DTSA EVENTS FOR 2014
Sun 2   Feb    12.00pm             Lunch and AGM at Zabou Kitchen, Bowlers Club, 99 York St City
Sun 13 April   1.00pm             The Legend and the Poet,  Art Centre, Headland Park, Georges Hts, Mosman
Sun  6  July   12.00pm              Dylan's Christmas in July at Grand View Hotel, Wentworth Falls
Sun  3   Aug   2.00pm               Dylan Centenary Concert with Sydney Welsh Choir, All Saints Church Hunters Hill
Sat   13  Sept  - 5 Oct                DTSA/Sydney Welsh Choir Centenary Tour to Wales, Ireland and England
Sun  26 Oct     2.00pm               Performance by DTSA cast of The Road to Milk Wood by Will Christie CANCELLED
Sun  2   Nov     2.00pm              Performance by DTSA cast of Good Night, Dylan by Clive Woosnam
Fri    21  Nov     6.00pm              Special celebration at the British Consul's House, Vaucluse, to end Centenary Year.  


                        DTSA EVENTS 2014
Seven DTSA committee members point at one of the larger Dylan Thomas newspaper supplements put out in Wales for the centenary.
Seven DTSA committee members point at one of the larger Dylan Thomas newspaper supplements put out in Wales for the centenary.
                                 The Annual General Meeting 2 February 2014
The AGM was held this year for the first time in the Zabou Lounge at the Bowlers Club in York St, City.  We had a record turnout of 45 people in attendance, one more than the previous record in 2011, and the afternoon's activities met with general approval.  After a leisurely lunch with lots of cheerful conversation, the AGM was dealt with quickly and efficiently.  The treasurer's report was well received as was the president's report, which had been circulated in advance along with the agenda and the minutes of the 2013 AGM,  Clive stressed the importance of 2014 as the centenary of Dylan's birth, and the significance of the tour to Ireland, Wales and England, a tour that is very unlikely to be repeated.  He also mentioned the increased links between the society and members of Dylan's remaining family.
There were few changes to the committee and executive for 2014.  All candidates were elected unopposed, with the final line-up being:  President, Clive Woosnam; Vice-president, Will Christie; Secretary, Olwen Barnes; Treasurer, Kay Hardman as the office-bearers, with the general committee places taken by the following members (named in alphabetical order with newcomers in bold print): Helmi Albrecht, Malcolm Brown, John Davies, Emyr Evans, Noel Hardman, Bill King, Jacqueline King, Annie Schlebaum, Wendy Walker, John Webb and Helen Woosnam.  Our secretary of recent years, Ian Lewis, is spending much of this year in Britain helping his mother, born the same year as Dylan, celebrate her hundredth birthday, but Ian will attend committee meetings when in Sydney.
After the AGM, members enjoyed listening to a recording of Dylan talking about his childhood in Swansea, and Clive's rendition of Dylan's BBC script on 'How to begin a story'.  Clive ended proceedings by reciting 'The force that through the green fuse drives the flower', written when Dylan was 18 years old.




Sunday 13 April 2014: food 1.00pm on; readings 2.00pm

This year’s topic is:

Dylan and Wales 


A panoramic view of the art room with some of the fifty strong audience

The 2014 Legend and Poet afternoon was the best attended ever, with quite a few late applications for tickets regretfully declined and the little Art Centre at Georges Heights comfortably full.  As a special guest we had Hilarie Lindsay OAM, MBE, prolific prize-winning author and indefatigable worker for the Arts in Australia.  We also had DTSA founder-member, Roger Jones, who came all the way from Hobart specifically to attend this event.  The fact that he missed his plane did not faze him; he transferred to a later flight and arrived to a loud reception during the second half of the program. 

Rod, Helen, Jane & Wendy - and lots of scrumptious food!

As usual, the food, organised by Helen with assistance from Kay, Jane, Helmi and Rosemary, was of the highest order, and Noel went beyond the call of duty by serving wine outside under umbrellas,as there was simply no room inside.  We began with over an hour of social mixing and taste-bud titillation before the literary program began, and managed to find enough food and wine to enjoy during the interval and after the whirl of words had subsided.



As usual, Helen Woosnam was narrator, with the poetry and prose passages read by Clive, Greg Bell, Susannah Fullerton, Robert Horlin and our host, Paul Delprat.  We had a CD of Dorothea Mackellar reading My Country and two CD excerpts of Dylan Thomas; in the first discussing the importance of Swansea to his work and, in the second, providing his witty description of his final home town of Laugharne.  Gwyn Thomas's tribute to Dylan, set in the geographical location of Laugharne, was also well received,  as was Dylan's film script for Wales: Green Mountain, Black Mountain.
The readings included the works of great poets of centuries ago such as Shakespeare, Cowper, Byron, Scott, Shelley and Browning and later poets such as Brooke, Owen, Betjeman and Hope.
Clive recited an English version of the Welsh National Anthem and Eli Jenkins' Morning Prayer. 
The audience expressed great appreciation of the event and we now look forward to the rest of of the schedule in this busy centenary year.



