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A relief portrait and tablet commemorates the poet Bernard O`Dowd who was educated in Ballarat.

O`Dowd was a poet, radical and parliamentary draughtsman.  On 2 October 1897, O`Dowd and two colleagues published the first number of a radical weekly, the Tocsin, associated with the United Labor Party. In this paper he wrote a regular column as `Gavah the Blacksmith`. At the time of Federation he posed the question, `Does Australia have a soul?`

His 1902 Tocsin pamphlet, Conscience and Democracy, was at once opposed to the South African War and expressive of a fear of mob rule, an anxiety which always played a part in his `Young Democracy`. In 1912 he denounced the White Australia policy as `unbrotherly, undemocratic and unscientific`. In 1913 O`Dowd was president of the Victorian Rationalist Association.

During his latter years, although he had virtually ceased writing poetry, O`Dowd was very much the visible poet, addressing meetings, writing verses for public occasions . In 1952 he broke a long poetic silence by producing two poems for the centenary of Australian Unitarianism. One of them included the hope `That we shall see our dream of Oneness realized`.


Address:Doveton Street North, City Library, Ballarat, 3350
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.558308
Long: 143.855639
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People
Monument Designer:Wallace Anderson


Front Inscription

Bernard O`Dowd

Born Beaufort 1866
Educated at Ballarat

"Not a maxim has needled through time,
But a poet has feathered its shaft,  
Not a law is a boon to the people
But he has dictated its draft."

R. A. Crouch Donor

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