Here is Dr. Maria Shenfield donning the headphones to listen to a film clip of Nick Cave in concert which took place at Swinburne's Ethel Hall in the late 1970s. The YouTube clip of the concert was included in the exhibition of archival items displayed at the 2012 June Shenfield Poetry Award presentation.*
June may or may
not have gone to the 'Ethel' to witness a young Nick Cave and the Boys Next Door perform.
But what can be clearly seen in her early writing and indeed all her work, is
the same kind of experimentation with form, innovation and refusal to stick
with the mainstream. She was a cultural rebel and it is clear that she was not
alone among her peers at Swinburne. A
peek into SCRAG, the Student Newspaper,
gives a 21st century onlooker a good insight into the thoroughly
modern and avant-garde Swinburne student in the 70s.
Maria donated the
June Shenfield papers to the
Swinburne Library archives and instituted the poetry award. While June's poems,
plays and her promotion of new Australian artists in Paris, no less, will be
her everlasting legacy, we at Swinburne can delve into this rich material and
look at the world through her eyes, see our own story then and bring a new
generation of Swinburne students, and staff, to poetry.
Each year, at the ceremony, Maria Shenfield attends to watch a new generation of Swinburne poets step out to take the prize in her daughter's name; a Poetry award in a University of Technology is a significant event.
That is Maria's legacy as well.
* The June Shenfield Poetry Award commemorates the work and life of June Shenfield. It is an annual award, given for the best piece of poetry, as judged by a panel of professional writers and editors.The 2012 award recipient was Jeffrey Worley, for his poem titled 'Here and there'.
Written by Sara Jervis (Coordinator, Swinburne History & Artefacts)