Charles Wiltens Andree Hayward may not be a name on the tip of today’s literary tongues, but the English-born poet who arrived in Australia in 1894 holds the record for greatest number of poems by a single author on AustLit. Of Hayward’s 2,939 poems, largely published in the Bulletin, eight relate to the Olympic Games.
In 1924, Hayward (using the pseudonym ‘T. the R.’) addressed the issue of funding for Australia’s Olympic team after the team’s manager said: ‘They had as much as they wanted – or, at any rate, as much as was good for them’. Hayward began his poem ‘Ballade of Sufficient Boodle’ with the following stanza:
They went for their lives and laughed at odds,
Won or were walloped, fair and square,
Charlton and Carr and the Murray ‘Cods,’
Eve and Winter and Beaurepaire;
Gathered – or reached for – over there
Laurel and bay for a diadem,
Who was it hinted at pockets bare?
They’d all the dough that was good for them.
Twenty-four years later, during the 1948 London Olympic Games, Hayward (writing as ‘Iford’) cast his mind back to the origins of the Olympics in ‘Then and Now’. Referring to the earliest Games, Hayward concluded:
They ran their miles, their hundreds and their quarters,
Propelled their javelins and hurled their weights,
Heartened no doubt by clamorous exhorters,
Those tough antagonists from Hellene States.
Lastly, they got along without reporters
And none collected money at the gates,
Which, when those old Olympics you recall,
May well appear the strangest of them all.
We can only guess what Hayward would have made of the media and financing arrangements for the Games of the XXXth Olympiad.