C J Dennis – sometime illustrator

Somehow or other (and I know not why) I keep finding references (see here and here) to C J Dennis, Australian poet, journalist, columnist and now, I discover, author of children’s stories and a bit of an illustrator.

Here’s a photograph of him from The State Library of Victoria (out of copyright) taken c 1893.

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I came across these drawing by Dennis through Trove from The State Library of Victoria’s collection.  Again, all out of copyright so happily shared here.

The first one is a simple pencil drawing from “A Book for Kids” one of several children’s books Dennis wrote.  It’s called Going to School.  You’ll find the illustrations as they appeared in the book (via Project Gutenberg) below with the poem itself.

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Going to school

text - Going to School - C J Dennis

home from school

These coloured drawings (links here and here) were gifts from Mrs Greitje Croll to the Library. Both drawings were gifts from Dennis to Mrs Croll’s father-in-law, Robert Henderson Croll.

C J Dennis - My dog (after rabbits)

My dog (after rabbits) – C J Dennis

Just dossin - C J Dennis

Just dossin – C J Dennis


The Project Gutenberg has a copy of “The Glugs of Gosh” (1917) in its free e-book collection.  The illustrations for that book were rendered by Hal Gye.  On 16 June 1923, The Mail (Adelaide) published an article by C J Dennis praising the talents of Gye as an artist.

The Glugs of Gosh - book coverGlugs of Gosh - front cover Old Gosh Rhyme

The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Glugs of Gosh, by C. J. Dennis
Project Gutenberg's A Book for Kids, by C. J. (Clarence Michael James) Dennis
These eBooks are for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no
restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the
terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at

come in spinner – the game of two-up

Royal Australian Mint - two-up kip and pennies

C J Dennis 
- excerpt from The Sentimental Bloke HT Perry Middlemiss
Image of two-up kip and pennies - Royal Australian Mint


"Ow are yeh on a little gamble, Kid?" sez Ginger Mick.  
"Lars' night I'm on four quid.
Come 'round an' try yer luck at Steeny's school. 
"No," sez me conscience. Then I thinks, 
'Why not? An buy 'er presents if I wins a pot? 

A blazin' fool I wus. Fer 'arf a mo' I 'as a fight; 
Then conscience skies the wipe ... Sez I "Orright."  
.... Ten minutes later I was back once more, 
Kip in me 'and, on Steeny Isaac's floor.
Me luck was in an' I wus 'eadin good.
Yes, back agen amongst the same old crew! 
An' orl the time down in me 'eart I knew I never should.

 ... Nex' thing I knows it's after two o'clock - - 
Two in the morning! An' I've done me block!
"Wot odds?" I thinks. "I'm in fer it orright."

An' so I stops an' gambles orl the night; 
An' bribes me conscience wiv the gilt I wins. 
But when I comes out in the cold, 'ard dawn 
I know I've crooled me pitch; 
me soul's in pawn. 

My flamin' sins they 'its me in a 'eap right where I live; 
Fer I 'ave broke the solim vow I give.

Rules of the game  courtesy of The Australian War Memorial site and their source M G Houston.

Will you, old turnip, be my Valentine?

Sixty years ago, The Mail (Adelaide) printed a few, somewhat different, valentine verses of in cartoon form.  Here’s one example:

Another verse in the same set of cartoons, if you can manage it ….. from a ‘country boy’

Dear Sarah, be my Valentine

I’ll share my wealth if you’ll be mine.

And in your beaut new satin blouse

Oh you’d look bonzer* milking cows.

Bonzer– excellent.


On 9 February 1938, The Queenslander published two Modern Valentines by “Den”, a somewhat more experienced poet.  “Den” was C J Dennis (1876-1938) who gave Australia The Sentimental Bloke.  How could you resist?  “Will you, old turnip, be my Valentine?”  You will see that her response was equally amusing – “I’ve had you tabbed for ages” and “Why all the drivel?”   Happy Valentine’s Day.