Welcome to MAHTHA

MAHTHA is a non-profit association, registered in the Australian Capital Territory, formed to promote and preserve the literary heritage of Michael Rayner Thwaites (1915-2005) and of Honor Mary Scott Thwaites (1914-1993), to administer their literary estates in published and unpublished materials, and to maintain documentary and historical resources relevant to their lives and work. The lives of Michael and Honor Thwaites encompassed poetry, music, and commitment to social change in Australia and the world.

Michael Thwaites was a poet widely published and appreciated in Australia and abroad. Whilst a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, he was awarded the Newdigate Prize for Poetry in 1939. Subsequently he was the first Australian to be awarded the biennial King's Medal for Poetry.

His poetry was published widely throughout his life, including his own four anthologies:

His prose works include:

Honor Thwaites contributed several fresh translations of hymns, from the original German, to Australian and British hymnals, and also the hymn "For Australia" written jointly with Michael.

The Anzac Graves on Gallipoli

You may not pass this place. Here you must stop,
Though all the world's great tides run heedless by
These quiet graves, where wandering goats now crop
The thyme and saltbush, under a silent sky,

Where pine and myrtle speak our pride and sorrow.
The boys who made us men lie buried here,
As once in Greece men mourned their lost tomorrow
And said, the Spring was taken from the year.

These hills, where trenches fill and crumble under,
And migrant birds find peaceful resting-place
Erupted once in such a cosmic thunder
And fire, as when a star is born in space.

Here, racked with thirst, and dazed, and blind, and sweating,
Through pain, and dread, and ecstasy, and blood,
Our flesh and bone climbed to their self-forgetting
And in this place was born our nationhood.

Therefore I say to all who now inherit
Their name and lands in freedom. Dare to know
This chosen ground, and walk these hills in spirit,
And pause a while, and choose before you go.

Michael Thwaites