June 11 - 17, 2017: Issue 316
Henry Lawson: A Manly Bard and Poet
in his 150th birthday Year
THE BARDS WHO LIVED AT MANLY
As recent as 1915 a pathetic figure presented itself at a military depot to enlist for the war. It was Henry Lawson. He was rejected, of course, but wrote pathetically:
They say in all kindness, I'm out of the hunt, Too old and too deaf to be sent to the front. A scribbler of stories, a maker of songs, To the fireside and armchair my valour belongs, Yet in hopeless campaigns and in bitterest strife I have been at the front all the days of my life. Oh, your girl feels a princess, your people are proud, As you march down the street to the cheers of the crowd ; And the nation's behind you and cloudless your sky, And you come back to honour or gloriously die; But for each thing that brightens, and each thing that cheers, I have starved in the trenches these forty long years. Henry Lawson Memorial: Unveiled in Outer Domain (1931, August 6). The Catholic Press (Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1942), , p. 16. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article103850564
THE TRACK. (By Roderic Quinn.)
THE other day I met Henry Lawson in George-street, and during our talk together, he quoted these lines — 'When many a foot was on the mountains Marching West to the Land of Gold.' He asked whether I remembered them, and I said I did, although I had not recalled them for many years. They belonged to than I care to remember, and published in the Sydney 'Freeman's Journal.' To the same paper — a Christmas issue -Lawson contributed one early effort. I confess, to my shame, that I do not remember one line of Lawson’s poem, but then I have not Lawson's memory, which is not the least feature of his unique genius. Afterwards, when he had left me and- gone: his way us happy as a child,* the lines- he had quoted set me thinking of old times,' so that for a moment or two it seemed that it was the present was far- off, and not the past. For that moment or two I was back again in the Sydney of the digger and the convict roadmaker. I went back to the time when George Street, now thronged with its many men and women, was a track that wound its way over ridge and hollow, through and beyond. Obedient to an impulse- in keeping with the mind of the hour, and indifferent to all things else, I followed George Street for a great piece of its distance, as far almost as the University. But all the time I walked, as I put block after block behind me, I was vaguely thinking that it was not George Street 'at all that I was following, but the bullock-track of long ago.' …THE TRACK. (1920, January 16). The Gundagai Times and Tumut, Adelong and Murrumbidgee District Advertiser (NSW : 1868 - 1931), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article123485627
From Album 'Photographs of Henry Lawson in North Sydney including his former residence, 1922 (three weeks prior to his death) Image No.: a6161011h courtesy State Library of NSW
IT WAS old Jerry Brown,
Who'd an office in town,
And he used to get jocular, very;
And he'd go to the Shore
When they'd serve him no more,
And, of course, by the passenger ferry,
A sight on the passenger ferry.
Now this is a song of the ferry,
And a lay of the juice of the berry;
'Tis the ballad of Brown,
Who'd a business in town,
And commenced to go down
Don't you know?
By coming home just a bit merry.
By the Drunks' Boat-that's right-
On a Saturday night
He would often be past being merry;
With his back teeth afloat,
On the twelve o'clock boat,
And a spectacle there on the ferry
(A picture to all on the ferry).
In the mornings, ashamed-
'Twas the last drink he blamed,
Though the first was the matter with Jerry,
With his nerve out of joint,
He'd sneak down to Blue's Point,
And he'd cross by the horse-and-cart ferry,
Like a thief-by the horse-and-cart ferry.
But long before night
He'd most likely be tight,
And a subject and theme for George Perry;
And he'd cross to the Shore,
Somewhat worse than before,
And a nuisance to all on the ferry;
Singing-drunk on the passenger ferry.
And so it went on
Till his reason seemed gone,
And the Law, so it seemed, got a derry
On Brown. He went down,
And they sent him to town
One day, by "the trap," on the ferry-
The Government trap on the ferry.
