MS 6480 comprises the collection of books, manuscripts and papers of C.J. Dennis and Hal Gye assembled by Harry Floyd Chaplin. They include typescripts and manuscript drafts of The Glugs of Gosh, notes by Gye on the frontispiece of Backblock ballads and later verses, an album of letters and photographs titled "Early life in Auburn and Laura" relating to Dennis' early life in South Australia. The collection also comprises typescript poems by Dennis, an album of photographs and drawings of Dennis and Gye, letters of Dennis including to Alex Chisholm, and correspondence between Gye and Chaplin. There are also some notes by Hugh McCrae and letters of Sir John Monash, John Masefield, T. Inglis Moore, Dame Mary Gilmore and Olive Dennis (10 boxes, 3 fol. boxes).
Poet and journalist. Clarence Michael James Dennis was born on 7 September 1876 in Auburn, South Australia and educated at Gladstone Primary School, St Aloysius College, Sevenhill, and Christian Brothers' College, Adelaide. He joined the Adelaide Critic as a journalist in 1898 for a year, returning in 1901 and becoming editor in 1904. In 1906, he founded the satirical journal The gadfly, contributing items of verse and prose until his departure for Melbourne in 1907. In 1908, he turned to freelance journalism, later moving to Toolangi in Victoria with the artist Hal Waugh where he worked on writing verse. He married Olive Harriet in 1917.
Dennis' publications include Backblock ballads and other verses (1913), The songs of a sentimental bloke (illustrated by Hal Gye, 1915), The moods of Ginger Mick (1916), The Glugs of Gosh (1917), Doreen (1917), Digger Smith (1918), Jim of the hills (1919), A book for kids (1921) and The singing garden (1935). In 1922, he joined the literary staff of the Melbourne Herald, writing a daily column of verse and prose. Dennis died in Melbourne on 22 June 1938.
Artist and writer. Harold Frederick Neville Gye was born in Ryde, Sydney on 22 May 1888. Initially a law clerk in Melbourne, he became an artist and writer. Gye contributed political cartoons, caricatures and other illustrations to numerous newspapers and magazines. He contributed to the weekly Adelaide serial The gadfly during 1906-1907 and later met C.J. Dennis in Melbourne. He illustrated C.J. Dennis' The songs of a sentimental bloke and provided the illustrations for most of Dennis' works until a disagreement over the work Rose of spadgers (1924) terminated the partnership. Gye also illustrated works by Henry Lawson, Will Ogilvie and A.B. Paterson for Angus & Robertson.
From the 1930s, Gye concentrated on writing and wrote short stories under the pen name of James Hackston as well as two collections of short fiction, Father clears out (1966) and The hole in the bedroom floor (1969). In the 1940s and 1950s, he wrote verse for the Bulletin as Hacko. Gye died in Melbourne on 25 November 1967.