The 2014 Christmas-in-July DTSA lunch was another great success.  Members and friends arrived at the Grand View Hotel, Wentworth Falls by car and train on a beautifully cool but sunny winter's day.  The room and the tables were nicely decorated with trimmings and Christmas crackers, the gas log fire looked and felt like the real thing, and the food was excellent in quality and quantity.  Close to sixty people enjoyed the atmosphere and the spoken word segments.  Clive recited A Child's Christmas in Wales and his own version of Richard Burton's A Welcome in the Valleys.  There was a Dylan Thomas quiz, and lots of conviviality.  This wasn't meant to be a residential event, but six of our members stayed in the spartan accommodation at the hotel and had a great time together.  Members of our society have come to know each other more and more as the years pass by and the sense of belonging is now very real.

The Grand View Hotel at Wentworth Falls
The Grand View Hotel at Wentworth Falls
Clive raises his glass as most members tuck into their lunch
Clive raises his glass as most members tuck into their lunch


        Sixty four members of the Sydney Welsh Choir perform before a packed audience

The Dylan Thomas Centenary Concert was an unqualified success.  250 people squeezed into the beautiful All Saints Church, Hunters Hill, for a concert in which every song and every spoken word was linked to the life and work of Dylan Thomas.  Viv Llewellyn conducted the choir, with David Short as accompanist.  Greg McCreanor was the soloist while Rob Horlin was narrator, using the script written by Clive Woosnam.  Clive in turn recited the poetry and prose of Dylan Thomas.  The songs were all drawn from the repertoire that the choir will sing on their upcoming tour, but all have surprisingly clear links to Dylan Thomas in one way or another.  One thankyou email read: "We so enjoyed yesterday's concert.  It was hard to say whether the singing, poetry or commentary was my favourite.  It was a complete and enjoyable experience."  An ex-chairman of the Sydney Symphony wrote: "We really enjoyed the Welsh Choir and thought the presentationwas very professional.  Can't
think of a more pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  Another of the many congratulatory emails read: "It was a delightful afternoon, and what a crowd!...We loved the poetry recitations.  Just brilliant!  We also loved the structure of the afternoon, with all the backround and history.  Lovely stirring songs, and gorgeous baritone!"

                                                    Rob Horlin narrating at All Saints Church

The audience seemed very staid and sedate when the concert began, but were very involved by the end of the concert.  Most of them came to the afternoon tea, which took the form of a wine and chicken supper.  That, too, was a very successful venture.  The choir and the DTSA have every reason to be proud of the occasion.

The Centenary Tour involved so much travel and so many events that a special report is needed, and will be issued later.  The next edition of Down Under Milk Wood will take the form of a DTSA report on the tour.

DTSA and choir members gather round the simple wooden cross


This play-for-voices by Clive Woosnam was performed for just the second time on November 2 in the main auditorium of the former Bowlers Club in York St,  now known as 99-on-York.  When it was first performed, over two years earlier, Clive expressed the hope that it would help end the myth of Dylan's death being the result of a drinking binge, but no such change of attitude has occurred.  In the programme for the recent performance Clive wrote:

I had hoped that this year's centenary of Dylan's birth would have sparked a more positive and honest view of his life and the reasons for his death, but these hopes have been dashed.  Writers continue to cling desperately to the falsehoods that surround his final days in New York; recent 'bio-pics', such as Andrew Davies' A Poet in New York, have simply chosen to ignore the facts and have opted to believe the self-serving words of John Malcolm Brinnin, who had every reason to paint himself in a good light and let Dylan carry all the blame for his own demise.

                         Dylan on screen in the introduction to Good Night, Dylan

The performance was well attended and very well performed by the cast of Clive Woosnam as Voice 1, Elias Greig as Dylan, Helen Woosnam as Caitlin, Greg Bell as Advocate A, Carolyn Blanden as Advocate B, Robert Grundy as Advocate C and Olwen Morris as Advocate D.  The cast did particularly well with the variety of accents required by the minor roles, while Elias's rich voice made the most of Dylan's own words.

                                             The full cast in action

There was a great deal of positive comment at the end of the show.  There are no current plans for an extra performance, but it is now part of the DTSA repertoire.  Special thanks must go to Olwen Morris for coming up from Merimbula especially for the performance.


No-one could have failed to enjoy the centenary reception held at the British Consul's house in Vaucluse on 21 November.  The forecast of temperatures in the high thirties no doubt scared off a few guests, but the warm reception that the 76 people present experienced came from the friendly goodwill of their fellow attendees and not from the atmosphere.  

Paul Madden acknowledges the gift of a book from DTSA member Shelley Rose

We must express the DTSA's thanks to the British Consul-General, Nick McInnes, for allowing us to use his house even though he was called away overseas; we are similarly grateful for the presence of the British High Commissioner himself, Paul Madden, to host the event.  It is a special honour to have such an important diplomat drive from Canberra to Sydney for the reception, and he impressed the gathering immediately with his parody of the opening lines of Under Milk Wood, 'to begin at the beginning':

Under Chats Wood

To begin at the beginning:

It is spring, moonless night in the big city, southern cross

and bible-black, the circular quay silent and the hunched,

opera house sails limping invisible down to the

sloeblue, slow, blue, cobalt blue, manlyferrybobbing sea.