He was sober and sane
When he came back again,
And the past he'd determined to bury-
Or, I mean, live it down-
And he crossed from the town
Like a man, on the passenger ferry.
(There were sceptical souls on that ferry.)
They say 'twas the jaw
Of his mother-in-law
Drove him back to the juice of the berry;
But he soon got afloat
On the passenger boat
Or adrift on the horse-and-cart ferry
(Wrongly called the ve-hic-ular ferry).
The drink had him fast,
And he drank till at last
He dried up-a withered old cherry;
And they thought him no loss
When they sent him across
In a box, on the cart-and-horse ferry-
In a low, covered trap on the ferry.
Which I rise to explain--
If the moral ain't plain,
And if you're a cove that gets merry--
Always stick, when "afloat,"
To the passenger boat;
Or else to the cart-and-horse ferry,
Or you'll make matters worse, like old Jerry.
But this is the song of the ferry,
And the lay of the juice of the berry;
And you will not deny-
If you read by-and-bye-
That the casual eye
Of the Tight
At first sight
Misses much in the song of the ferry.
From: Skyline Riders and Other Verses by Henry Lawson
In Full at: http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0607541h.html
THESE are songs of the Friends I neglected--
And the Foes, too, in part;
These are songs that were mostly rejected--
But songs from my heart.
From Album 'Photographs of Henry Lawson in North Sydney including his former residence, 1922 (three weeks prior to his death) photographed by Phillip Harris'. Image a6161013, courtesy State Library of NSW.
On the Horse Ferry to Blues Point - photograph by Phillip L Harris, 1922 (three weeks prior to his death), From Album 'Photographs of Henry Lawson in North Sydney including his former residence, 1922 Image No.: a6176022h courtesy State Library of NSW
Back of Photograph reads;"In this house Lawson did a great deal of work. It is situated in North Sydney and the photograph was taken by Phillip L Harris three weeks before Lawson's death."
From Album 'Photographs of Henry Lawson in North Sydney including his former residence, 1922 Image No.: a6161005h courtesy State Library of NSW
He died of cerebral haemorrhage, a second stroke, at Abbotsford on Sunday the 2nd of September 1922, in the afternoon and while sitting in Isabella Byer 's backyard garden according to some sources. Records from those who knew Henry, who were there the year we lost him, run below under Extras. What needs to be remember is that he was the first person outside of officials to be given a State Funeral. The service was held on September 4th, 1922, a Tuesday - this article includes some words from his daughter Bertha:
HENRY LAWSON. STATE FUNERAL. IMPRESSIVE SERVICE
They'll take the golden sliprails down, And let poor Corney in.
With those words, culled from one of the works of the late poet, Archdeacon D'Arcy Irvine concluded a touching address on the life of Henry Lawson at St. Andrew's Cathedral yesterday afternoon. It was in the course of one of the simplest yet most impressive services heard in the Cathedral, at which were present not only an overflowing gathering of people of all stations in life, but representatives of vice-royalty, the Commonwealth and State Governments, the judiciary, and the professional and business life of the city. It was the opening stage of a remarkable tribute paid by the State and its people to the memory of the late poet.
The mortal remains of the late Henry Lawson were lying in state at the mortuary chapel from early morning until noon, and in that time hundreds of people — personal friends for the most part — filed past to have a last glance at his face. Shortly after noon the casket was removed to St. Andrew's Cathedral, where again there was a continuous procession of mourners until the service commenced at 2.15 p.m. Some time before the commence-ment of the service, however, every seat in the great building had been occupied. The Lieutenant-Governor (Sir William Cullen) sat in one of the front pews, and near him were the Prime Minister and Ministers of both Federal and State Governments. And freely sprinkled among the others who crowded into the seats were men whose dress proclaimed that they had left their benches for an hour to pay a tribute to the man who knew them and whom they knew.
Upon the casket, as it lay in the Cathedral, lay a simple bunch of native roses, and about it lay a spray of gum leaves, a cluster of glowing wattle, and some bush ferns. On either side of the choir stalls, and before the altar rails, were dozens of magnificent wreaths, but it was by a peculiarly happy thought that the simple bush flowers which Lawson loved should have had pride of place.
Speaking with marked feeling, Archdeacon D'Arcy Irvine said: "I have just a few simple words to say, for he was himself a man of simplicity. We have met to bury the body of Henry Lawson. The community has long found pleasure in his writings, and as a recognition of the merit of his work has given him a high and enduring place among Australian writers and poets. Credit is due to the Commonwealth and State authorities for their official recognition also, and for the inclusion of his name, in the days of his declining health, in the civil list of Australia.
"I think he is placed with Kendall and Gordon as the most widely known of Australian poets. As yet we are not a large community, but in the years to come we will have an Australia of 50,000,000 or 60,000,000 people instead of our five millions at present, and writers and literary men in those years to come will study with interest the work of the earlier writers. I think that even then the human note of Henry Lawson will still be heard in the land. He rests from his labours. As I conclude on that note some words of his come into my mind — "They'll take the golden sliprails down, and let poor Corney in."
After the playing of Chopin's Funeral March, the beautiful "Rock of Ages" was sung by the choir with remarkably fine effect. As the last few notes of the organ drifted into silence the congregation stood still for several minutes, the only sound being the audible emotion of many people in all parts of the Cathedral.
So dense was the crowd in George-street when the casket was borne out to the waiting hearse that it was some time before all the mourners could find their way to their carriages. As the cortege moved off, with troopers at its head, the Police Band, which preceded the hearse, played the Dead March in "Saul." The remarkable demonstration of public sympathy was not confined to the city streets, where for a time traffic was held up to allow the funeral to pass. As it passed through Paddington, Bondi Junction, and Waverley people lined both sides of the route almost continuously, and here and there groups of school children on their way home stood bareheaded at the kerb.
Funeral of the late Henry Lawson (Australia's Poet), Image No.: 70211634, courtesy State Library of Victoria
There were several hundred people waiting at the graveside in Waverley Cemetery, before the funeral arrived. As the poet's remains were lowered into the grave in which Kendall was first buried, Archdeacon D'Arcy Irvine read the burial service, which concluded with the playing, by the Police Band, of "Abide With Me."
The chief mourners and relatives present were: — Mrs. Henry Lawson (widow), Miss Bertha and Mr. James Lawson (children), Mrs. G. O.'Connor (sister), Mr. Peter Lawson and Mr. Charles Lawson (brothers), Messrs. J. O'Connor, J. Lloyd, S. Lawson, and P. Lawson (nephews), Miss Edith Lawson (niece), Mrs. Byers, Mrs. G. Falkiner, Mr. E. Albury, Mr. and Mrs. R. Stear, Mr. and Mrs. W. Gifford, Mrs. E. Albury, Messrs. E. W. Albury, J. H. J. Albury, A. H. Albury, H. Albury, F. Brooks, Mrs. E. Brooks, Miss M. Albury, and Miss Beryl Albury.
Vice-Royalty was represented by the Lieu-tenant-Governor, Sir William Cullen, and the Federal Government by the Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes), the Treasurer (Mr. Bruce), the Minister for Repatriation (Mr. Lamond), the Assistant Minister for Defence (Sir Granville Ryrie), and Major Marr, Mr. W. Mahony, and Mr. W. H. Lambert, Ms.P., and Sir Robert Garran, Commonwealth Solicitor-General.
