poppy's wish was that mankind wouldn't do such things again.

"What have they done to us?
We plead to you in rhyme,
To save us from this torture
& the future; be in time.
What made you do it please?
We feel so bare & cold,
We know we do not give
The shade we did of old.
You stripped us of our beauty,
& usefulness as well,
We love to shield the humans
& hear the things they tell.
The joy to know they settled
Beneath our loving arms,
& hear contented sighs
With murmurs of our charms.
But now what will we do?
The ones that seek us now,
Care not long to linger,
Beneath our lofty bough.
What have we done to you
For you to treat us so?
Won't you raise a hand?
Do not let us go." -Poppy Day

Poppy wrote of family matters, othertimes of a Nation's pride
All were of importance to her. In her audience she would confide.
Themes, like Nature, near & dear to her, recurred often in her thought.
Love varieties, infatuation, passion, adoration or true platonic sort.

First World War, cavalryman to his horse, needed to say goodbye.
Not to return, horse, his "faithful friend", was left overseas to die.
"Last Goodbye", of Nation's pride, word picture gently drawn.
Owner soldier bids sad farewell. Both horse & soldier mourn.

"The shells flew around both near & far,
The brick walls fell.
The air was thick with cannon smoke,
But to his horse he bade farewell.
The one & faithful friend.
His head he held within his arms,
With tears upon his cheek.
Through battles fierce & fields of blood
Snow-covered, cold & bleak.
The one & faithful friend.
In battle it was the horse,
That was the soldier's friend
Guns to carry, packs to take
Now it was the end,
The one & faithful friend". -Poppy Day

Now time has come to remember well but also reverently tell.
Safe in responsive kindred heart, uttered is last fond farewell.
Memory of her cherished pioneer image, will be forever dwelling,
Expressed by one on Earth still, until her own death knelling.

Poppy told of life's various farewells bade by pals or quite alone.
Words in "Collection of Poems", cause readers to sadly moan.
Image painted of ship leaving for overseas with streamers flying.
People farewell. Man stands holding streamer. Maybe he is sighing.

Poem, "When Streamers Interlace", words will be immortalising.
Vision conjures vanishing views that can but be mesmerising.
Now let us hold our streamers to ship leaving forever from far past.
Smiles on Poppy we're bestowing. We'll join "believers" at long last.

'When Streamers Interlace
People cluster by the streamer,
Bidding goodbye to friends so true;
Within each hand there floats a streamer
Against a sky of blue.
But, leaning there on the railing,
And standing quite alone,
A fellow dreamily trailing
The strings by a seabreeze blown.
There is noone there to wave him.
Noone to bid goodbye,
There's noone's eyes to dim,
Nor throw him a farewell smile.
He watches the sea of faces,
And heaves a heavy sigh,
For him no streamer interlaces
To bid him a last goodbye.
Oh, how I long to cheer him,
For I'm so lonesome too.
I'm seeing visions that are dim,
Of places that I knew;
But o'er that sea of faces-
What am I to him ?
Through streamers interlacing ,
Ah ... The ship is growing dim". - Poppy Day

So indeed -
"... don't give up the Day".
... held a plate ...
Made of gold so rare:
And studded in diamonds
was a name ..."
-Poppy Day "-
With wonder & great delight
Now widest world can stare.
Vale & congratulations to -
- Poppy McLachlan-Day

Hillgrove NSW Mine in its heyday
Hillgrove NSW Mine in its heyday

Written by Poppy's first cousin,
Alison McLachlan-Crowe

*Acknowledgement of Poetry from "Collection
of Poems" by Poppy (Julia Agnes) Sinclair (Poppy Day).
Verses quoted from Poppy's verses are in parenthesis
& use different script from Tribute poem script.

*Information describing the then town of Hillgrove,
near Armidale NSW, is in different script also,
& is quoted from "Regional Histories of NSW" -
Heritage office & Department of Urban Affairs
& Planning - Sydney NSW - 1990s

Return to The Avondale Poets Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus