Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

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

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Boreham on Preserving Nature

Life That We Love
In response to the lavish outpouring of life, yet mindful of the human potential to waste and spoil and upset nature’s balance, F W Boreham, in many editorials, highlighted the social responsibilities of protecting and preserving nature. [1] Working from the premise that “it is life that we love ... therefore we should not kill animals”,[2] Boreham wrote editorials calling for the prevention of cruelty to animals[3] and he attacked the “blood lust of the British” and “the vogue of the big game hunter” that resulted in certain animal species being in danger of extinction.[4]

Preserve the Birds
Boreham’s concern for birds led to his plea for the saving of hedges[5] and, writing from Tasmania, the most wooded state of the country, he sounded the urgency of preserving the habitats of birds that were in peril of extinction.[6] He lambasted the installation of air beacons around the world that “have wrought havoc among the vast flights of migratory birds”,[7] he claimed that “the rapid increase of population [in some countries] is threatening the extermination of the loveliest and most valuable of the feathered species” and he denounced “the havoc wrought by the insatiable demands of the milliner”.[8]

Save the Forests
Calling the forest “man’s oldest and most faithful friend, and one towards whom he is inclined to turn with increasing reverence and affection as the ages go by”,[9] in 1920 Boreham joined a growing number of people[10] in castigating those who carelessly cleared the forests and bush, saying, “Australia cannot afford to part with its trees”.[11] While mindful of the instinct for chopping to which Boreham’s heroes, W E Gladstone and Richard Jeffries, succumbed, he expressed in 1928 his pleasure at “the popularisation of Arbor Day” and other government initiatives, saying to his readers that “we should all of us apply ourselves to a wholesale orgy of tree-planting”.[12]

Geoff Pound

Image: “a wholesale orgy of tree-planting.”

[1] Boreham, Mercury, 25 September 1917.
[2] Boreham, Mercury, 9 June 1917; F W Boreham, The home of the echoes (London: The Epworth Press, 1921), 82.
[3] Boreham, Mercury, 26 June 1915.
[4] Boreham, Mercury, 21 March 1914.
[5] Boreham, Mercury, 5 July 1930.
[6] Boreham, Mercury, 13 September 1913; 26 October 1940.
[7] Boreham, Mercury, 20 April 1929.
[8] Boreham, Mercury, 26 October 1940.
[9] Boreham, Mercury, 28 June 1924.
[10] Ann R M Young, Environmental change in Australia since 1788 (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1996), 74-75.
[11] Boreham, Mercury, 10 July 1920.
[12] Boreham, Mercury, 9 June 1928.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Boreham on Nature As Silent Preacher

Silent Yet Articulate
F W Boreham viewed nature as a preacher of truth not in a brash or intrusive style but by being “silent yet articulate”.[1] An example of nature’s propensity to preach by hinting was the migratory instinct of birds, of which Boreham suggested that “we are all affected more than we know by forces that we cannot see” and by stirring up the human conscience to the “boundless, the illimitable, the eternal”.[2]

Signaling Through Semaphore
Symbolism was another of nature’s preaching techniques in which the compelling message of sacrifice could be conveyed through a red poppy[3] or one’s love of country could be declared through a sprig of wattle.[4] Recognizing nature’s preaching ability to transcend barriers of culture and language, Boreham asserted that the coming of the swallow[5] and the emergence of a green shoot from a dead husk[6] were examples of the way the “sublimest messages [were] semaphored” through “the language of gesture”.[7]

Saying It In Signals
Explaining further ‘the science of signals’, Boreham pointed to the fine homiletical tradition in which nature stood. Thus, he affirmed:

"Revelation makes it clear, that, even when Almighty God has something really vital to say, He says it in a language that requires no translation or interpretation. He says it in a way that all men everywhere can comprehend. “The veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.” No man can mistake the awful and profound significance of such a gesture. No man may be able to grasp the doctrine of the atonement; but where is the heart that does not respond to the mute eloquence of the Cross?"[8]

Saying It With Flowers
Nature’s preaching method, according to Boreham, was that of declaration rather than explanation, not the pronouncement of glib answers but the evocation of surprise, earnest questions and child-like wonder. Hence his statement about the human response to nature’s appeal: “We find ourselves saying to the seed and the soil what Tennyson said to the flower in the crannied wall; if we could understand what it is in the seed and in the soil that produces the ears of corn, we should know what God Himself is”.[9]

Geoff Pound

Image: “the migratory instinct of birds.”

