The Geebung Polo Club is a classic “Aussie yarn” by Andrew Barton (A.B.) “Banjo” Patterson. Examples here are from the illustrated edition by wildlife carer and artist Ninon Phillips. The Geebung Polo Club is an 1886 bush ballad first published in The Bulletin magazine as “A Dream of the Melbourne Cup: A long Way after the Gordon” by “The Banjo” which was a pseudonym for Patterson who ended up publishing a volume of poems in 1895. Patterson became a journalist, war correspondent in South Africa and eventually an ambulance driver back in Australia. He died in 1941. The beginning verse of the Geebung Polo Club begins:
“It was somewhere up the country, in a land of rock and scrub.
That they found an institution called the Geebung Polo Club.”
Phillips also illustrated “The Brave Water Rat” published by Grosser & Co. and she also illustrated a set of Henry Lawson poems. Born on 23rd December, 1922, she died peacefully on 8th June, 2015. When not illustrating books, Phillips had been an active protester and lobbyist of Parliament for the protection of Australian wildlife and was a sitting member for the State Council of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), Australia. In 1977 she established a sanctuary for Cape Barren Geese, to help save them from extinction.
- She was a founding member of the Wildlife Arts Society and a recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia.
- She was also the founder and patron of Wildlife in Secure Environment (WISE) Trust providing care and rehabilitation for all injured and orphaned animals through dedication, love and compassion.
What a WISE woman Ninon Philips was!