The Premier was represented by Mr. Clifford Hay, permanent head of the Premier's Department, and members of the State Parliament present were the Attorney-General (Mr. Bavin) representing the Government, the Minister for Education (Mr. Bruntnell), the leader of the Opposition (Mr. Dooley), and Messrs. J. T. Lang, C. Murphy, W. Dunn, J. Jackson, T. D. Mutch, W. J. O'Brien, and A. Grimm, Ms.L.A. The Lord Mayor was represented by the Deputy Town Clerk, Mr. W. G. Layton. Mr. Justice Ferguson represented the Judiciary. Those present on behalf of the University of Sydney included Professors MacCallum, Holme, and J. le Gay Brereton, and Messrs. W. A. Selle and H. M. Green.
There was a large attendance both at the graveside and at the Cathedral of the late poet's literary friends and colleagues and representatives of various newspapers. They included Messrs. Adam McCay (president, Institute of Journalists), Howard Knapp (president, Australian Journalists' Association), L. S. Brooks (secretary), H. Burston (president), and R. Evans (Press Club), W. McLeod, W. T. Albert, and K. Prior ("Bulletin"), Miss Jean Williamson and Mr. A. P. Cooper ("The Sydney Morning Herald"), W. Farmer Whyte, P. E. Quinn, A. H. Hauptmann, W. J. O'Neill, E. Furley, J. Holland, H. Hall, J. Rolfe, and O. Lind ("Daily Telegraph"), A. H. Adams ("Sun"), R. N. Carrington ("Age"), M. J. Shanahan ("Daily Mail"), Gordon Bennett ("Farmer and Settler"), C. J. Haynes and G. Finey ("Smith's Weekly"), P. Harris and H. Mercer ("Aussie"), W. Jago ("Fair Play"), R. R. F. Hill ("Theatre Magazine"), J. Hinchcliffe ("Worker"), D. H. Souter ("Stock and Station Journal"), Roderic Quinn, Mrs. Mary Gilmore, G. Hawkesley and C. H. Utting.
Scene at Henry Lawson's funeral, Waverley Cemetery, Sydney - by Charles William Lawson. From Album 'Photographs of Henry Lawson's funeral, Waverley Cemetery, 1922 and various residences', Image No.:a6134001h, courtesy State Library of NSW.
Others either at the Cathedral or the grave-side included Messrs. J. Mitchell (Inspector General of Police), G. Robertson (chairman of directors Angus and Robertson), F. Weymark, S. McCure, J. Brodie and H. Ritchie (Angus and Robertson), A. E. Southern (N.S.W. Book-stall), E. P. Walker, D. F. Dwyer, Father J. M. Curran, J. A. Ferguson, S. W. Ridley, W. Ridley, H. J. Keenan, M. J. Dunphy, J. T. Sheehan, Maurice Walsh, T. J. Swiney, C. N. G. Kobsch, Chas. Collins, S. Hickey, J. Earle Herman, W. Freame (Royal Historical Society), P. P. McDonagh, D. Green, H. Mahoney, Dr. A. Burne (Millions Club), A. Vernon (United Labourers' Union), A. Fry, D. R. Hanby, G. Barry, Brother Wilbred (St. Joseph's College), H. E. Koch (W. H. Thompson and Co.), E. Bourne, J. R. Tyrrell, G. Tyrrell, W. Rowley, L. Ormsby, W. Carey (general secretary A.L.P.), J. Andrews, ex-Senator McDougall, J. Tyrrell (Municipal Em-ployees' Association), A. J. Macaulay, Senator Gardiner, W. C. Crawford (president Ad. Men's Club), E. R. Grayndler, M.L.C., ex- Senator Barnes, N. McPhee (A.W.U.), R. Dennis, W. R. Beaver, W. J. Phillips, G. Free-man, Walter Mahony, W. Eury, ex-Senator Grant, Alderman M. Burke, and G. C. Corff.