[1] Boreham, Mercury, 20 August 1955.
[2] Boreham, Mercury, 7 October 1939; Age, 22 November 1947.
[3] Boreham, Mercury, 10 November 1923.
[4] Boreham, Mercury, 10 November 1934; Age, 9 November 1946.
[5] Boreham, Mercury, 16 March 1940.
[6] Boreham, Mercury, 11 April 1941.
[7] Boreham, Mercury, 20 August 1955.
[8] Boreham, Mercury, 20 August 1955.
[9] Boreham, Mercury, 20 October 1951.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Boreham on Nature As Educator

Educator Par Excellence
In a statement reminiscent of Benjamin Disraeli, Boreham viewed nature as one of the greatest educational influences in life,[1] and in an editorial he wrote, “We have the trees as teachers and preachers, and many a man has learned the deepest lessons of his life at the feet of these shrewd and silent philosophers”.[2]

Free Education
Boreham paid numerous tributes to nature as his teacher,[3] saying, “All we have learned has increased our reverence for nature”.[4] In writing of the “maxims of the mud”,[5] the “stones articulate”,[6] the “rhetoric of the rocks”,[7] rocks as “the manuscripts of God”[8] and the universe as “the archives of the ages”,[9] Boreham reinforced the educational role of nature for those who were keen to be its students.

Use of Imagery
In writing of the “magpie habit of collecting”[10] or “the mimicking behaviour of the lyrebird”,[11] Boreham was demonstrating ways that nature had taught him to use its imagery. His writings were replete with nature’s parables, including nature’s camouflage,[12] lessons in adapting and adjusting,[13] the way to break bad news,[14] the principle of the undertow[15] and the ‘dead’ Easter-like kernel that “has the latent genius for resurrection”.[16] Moreover, Boreham was discriminating about nature’s teaching style. He encouraged his readers to discover the value of nature’s unattractive features saying, “It is by vipers as well as by violets that God reveals His wondrous ways to men”,[17] but Boreham did not commend nature’s propensity to ignore the weak[18] or its unsympathetic brutality.[19]

Regular Exposure
Boreham often attributed his inspiration to a renewed exposure to nature.[20] Nature had taught him to wonder[21] and to ask questions[22] yet, despite all the learning and resources of religion, he concluded, “We are only on the fringes of things”.[23] The importance of nature’s teaching role for the world was underscored when, in writing about the impact of the trade winds and the way they had compelled human beings to move, Boreham stated that, “It is only by dancing to the tune that Nature plays that civilization can advance and humanity continue its triumphant march”.[24]

Geoff Pound

Image: “the mimicking behavior of the lyrebird”

[1] Boreham, Mercury, 6 October 1923. Benjamin Disraeli, the Earl of Beaconsfield said, “Nature is more powerful than education”. Benjamin Disraeli, Contarini Fleming: An autobiography (New York: D Appleton & Co, 1870), 19.
[2] Boreham, Mercury, 11 June 1932.
[3] Boreham, A tuft of comet’s hair, 63.
[4] Boreham, Mercury, 5 May 1917.
[5] Boreham, The other side of the hill, 152.
[6] Boreham, Mercury, 5 July 1952.
[7] Boreham, Mercury, 25 May 1957.
[8] Boreham, When the swans fly high, 63.
[9] Boreham, Mercury, 26 October 1957; Age, 5 September 1953.
[10] F W Boreham, The nest of spears (London: The Epworth Press, 1927), 10.
[11] Boreham, Rubble and roseleaves, 181.
[12] Boreham, Mercury, 27 July 1918.
[13] Boreham, Mercury, 15 November 1919.
[14] Boreham, Mercury, 16 September 1922.
[15] Boreham, Mercury, 17 April 1915.
[16] Boreham, Mercury, 11 April 1941.
[17] Boreham, Mercury, 3 April 1954.
[18] Boreham, Mercury, 27 May 1922.
[19] Boreham, Mercury, 21 June 1941.
[20] Boreham, When the swans fly high, 7, 187.
[21] Boreham, Mercury, 9 February 1946.
[22] Boreham, When the swans fly high, 87.
[23] Boreham, Mercury, 28 June 1941.
[24] Boreham, Mercury, 1 August 1925.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Boreham on Nature as Hope Bearer

Messenger of Hope
According to F W Boreham, a prominent aspect of nature was its rhythm in which “like a gigantic wheel, the cycle of the seasons revolve without apparently achieving anything by its revolutions”,[1] but despite this ‘illusion of futility’ “high ends are being compassed .… Nature was making progress all the time”.[2] Boreham perceived the purposefulness of nature in the turning of the tides,[3] the return of the swallow[4] and the day when “the elms ... having attired themselves in all their bravery of their new spring dresses, have curtained from me every object lying beyond themselves”, a day which he recorded for many years with precision.[5]

