Poetry a family affair for Anthony Barton

HE may not believe his distant relative Banjo Paterson was born in Emmaville Cottage, but Anthony Barton said the Banjo Paterson Festival was a great idea for Orange and the bush poet’s memory.

Mr Barton grew up with the poetry of his famous relative they called “Barty”.

When he was eight years old Mr Barton’s parents gave him a book of Banjo’s poetry for Christmas and all these years later Mr Barton still treasures the book.

Mr Barton’s great great grandparents, Emily and Robert Johnston Barton, were Banjo’s grandparents.

Emily Barton, Banjo’s grandmother, was a big influence on the bush poet, according to Mr Barton.

“Barty spent a lot of time with his grandmother and she was a very, very good cook and very creative, and also quite a good poet in her own right,” he said.

Mr Barton said Barty’s parents, Andrew Vogle Paterson and Rose Barton, moved often and ran several large stations.

“Barty’s father went broke twice due to drought and mismanagement,” he said.

“Barty didn’t see much of his father at all.”

The family stories of Barty are of a “knockabout bloke” according to Mr Barton.

“As an Australian we’ve always had that knockabout larrikin part in us,” he said.

“He got a lot of this from my grandfather [Denis Barton] who was Barty’s first cousin.

“He carried himself with a fair bit of dignity and could talk and mix with anyone, it didn’t matter if they were shearers or lords.”

Mr Barton said while he believed Banjo was born at Narrambla he did not think the cottage was the actual birthplace.

“If you’ve got a giant homestead and a cottage where would you have a baby?” he asked.

Regardless of the location of Banjo’s birth, Mr Barton was proud to be a part of the official opening of Emmaville Cottage on Sunday.

He was excited to have a festival in honour of his relative Banjo Paterson. The Banjo Paterson Festival finishes today.

“I think it’s a terrific concept ... I feel proud and humbled. We do take a bit of pride in our family,” he said.


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