The Silver Poplar
by Edmond Smith
This timely publication is set around the Sutherland Homes for neglected children near Melbourne in the 1940s and 1950s. The Silver Poplar delves into the issues of abandonment, adoption, and the fostering of children, issues which are now in the news as governments around Australia begin to apologise for the hurts suffered by the ‘forgotten Australians’.
At times sad, it brings to the forefront the reality of the fear and loneliness children experience when abandoned. Bowker It is 1948. Edmond arrives as a frightened six year old at the country place of the Sutherland Homes for neglected children near Melbourne. He is to live there for the next eleven years. Here in The Silver Poplar, Edmond traces his life up to the time when as a late teenager he encounters in himself a surprising work of God.
The silver poplar at the Boys’ End stood for all that promised to be enduring, even when the inmates were forbidden to climb it. The book is nostalgic as well as awakening the reader to the ever-present issues of abandonment, adoption and the fostering of children. As an afterword Edmond recounts how several decades later he was to discover the past that did much to explain the struggles he faced when at the institution. It concludes radiating with hope.
About the author
Edmond Smith (BD with honors, University of London) is a retired Baptist pastor. He is the author of A Tree by a Stream (1995) and the autobiographical The Silver Poplar (2009), winner of the Australian Caleb Prize for a work of nonfiction. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, with his wife of fifty-five years, and together they have three children and six grandchildren. He continues to preach and teach in the church community.