Indomitable During Tragedy
While he observed the irregularity of nature in the variegated patterns of flowers in contrast to the boring predictability of linoleum,[6] the relentless momentum and indomitability of nature was never more evident to Boreham than in the years of the Second World War. For example, during this period he observed: “Crocuses break through the snow; nodding daffodils smother the bank; yellow primroses carpet the leafy woods; bluebells swarm along the hedgerows; and the birds sing their mating-songs in utter indifference to the horror of the world’s stark tragedy”.[7]

Eloquent and Articulate
Boreham interpreted this death-defying messenger of hope as “the eloquent articulation of all those dumb forces that are struggling to tell of the light that breaks from the gloom of midnight, of the peace that issues from the terrors of war, of the good that triumphs at last over the mightiest evil and of the redemption that comes to men through the darkness and dereliction of the Cross”.[8]

Geoff Pound

Image: “nodding daffodils smother the bank”

[1] Boreham, Mercury, 1 December 1951.
[2] Boreham, Mercury, 5 June 1943; Age, 6 December 1947.
[3] F W Boreham, The uttermost star (London: The Epworth Press, 1919), 264.
[4] F W Boreham, The last milestone (London: The Epworth Press, 1961), 135.
[5] Boreham, The passing of John Broadbanks (London: The Epworth Press, 1936), 261.
[6] Boreham, Faces in the fire, 54.
[7] Boreham, Mercury, 23 October 1943; Age, 6 April 1946.
[8] Boreham, Mercury, 3 May 1947.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Boreham on Nature's Wellspring


Supply of Vitality
One of the reasons why F W Boreham wrote passionately about nature was because of nature’s capacity to exude life in a full and endless supply. Inviting readers to share his exultation of life at Wedge Bay, Boreham wrote:

"He will find himself in a world that is simply overflowing with life. He will be bewildered by its teeming abundance, its confusing multiplicity, its endless prodigality. He will find life, in every possible and impossible phase and form, swarming and scurrying, flapping and fluttering, rustling and crawling, whispering and twittering, bounding and splashing, everywhere and all the time! He will see life peeping forth from every crack and crevice. Life is breaking out and bursting up and bubbling over everywhere ... If they really want to see life, let them go to Wedge Bay!"[1]

Marvel of Spring
The experience of life in its essential form was never more evident for Boreham than in Spring. “However commonplace the year might be”. he told his southern hemisphere readers, “[September] holds for each of us one month of marvels”.[2] Saluting this season as “the sweet o’ the year”, Boreham continued: “The gladness of Springtime is the sheer joy of being alive. The assumption is sound. The rapture and intentness with which we watch the return of the swallows, the gilding of the wattle, the bursting of the bulbs. The vernal roaming of the elms, the oaks and the poplars, and all the familiar signs of the passing of Winter and the approach of summer days, is simply an integral phase of our passionate love of living”.[3]

Joy of Life
Boreham’s love of life and his views about Spring were shaped by Richard Jeffries. “Nobody has written with more precision on the subject of Spring”, declared Boreham, “than has Richard Jefferies”.[4] Boreham shared Jeffries’ ecstasy in waiting for the coming of Spring. The naturalist was fascinated by “the joy of life” and his love of Spring was “not so much for its own sake, as for the sake of the life that the Spring so abundantly produces”.[5]

Geoff Pound

Image: “the coming of Spring”

[1] Boreham, The golden milestone, 114.
[2] Boreham, Mercury, 2 November 1946.
[3] Boreham, Mercury, 3 September 1949.
[4] Boreham, Mercury, 2 November 1946.
[5] Boreham, Mercury, 2 November 1946.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

New Boreham Books in the Pipeline

Press Release: New Books By F W Boreham

New Boreham Publishing Initiative
Michael Dalton (USA) and Geoff Pound (UAE) have teamed up to establish John Broadbanks Publishing. Both enthusiasts of the writings of Boreham their dismay at the general unavailability of these writings due to their being out of print has led to this exciting decision.

Despite a resurgence of interest in the life and books of Dr F W Boreham no contemporary publisher has yet been willing to risk republishing the books of a preacher and essayist who has been in his grave for almost 50 years.

Prolific Writer
F W Boreham lived in England, New Zealand and Australia between 1871 and 1959. He authored 55 books, wrote 3,000 editorials in major papers and was a premiere preacher. Epworth Press, which published and reprinted most of the Boreham books said his book sales went into the millions and that “Boreham was the biggest catch since John Wesley.” He was introduced at an international conference of pastors in 1936 as “the man whose name is on all our lips, whose books are on all our shelves and whose illustrations are in all our sermons.”

