Ron Bates


Two weeks ago would have been the 102nd birthday of our late friend Ronald (Ron) Hamilton Bates. We got to know him during the sixties when he gave speech lessons to our daughter Gaby while she was in the Prince Henry Hospital, Sydney, Little Bay. after contracting poliomyelitis.

Ron became a dear friend of our family and stayed many a weekend with us. We even got to know his mother and his sister Jean,  a well-known piano player, in Sydney.

I don’t want to write his biography  here but would like to mention, that he was the grandson Australia’s icon, Daisy Bates. He grew up in Goulburn and was able to tell us a lot about early Australia.

Why I’m writing about him. Well, today I looked at some photos from 1986 when he and his sister came to the airport in Sydney to see us off  for one off our trips to Germany.

You see the late Ron Bates in the centre besides my wife Uta. on the left is sitting me and behind us my son Martin with his son Tristan.

You see the late Ron Bates in the centre besides my wife Uta.I’m sitting on the left and behind us is our son Martin with his baby son Tristan.

He gave us a self-made bon-voyage card and six post-card-sized drawings. I think they are all worth showing to the world.

This drawing is not bigger than a postage stamp. The is a little cottage he always dreamt about once owning.

This drawing is not bigger than a postage stamp. There  is a little cottage he was always dreaming about he could be owning one day.

The next drawing shows a minimalistic  landscape. It shows how with a few strokes he was able to create  a landscape in which the observer finds a lot to interpret.

IMG_20151026_0002

The next drawing shows a jumble of items and I have the feeling he wanted to show the creation and life on Earth, culminating in the Dollar. It is not very optimistic but then, he was not very optimistic about mankind. But he understood people well and had a good attitude towards them.

Creation?

Creation?

If people were the pinnacle of creation he shows us on his next drawing that he had his doubts. There is a pair of lovers, but they are outweighed by others arguing.

People being people, loving, arguing and discussing

People being people, loving, arguing and discussing

In the next picture, we see an  elderly woman contemplating the world. She is not in the centre but at periphery looking at a white canvas, so to speak. She tries to understand but can’t see head or tail.

Elderly woman can not see much

An elderly woman cannot see much!

In the next picture, I think, Ron gives us his own interpretation what he thought of the Dollar: he waves it ‘Good Bye’. I don’t think the person in the drawing wants to grab the Dollar, even so it is hovering like a Fata Morgana in the distance.

Good Bye, Dollar!

Good Bye, Dollar!

The last drawing is similar to the first one. It shows the cottage again, but this time surrounded by some trees. Perhaps he meant it for us to come back to, after  our trip.

The dream cottage in the bush

The dream cottage in the bush

Ron became a good friend over the years. Growing up after WW 1 and during the great Depression he missed out on a good education, as so many of his generation did. We had many discussions on a wide range  of subjects with him. Australia needed people like him but could not care less. Australia was the real loser.

The next generation of intellectuals left Australia in droves for the home country, Mother England.  During  the Menzies years, Australia became a white canvas for people to stare at or seek other outlets for their imagination.

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8 thoughts on “Ron Bates

  1. Thanks for publishing these drawings that Ron gave us in 1986. It is very interesting for me too, to look at the photos from 1986 that were taken at Sydney’s International Airport before our departure to Germany. There are still quite a few more photos from that day. In one of the photos is Ron’s sister Jean, who came also to the airport to farewell us. And all our children and grandchildren fare-welled us too! Daughter Caroline came with us on our trip. She was seven at the time.

    I remember how Ron used small white cards to do his drawings on, He would always bring along a stack of these cards and pens and crayons and occupy himself with drawings of the above kind. He probably found this very relaxing. It didn’t take him very long to finish one drawing, and then he would straight away start with another drawing. I think daughter Gaby was given a stack full of these drawings. We still keep some things of Gaby. I am going to try and find the drawings . Perhaps I can then publish these as well. 🙂

    t

    • We have heaps of others. He intended them for others to use as greeting cards. He was often sitting somewhere, even talking and sketching​. It took him only minutes.

  2. Pingback: Ronald Hamilton Bates and his sister Jean | auntyuta

  3. Pingback: The Year 1978 | Berlioz1935's Blog

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