The houses are blind as wombats (though wombats see fine to-night

in the snouting, velvet billabongs) or blind as Captain Plat…..ypus

there in the muffled middle by the Bridge and the Luna Park,

the shops in mourning, the Westfield Mall in widows' weeds.

And all the people of the lulled and dumbfound city are

surfing now.

Clive responded with a short speech ending with a recitation of Do Not Go Gentle...   We had in the group members of the Australian Bronte Association, the DH Lawrence Society of Australia, the NSW Dickens Society, the Jane Austen Society of Australia and the Sydney Passengers (Arthur Conan Doyle), all British-author societies maintaining the links between Australia and the UK.

                                                                Clive recites to end the speeches

As usual, the food was of the highest order, prepared and organised by Helen and her team of Kay, Jane, Kath, Judy and Pat.  Noel, Rob and John looked after the bar for the evening, while Bill proved a versatile helper.  Nicole and Peter from the Consulate provided great assistance.

                                                  The kitchen experts: Judy, Kath, Helen, Jane, Jacqueline and Kay



2014 was definitely the most active in the short history of the society, and we haveevery reason to feel pleased with the progress we have made in less than twenty years. We started on February 2 with lunch and the AGM at 99-on-York, and a new record attendance. We had no trouble electing a large committee, and the members enjoyed the literary segment that followed the meeting.  Another record attendance came in April at the Legend & Poet afternoon where, in the centenary year, the topic was Dylan and Wales.  We had a special guest in Hilarie Lindsay OAM, MBE, and another in Roger Jones, one of our founder-members, who flew from Hobart especially for the event.  

The DTSA Christmas in July lunch at the Grand View Hotel, Wentworth Falls, also drew a large attendance of nearly sixty people. There were many Dylan Thomas words and allusions in the afternoon, along with fine food and a convivial atmosphere. Some of our members even stayed on overnight. 

The following month came the Dylan Thomas Centenary Concert, held in the beautifulAll Saints Church, Hunters Hill, with the Sydney Welsh Choir.  It was an unqualified success, with the church overflowing and many congratulatory emails were received in the next few days. A typical one read:  "We so enjoyed yesterday's concert.  It was hard to say whether the singing, poetry or commentary was my favourite.  It was a complete and enjoyable experience." 

The major event of this year - or of any year - was the tour to Ireland, Wales and England with the Sydney Welsh Choir.  As well as enjoying the music and camaraderie of the choir tour, we visited so many places central to Dylan's life and work, from the room in Swansea where he was born to his grave in Laugharne and to the memorials and exhibitions created since his death.  Our coach driver in Ireland
turned out to have a grandson named Dylan Thomas in honour of the Welsh poet - quite a coincidence!  

The concert in Aberystwyth took place in the middle of the largest exhibition in the centenary festival, and there were recitations of Dylan's work at all the concerts. Dylan's son-in-law Trefor and grandson Huw took part in the final concert in London. Many of the DTSA members who came on the tour are creating or have created literary or artistic projects from the tour. There is a wide array of approaches and we look forward with interest to the final collection which is being overseen by Malcolm Brown.

After our return to Sydney we put on two events.  The first, a new performance of my play-for-voices, Good Night Dylan, at 99-on-York, was well received.  When I wrote the play I hoped that the centenary festival might have resulted in a more positive view of Dylan's life and death, but it was not to be.  The information in my play is needed more now than ever. The final DTSA event of the year was the
Centenary Reception at the British Consul's house, where we were honoured to have the High Commissioner himself as host - and giving us his own parody of the opening to Under Milk Wood.  He called it 
Under Chats Wood.

During the year we managed to put out on time our normal three editions of Down Under Milk Wood, each of sixteen pages, and contributed a chapter called Dylan Downunder to the main Centenary book edited by Dylan's granddaughter Hannah. DTSA Vice-president Will Christie also launched his new book Dylan: A Literary Life in late October.  At the end of the year Helen and I went down to Hobart to address the Tasmanian Welsh Society about the centenary.  While there, we called in to see Roger and Doreen Jones, who were both unwell.  Soon afterwards, sadly, Doreen died.  We sent an expression of sympathy to Roger on behalf of the society.

I am grateful to the committee members who have attended the meetings during 2014.  In particular I am grateful to Kay Hardman as Treasurer who had so much to do in this busy year, to Olwen Barnes as Secretary and to Helen as editor of the e-magazine, head of catering and so much more. Thanks also to Malcolm Brown, Emyr Evans and Helmi Albrecht for work done.

The DTSA began on 12 March 1995, so our AGM takes place just over one month before our twentieth anniversary.  This should be a quieter year than 2014, but it's nice to know we have something to celebrate in the near future.  We have a few new members with us this afternoon, and we look forward to attracting more as the year proceeds.

Clive Woosnam

January 2015

Please see Page 4 of this website, Report on 2014 Events,  for more detail and photographs



DVDs of the August performance of "Highlights of Under Milk Wood" may be purchased at the AGM or at later events at the special price of just $5 for members and $10 for non-members of the DTSA.  Contact 99972019 for further details.