Messrs. W. H. B. Caggart (Premier's Department), H. W. H. Huntington, A. Cawardine, J. Waugh, J. Hay, F. Campbell, A. P. Morris (Ad. Men's Institute), J. Christie, J. M. Power, M.L.C. (president A.L.P.), W. J. Hendry (general secretary Teachers' Federation), P. McGarry, E. P. McGarry, F. Bryant, M.L.C., C. T. Burfitt (president Royal Historical Society), J. P. Jones, A. H. Newman, E. H. Blunder, Rev. G. Cowie, C. Cutts, W. Owen, W E. Chidgey (Master Builders' Association), T. Graham Wilson, J. M. Costello, F. Brown, W. F. L. Stratford, J. G. Lockley, and J. Lethbridge King.
The following were amongst those who sent floral tributes: — The Prime Minister (Mr. W. M. Hughes), Bombala branch Teachers' Federation, Forest Lodge Public School, Lawrence Campbell, Sydney Press Club, "The Worker" trustees, Lieut. A. Shepherd, Mrs. Bertram Stevens, Jack Waugh, Angus and Robertson, Ltd., pupils Infants' School, Forest Lodge, Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Gocher and family, officers of the Public Library, Tyrells, Ltd., Arncliffe Public School, Adam McCay, proprietors and staff "Evening News," "Sunday News," and "Women's Budget," "Some Fellow Australians," Pambula branch Teachers' Federation, Mr. and Miss Foy, A. E. Southern, "Sun-day Times," R. R. F. Hill, the Commonwealth Government, the literary staff of the "Daily Telegraph," Australian Journalists' Association, directors "Smith's Weekly," N.S.W. Institute of Journalists, Mr. Harris, pupils Mars-field Public School, Beaumont Smith, H. D. McIntosh, M.L.C., literary staff "Daily Mail," the New South Wales Government, John Dalley, Australian Journalists' Association Federal executive, the Teachers' Federation. From the members of his immediate family, "With love from mother, Bert and Jim," "From Gertie" (his only sister, Mrs. O'Connor), "A token from the Albury family," his mother's people, and another from "Mother, Alice, and Will;" a tribute of sincere sympathy from "The Faces In the Street," Miss Isabel Ramsay (Paris), "A gentle thought from France," "The Worker" trustees, and the verse: —
We from the mateship of the past
Of grim old fighting days,
We mourn you, at this tragic last. . .
Your life's work is your praise.
R. R. F. Hill, "The Theatre Magazine;" Miss Francess Ross, "Just a little token in grateful remembrance for 'Joe Wilson and his Mates';" a mass of wattle, with the inscription "To Henry, from his old mate, Tom Mutch;" Mrs. Mary Gilmore, "The Worker" newspaper; Phillip Harris, "Aussie;" and an unnamed tribute running, "For the grave of Henry Lawson, from some fellow Australians."
Miss Bertha Lawson, daughter of the late Mr. Henry Lawson, said last night: — "On behalf of us all I desire to express our sincerest thanks and deepest gratitude to the State and Federal Governments and all the people of Australia for their magnificent tribute to my father's memory. There could be no higher reward for his life's work than that the love and sympathy of a great nation should follow him to rest. All that he himself would have most greatly desired has been done for him by the people of his country, to whom all his gifts of song and story-writing were dedicated; whom he loved so well; and whose lives in happiness and sorrow he so deeply understood. His dearest wish has been fulfilled, that rather than signs of mourning there should be sunshine, music, and flowers, and the good wishes and kindly thoughts of all who knew him. In conclusion, we tender our heartfelt thanks to all for their untold kindnesses, their messages of sympathy, and their beautiful tributes of flowers, and to those all over Australia, in country and town, who loved, admired, and paid their last homage to him. I would like especially to thank the little schoolchildren, whom he loved more than anyone, and who stood along the way to bid him farewell." HENRY LAWSON. STATE FUNERAL. (1922, September 5). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16022883
About ten years ago the late Henry Lawson, Australian poet, made a will, leaving his effects to Mrs. Byers, his housekeeper. The poet's effects included two suits of clothes, an overcoat, necktie, collar-stud, pen, pipe, matchbox, glasses, and other small articles. Last week his sister (Mrs. O'Connor) and Mrs. Byers distributed these trifles as follows: — Pen to Mr. Joe Noonan. Pipe to Mr. Phil Harris. Tin matchbox to Mr. Geo. Robertson. Walking-stick to Mr. J. R. Tyrrell (to be willed by him to the Mitchell Library). Last pencil to the Mitchell Library. Pair of spectacles to Mr. Tom Mutch. Collar stud and necktie, Mr. J. R. Tyrrell. Two packets of tobacco, Mr. Roderick Quinn. Lawson, at any rate, could not very well have died much poorer so far as worldly effects are concerned. LOCAL AND GENERAL NEWS. (1922, September 15). The Richmond River Herald and Northern Districts Advertiser (NSW : 1886 - 1942), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article126128515
That this wonderful man is still read and celebrated is just one marker of all he contributed to Australia and we here, long fans of the man, would just like to take our hats off to you sir, and Thank You - you may not have thought your efforts bore the fruit you wished to place in our hands, but you began and continued a legeacy of us being happy to speak in our own voices of our own selves - and be pretty happy about our efforts!
