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"PLEVNA" by Geoff Page

  • MAGNET Level 2, 640 Bourke St Melbourne, Victoria, 3000 Australia (map)

A biography of Sir Charles Snodgrass Ryan. He was a Melbourne surgeon who worked for the Ottoman Empire during the Russo-Turkish War. As Chief Medical Officer Ryan was the oldest man at Gallipoli, where he took quantities of candid photographs. These included several taken illegally during a nine-hour truce. He repaired Ned Kelly after the Siege of Glenrowan. He cut quite a figure in “Marvellous Melbourne” of the 1880s and 90s. 

In this verse-portrait of Sir Charles Snodgrass ‘Plevna’ Ryan (1853-1926), Geoff Page weaves the writing of Ryan together with his own voice as biographer, setting down the life of a man forgotten by history at the same time as reflecting on his role as intermediary. 

Page’s sensitive investigation into the lost life of Charles Ryan probes broader topics of mortality, posterity and collective memory. Written in second person and in verse, Page reflects both on the power and the unreliability of storied lives.

In collaboration with Manning Clark House.


Later Event: July 31
Giving Life