One’s last gumtree

by
November 2019, no. 416

One’s last gumtree

by
November 2019, no. 416

Sidney (Sid) J. Baker (1912–76) is undoubtedly one of the most influential figures in the history of Australian slang lexicography. Born in New Zealand, Baker worked in Australia as a journalist, writing for publications such as ABC Weekly, The Daily Telegraph, and The Sydney Morning Herald. He was also the author of a number of books about Australian slang, one of which is A Popular Dictionary of Australian Slang (1941).

I recently added a copy of the third edition (1943) to my collection of dictionaries and lexicons. This slim volume is particularly special: it is signed by Baker, but is also inscribed ‘Gift from Constance Robertson’. Constance (Connie) Robertson was an editor, writer, and war correspondent. She was also the daughter of The Bulletin’s ‘Red Page’ editor A.G. Stephens, himself a collector and champion of Australian slang. Baker acknowledged his debt to the work of Stephens in his preface to A Popular Dictionary. While it is unclear just why Constance Robertson signed this copy, it might be because of this connection.

From the New Issue

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