Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Friday, February 10, 2006

Personal Diaries of F W Boreham

Boreham's Personal Diaries
It would seem that From England to Mosgiel and Loose Leaves represent a selection of experiences that Boreham culled from his personal diaries that he diligently kept.[1] While he extolled the virtues of keeping a diary only eight of his annual diaries are in existence and these record the final years of his life.[2]

These hardback Invicta Australian Diaries reinforce many of the characteristics that have previously been mentioned about F.W. Boreham. He records the books he reads, the newspaper articles he writes and the sermons he preaches. His meticulous attention to detail is evident in the daily description of the weather, the times when he took the tram to the shops and the time he returned, the sports matches he attends or listens to on the wireless (along with the scores) and the times he gets his hair cut! One gets the impression that life ran like clockwork, however he builds in regular times for seeing a play, visiting the Botannical Gardens, sitting by the river, or going for a drive up Melbourne's Mt. Dandenong and having luch or a cup of tea at the Red Mill. Boreham's diaries reveal his pastoral heart and the amazing contact he had with people by writing letters.

Last Lines of Boreham
The diaries from the last decade of Boreham's life reveal a man who was tiring, battling ill health, the burden of grief and the decline in the health of his loved ones. He would spend much time on his verandah, reading and cogitating. While visitors often came (many of who were distinguished such as Billy Graham and Leslie Weatherhead), frequently a sad and lonely diary entry appeared, "Nobody came: No letters." The early years of the 1950s seem to centre around the Wednesday Lunch Hour services at Scots Church but when these ceased, the writing of articles for the Mercury and the Age were his chief remaining tasks. Recalling his early contention that "the keeping of a diary is a species of self-communing" it would seem that Boreham's diaries became the place for talking to himself especially about the low and difficult times, for it did not seem that he wanted to burden his family with such conversation. One gets the impression that Frank Boreham was finding it difficult to relate to the changes in life. While he had been given a television he did not watch it but there are two or three entries in 1958 when he accepts his neighbour's invitation to watch test cricket on television.[3]

As testimony to his discipline, Frank Boreham had "an honest and conscientiously kept diary." Moreover, he would have a sense of accomplishment to be numbered among those he had commended who kept "their journals intact to the last." Boreham's diaries remain as a treasure and as one of the many ways that he continues to speak to people long after the ink has dried.

Geoff Pound

[1] Toward the end of Loose Leaves (p.92) F.W.Boreham alludes to his more comprehensive personal diaries when he writes, "And yet as I turn over the pages of the journal from which these leaves are torn, how many are those excursions which I should like to have chronicled!"
[2] The diaries relate to the years 1946, 1947, 1948, 1950, 1951, 1956, 1958 and 1959. When F.W.Boreham died many of his books (including these diaries) were gathered up by Rev. Sir Irving Benson and when Benson died Boreham's diaries and two letters were deposited with Benson's papers in the State Library of Victoria (Ref. No. MS 11508 Boreham, Rev. Dr. F.)
[3] F.W. Boreham, Personal Diary, 1958, 2,4 January,