First Book
This new vision is to republish some of the Boreham books that are not only out of print but are exceedingly scarce in the second hand market. The first reprint will be Boreham’s tribute to his mentor. It was first printed in 1948 with the title: The Man Who Saved Gandhi and will be given the new title Lover of Life: F W Boreham’s Tribute to His Mentor.

It is hope this book will be available by the end of 2006. Further information has been posted and will be added at the following site F W Boreham On Mentoring.

Further Books Planned
The plan also involves repackaging some of the Boreham essays and sermons into two new books, The Best Essays of F W Boreham and The Best Stories of F W Boreham.

It is hoped these books will emerge in 2007. Further information has been posted and some of the stories will be added to the following site The Best Stories of F W Boreham.

Michael and Geoff are grateful to have the permission of Whitley College which has held the copyright to Boreham books since this was passed over by the Boreham family in 1996. A proportion of any profits arising from this new publishing venture will continue to be donated to Whitley College for the training of pastors and missionaries, two ministries that were dear to the heart of F W Boreham.

As this is a ‘self-publishing’ activity donations are being sought to assist in the seeding of this venture.

If you would like to invest in this exciting project you can donate money by writing your check, payable to ‘Michael Dalton’ and send to:

Michael Dalton
2163 Fern Street
Eureka, CA 95503

The selection process of the best essays and stories is happening now. If you would like to put in a recommendation for a favorite essay or a story to be included in the new books do write to Geoff Pound

If you desire more information or if you would like to register your interest in purchasing these books do write to
Michael Dalton at or
Geoff Pound at

Geoff Pound
Michael Dalton

Boreham on Nature as Evocator

Packet of Surprises
F W Boreham wrote many editorials about ‘the infinities of nature’ because this was the feature that had the greatest potential to evoke surprise and wonder within human society.

According to Boreham: “A world that could no longer surprise us would be a world that had run out of bombshells .… Half the fun of waking up in the morning is the feeling that you have come upon a day that the world has never seen before, a day that is certain to do things that no other day has ever done. Half the pleasure of welcoming a new-born baby is the absolute certainty that here you have a packet of amazing surprises ... here is novelty, originality, an infinity of bewildering possibility”.[1]

Impact of Nature on Boreham
Reviewing his life, Boreham recounted a childhood experience of nature’s surprises when on his first expedition to the spot where he could glimpse the sea. Remembering the longing that drew him he wrote, “A cat has nine lives but a child’s expectancy has a thousand”.[2] In recording his many first encounters of nature, Boreham often remarked on its personal impact, detailing how, upon arrival in London, he was “hungry for fresh experiences”[3] and “specializing in novelties”.[4] Later in Australia, he was fascinated by the way he could never return to a familiar spot in the bush “without discovering some fresh delight”.[5]

Restlessness of the Boundless
The instinct for the new that he had experienced was part of the human consciousness of “the boundless, the illimitable, the eternal” in nature and was Boreham’s explanation for the unseen pull that lured explorers on their journeys of discovery.[6] He alluded to this in his many editorials on the poetry of the sea[7] and the stories of naval explorers[8] who were drawn by “the lure of blue water”,[9] “the magnetism of the masts”[10] and “the thought of beyond”.[11] Seeking to explain the human passion for undertaking lonely and often painful expeditions over land and sea, Boreham said: “Man is fevered with the restlessness of infinity .… He is ceaselessly magnetized by the beyond. What is beyond the mountains, beyond the oceans, beyond the utmost bounds of space? What is beyond time, beyond life, beyond death? It is his contemplation of these august and stately problems that, in the long run, shapes his personality and moulds his destiny”.[12]

Geoff Pound

Image: “the lure of blue water.”

[1] F W Boreham, Faces in the fire (London: The Epworth Press, 1916), 14.
[2] Boreham, My pilgrimage, 15.
[3] Boreham, My pilgrimage, 63.
[4] Boreham, My pilgrimage, 61.
[5] F W Boreham, A tuft of comet’s hair (London: The Epworth Press, 1926), 199.
[6] Boreham, Mercury, 7 October 1939; Age, 22 November 1947.
[7] Boreham, Mercury, 6 October 1928.
[8] Boreham, Mercury, 21 March 1925.
[9] Boreham, Mercury, 19 January 1929.
[10] Boreham, Mercury, 4 February 1939.
[11] Boreham, Mercury, 1 January 1940.
[12] Boreham, Mercury, 19 April 1958; Age, 23 January 1954.