Dickens 205th birthday celebrations

On Tuesday 7th February twenty NSWDS members and friends gathered in front of Dickens’ statue in Sydney’s Centennial Parklands to celebrate his 205th birthday in what has become an annual event.

This year however we were not blessed with the usual sunny blue skies expected for a February summer day in Sydney; instead we experienced a freak storm with torrential rain which caused flash flooding. Around 50mm of rain fell in about 30 minutes. Amazingly almost half of the hardy Dickensians who’d accepted the invitation to the party turned up. Luckily about ten minutes before the event was due to start the rain at Centennial Parklands ceased and it remained dry for the rest of the party. Having organised to have one ‘sun shelter’ set up in front of the statue and another behind it to cover the cake, champagne etc. we little expected them to end up being ‘rain shelters’. But they did the job well and the inclement weather certainly didn’t dampen the spirits of those attending

President Louise Owens welcomed everyone and introduced Geoff Usher who gave his very popular reading of two of Henry Lawson’s poems about Dickens. Louise then introduced our guest speaker Laila Ellmoos who has been a historian with the City of Sydney’s history team for over five years but at the time when the statue was reinstated in Centennial Parklands she was the historian with the Government Architect’s Office. As such Laila was involved with a team of heritage specialists and stonemasons that oversaw the restoration of the statue of Charles Dickens and her talk covered the history of the statue, giving us more of the story about its restoration and reinstatement in Centennial Park in 2011. Vice President Walter Mason thanked Laila for her fascinating and interesting talk.

Photos by Anthony Fretwell; http://fretwellphotography.com.au/

Then it was time to sing Happy Birthday, cut the birthday cake and give a champagne toast to our favourite author. All in all a Dickens of a day!


Photos by Anthony Fretwell; http://fretwellphotography.com.au/


This entry was posted in Dickens Birthday, News. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Dickens 205th birthday celebrations

  1. Malvina says:

    Fantastic, I was unable to make it, so seeing photos is next best. So glad you weren’t completely rained out!

  2. Sandra Faulkner says:

    Wish I could have been with you – what’s a little rain! Looking forward to being there in October 2018.


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