The short story ‘The Drover’s Wife’ and the poem ‘Past Carin’ made Henry Lawson a well-known Australian author. His sketch story ‘On the Edge of a Plain’ also became a model work in the same genre. As a result of witnessing conflict between his parents as a child, he became a timid individual. At the age of fourteen, he became deaf, which made him even more reticent and reclusive. Then, he turned to literature, and despite not having attended college, he eventually became a respected author. Despite having experienced career success, Lawson was unable to overcome alcoholism and destitution. Despite these obstacles, this author has produced some of the noblest works in the history of Australian literature. ‘A Child in the Dark, and a Foreign Father,’ ‘On the Track,’ ‘The Loaded Dog,’ and ‘Over the Sliprails’ are among his most popular short stories. “One Hundred and Three,” “The Bush Undertaker,” and “The Union Buries its Dead” are some of his most popular poems. He has also authored several essays, such as “A Neglected History,” “United Division,” and “Australian Loyalty.” This talented author was the first individual in his country to receive a state funeral upon his passing.
Youth and Early Life
Henry Archibald Hertzberg Lawson was born on June 17, 1867, in Grenfell, New South Wales, to Niels Hertzberg Larsen and his wife, Louisa. Niels was a Norwegian miner who changed his name to Peter Lawson to appear more English. His wife was a housewife who became a feminist author and publisher in later years.
The young child began his education in Eurunderee, New South Wales, on October 2, 1876. Due to an ear infection, he experienced partial hearing loss, which worsened by the time he turned fourteen. John Tierney, the boy’s educator, assisted him with his schoolwork after he lost his hearing completely.
Later, when Henry attended school in Mudgee, New South Wales, another teacher, Mr. Kevan, instilled in him a passion for poetry. Since the infant was deaf, reading played a significant role in his education. His favorite English authors were Frederick Marryat and Charles Dickens.
By that time, his parents’ troubled marriage had ended, and his mother, Louisa, was residing in Sydney with her other children. After assisting his father with his work in the Blue Mountains region of New South Wales in 1833, Henry relocated to his mother’s home. While residing with his mother, he worked during the day and studied at night. Despite his best efforts, the young Lawson failed his high school entrance examinations.
A profession of Henry
Henry’s first literary production, a poem titled “A Song of the Republic,” was published in The Bulletin on October 1, 1887. In addition, he published the poems ‘The Wreck of the Derry Castle’ and ‘Golden Gully’. He also began contributing to his mother’s newspaper, ‘The Republican’. In the following three years, he published several more verses, including “Andy’s Gone with Cattle” and “Faces in the Street,” establishing himself as a poet.
In 1891, the youthful poet worked for 7-8 months for the journal ‘Boomerang’ before leaving. He also wrote and edited for The Worker, a Brisbane newspaper established by journalist William Lane. He was declined for the position of editor at ‘The Australian Worker’ in Sydney. Lawson continued to submit poetry to Sydney’s ‘The Bulletin’ on a regular basis. In 1892, the magazine sponsored the poet’s journey to New South Wales, where he found work in an oil field at the Toorale Station.
In addition, he discovered that the image of lush vegetation portrayed in poems about the state of New South Wales was a myth, and the region was in fact extremely arid. This resulted in the ‘Bulletin Debate,’ during which Henry’s poem ‘Up the Country’ was published in the magazine on July 9, 1892. As a response, another well-known poet, Banjo Paterson, composed the poem “In Defense of the Bush,” and the debate persisted.
The Billy Boils, a collection of Lawson’s prose intended as a prolongation of his debate with poet Paterson was published in 1896. The prolific author was also well-known for his “sketch stories,” a genre in which the plot is exceedingly thin or even nonexistent. On the Edge of a Plain is his most well-known work in this genre.
In 1898, he was also a member of the ‘Dawn and Dusk Club’, where writers gathered to drink and converse. From 1900-02, the accomplished writer wrote several short stories like ‘Over the Sliprails’, ‘On the Track’, ‘The Loaded Dog’, and ‘A Child in the Dark, and a Foreign Father’. In addition, he published poetry collections such as “Verses, Popular and Humorous” and “My Army, O My Army! and Other Songs.”
In 1903, Lawson’s life was so impoverished that he moved into a chamber at North Sydney’s “Coffee Palace.” Mrs. Isabel Byers, who owned the inn, became close friends with the author and did everything she could to assist him financially and continue publishing his works. During 1904-1908, Henry continued to write and publish works such as “Joe Wilson,” “When I Was King,” “The Romance of the Swag,” and “Send Round the Hat.”
In 1908, the brilliant author composed “One Hundred and Three,” a poem describing his time spent in the Australian prison known as “Darlinghurst Gaol.” The prison was where he was detained after his wife filed charges against him for not paying child support and alcoholism. From 1909 to 1919, Lawson’s works including ‘The Skyline Riders and Other Verses’ and ‘For Australia and Other Poems’ were published, among others.
Major Opera of Henry
‘The Drover’s Wife’ is the most renowned of this author’s countless short stories. The story effectively addresses a person’s emotions, particularly the sensation of loneliness. This story is included in the curriculum of numerous colleges and has been adapted for the screen and stage.
Personal History and Legacy
Henry married Bertha Marie Louise Bredt, the daughter of a prominent feminist with the same name, in 1896. The relationship, though unhappy and brief, produced two offspring for the couple: Joseph and Bertha. Throughout his later years, the author struggled against his abject destitution and alcoholism. Mrs Isabel Byers, his landlady, was a tremendous aid to him in this struggle. In 1922, the renowned Australian author died of a cerebral hemorrhage at Mrs. Byer’s home in the Sydney suburb of Abbotsford.
He was the first individual in New South Wales to receive a state funeral. The service was attended by the seventh Prime Minister, Billy Hughes, and a number of citizens. Later, he was interred at Waverley Cemetery in Sydney’s Bronte suburbs.
This celebrated author’s native Australia has honored him in a variety of methods. In 1927, the “Henry Lawson Memorial Committee” commissioned artist George Washington Lambert to create a bronze statue of the poet for ‘The Domain’, an open space of land located in Sydney. In 1949, this prominent Australian author was featured on a postage stamp. In 1966, his image also appeared on the first Australian ten-dollar bill printed on paper.
Estimated Net Worth
Henry is one of the wealthiest Australian novelists. Henry Lawson has a net worth of $5 million, according to our analysis of Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.
Jack Mitchell, Joe Wilson, and Dave Regan are among the characters who frequently appear in this famous Australian author’s poems and short stories.