Hat belonging to Henry Lawson, ca. 1890-1922- Image No.: a128490h, courtesy State Library of NSW.
A note authenticating the ownership of this hat written by Mary Gilmore is filed at PXn 719. It states that the hat was given to Mary Gilmore by Mrs Isabel Byers, Henry Lawson's housekeeper. Nelson Meers Foundation Heritage Collection - 'A living collection'.
References, Notes and Extras
THE MAN AND HIS COUNTRY
By T. D. Mutch, M.L.A.
ONE day in nineteen hundred and— was it two?. ("Damn the date," as he used to write sometimes at the head of his letters), a tall, lean, dark man came to the counter at the old "Worker" office in Kent Street, Sydney, stood, smiled, saluted (recognising in me a new employee), and then impulsively came round the counter, placed his hands on my shoulders, looked long with the deepest eyes I have seen in a man, and said, "You'll do." That was my introduction to Henry Lawson. I was a boy then. He left me wondering why or what or how I would do, and he never told me, but you will allow me to cherish the thought that on that day he enrolled me in the list of his friends. Fifteen years after — 1917 — I stood for Parliament, and Henry, who was then at Leeton — although he disliked politicians, a dislike arising out of a Governmental injustice done to his mother, who had invented a patent mail-bag fastener, and was robbed of the fruits of her labour— wrote a letter to the electors of Botany, wherein he said: "But he has carried his swag with me, and was, and is, the straightest mate I ever had; and made him smoke a pipe — and once got two medium beers into him consecutively. It took me three years to do these things, and now I reckon I ought to have a say in his affairs...."
Back To The Bush
That letter is probably the most unique piece of election literature ever published in Australia, but is too long to be reprinted here. But, long before that, in 1910, a group of his friends gathered together, and decided that Henry should go back to the bush again. We wanted to get him away from the city. We wanted him to rekindle the fire that burned then but fitfully, and with "less flame than ashes." And always Lawson wanted someone to take charge of his affairs. The principal members of that committee were (the late) Bertram Stevens, J Le Gay Brereton, Norman Lilley, Roderic Quinn, J. S. Ryan ("Narranghi Boori"), Fred Brown, Bernard Shaw, Hector Lamond (now M.H.R.), and myself. We arranged for him to go to two or three stations, hoping he would write another "While the Billy Boils", or another "On the Track and Over the Sliprails." but always, at the last moment, he disappointed us. For some time I had been corresponding with E. J. Brady, then, as now, camped at Mallacoota, Victoria, fifteen miles south of Cape Howe, and probably the most beautiful place in Australia. Brady had often invited me to go down and camp there awhile. A happy idea came into my head (a somewhat rare occurrence). I put it to Henry, and he agreed to come away with me. Real Mateship And so, on Friday, February. 25, 1910, I shanghaied him on to the s.s. "Sydney," and at 7 p.m. or thereabouts he and I were standing at the bow as the vessel dipped and ploughed through Sydney Heads and turned on her south-ward course. Somewhat seedy, he said, "I think I'll turn in.” The good ship sailed on Friday, with thirteen men aboard." I can take a hint, and made him as comfortable as anyone can make anyone who wants to be seasick and can't. At Eden, we put up at the Commercial Hotel. Henry promptly made friends with Cooper, who kept it, but I had got in early; he had to drink lemonade, and he enjoyed the joke. Shortly after, I missed him, but I had been to the other hotel, too, and he had to have a second lemonade. I met him half-way up the. street; he put out his arm, more seriously this time, and shook hands without saying a word. From that on everything was in order. Brady met us at Merrimingo, on the Genoa River, with a pulling boat, and insisted on rowing all the way.
