Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

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

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Boreham on Retreat

Mirroring Nature
At a personal level F W Boreham recommended a lifestyle that mirrored the rhythm of nature. Mindful that those in public life are more apt to commit “the high crime of doing things”, Boreham said that “half the art of life lies in being able on occasions to do nothing and to do it easily ... to smoke a pipe of tobacco ... to develop the capacity for idleness ... to ruminate like a cow”.[1] He commended the “science of sleep”,[2] the enrichment of dreams,[3] the art of relaxation,[4] and the practice of withdrawal[5] akin to the way that “nature herself provides most of her furry and feathered clients with places of refuge”.[6] When Boreham wrote about “the psychology”[7] and “the mysticism of a holiday”, he had in mind the regular break from one’s routines, responsibilities and familiar surroundings so that “by contact with Nature our spent and flagging frames are thrilled by a glorious inrush of new life”.[8]

Law of Sanctuary
In the writings of Boreham there are glimpses that he diligently observed “the law of sanctuary”[9] through his early afternoon sleep,[10] his evening recourse to the armchair for his “scallop-shell of quiet”[11] and his retreat to Melbourne’s Botanical Gardens “under the shadow of a noble old cypress on a seat to which I make it a practice to repair once a week or so”.[12] Boreham’s many references to the beach at Taieri Mouth,[13] the vista from Mt Wellington,[14] the flora and fauna of Wedge Bay[15] and the delights of the Dandenongs[16] revealed a man whose holidays gave him “a vision of life [that] ... stimulated his own vitality”.[17]

Geoff Pound

Image: Taieri Mouth, FWB’s favorite sanctuary when at Mosgiel.

[1] Boreham, The other side of the hill, 248.
[2] Boreham, Age, 3 April 1948; Mercury, 14 May 1949.
[3] Boreham, Mercury, 9 June 1956.
[4] Boreham, Mercury, 20 January 1940.
[5] Boreham, Mercury, 28 February 1925.
[6] Boreham, Mercury, 31 October 1942; Age, 8 February 1947.
[7] Boreham, Mercury, 22 December 1934; Age, 3 January 1948.
[8] Boreham, Mercury, 18 January 1941; Age, 12 January 1946.
[9] Boreham, Mercury, 31 October 1942; Age, 8 February 1947.
[10] Boreham, My pilgrimage, 225.
[11] Boreham, The passing of John Broadbanks, 11.
[12] F W Boreham, The three half moons (London: The Epworth Press, 1929), 43.
[13] F W Boreham, The heavenly octave (London: The Epworth Press, 1935), 63-64.
[14] Boreham, The luggage of life, 242.
[15] Boreham, The nest of spears, 165.
[16] Boreham, A witch’s brewing, 62.
[17] Boreham, Mercury, 18 January 1941; Age, 12 January 1946.