We camped with Brady at Mallacoota — swam, fished, shot ducks, rabbits and jam tins. We ate schnapper and wild duck until we 'tired of it, so one day We decided to walk to New South Wales. Brady couldn't come— he was finishing some work — so we rolled our swags, filled our pipes and tucker bags, and set out for Gabo and Cape Howe.
While The Billy Boils '
On that trip, I think I got close to Lawson's heart. He was keen on camping, insisted on rigging the tent, making the fire, and calling baking-powder "saleratus" (after Bret Harte). We had an argument about that, be cause lie. spilt the soda and spoiled the johnny cakes, and blamed ' me. But he forgave me when I shot, and told him I would show him, a brand of snake he had never seen before. Lawson's sense of humour was his personal saving grace. I can remember him building a fire. He had his own ideas about it, and would tolerate no interference. Six years afterwards, I made him wild by telling him that' :he ought to take lessons in making a fire from the actors who produced "While the Billy ' Boils" at the Theatre Royal. They had in the prologue two bushmen boiling a billy; suspended under a cross-piece between two forked sticks. He reckoned the play would' be ruined, because every bushman who went to the theatre would laugh at -that fire. Well, we built our camp at Cape Howe from wreckage and the bones of a stranded whale. When night descended we coiled up on our mattresses of sand, "lulled b. the ocean's rune and wild birds' song." As a man will under those conditions, I woke once or twice in the night. Lawson was standing with his back to the fire, making passes with a pannikin of- tea and a johnny-cake sandwich. Before dawn, we were awakened by Venus, low in the sky, blazing brightly through the open tent door'. ' "Do You Mind The Tent?' ' Oh that lonely trip, Lawson revealed himself to me, and I to him.
Last year, in some verses written to me, and published in "Aussie," he recalled; it. - Do you mind the tent and. camp-fire in the moonlight by Cape Howe? Do you ever pause and ponder were we happier then than now? Yes, of course, we were, 'Twas only one new shore and. one new sea, Marked to meet us and to pass us as THESE times were marked to be. We had both had bitter boyhoods with no tender light or touch ; And you told me half your story— I had lived the rest, 'Tom Mutch, ' Yes, I mind the tent and camp-fire. I mind, too, his story — the first fifteen years in the Roaring Days on Pipeclay; Gulgong, Home Rule; his mother, Louisa Lawson— he called her "the Chieftainess"; his -. father, Peter Hertzberg Larsen worked with father in the bush, At splitting rails and palings, He never was unkind to me, although he had his failings. He left a tidy sum to me, But I'd give all the. Money to hear him say, 'Will you get up? ' And boil the billy, Sonny?"
His sister, Annetta (he called, her Henrietta sometimes), whose death inspired his mother to write her first published lines; his sister, Gertrude, his brothers, Peter arid Charlie; his old home at' the foot of Golden Gully — the drought and the "poorer" that drove his father from it; house building and painting at Mount Victorian—where his father died; his struggles In the city in the eighties — the haggard- group out side the "Herald" office at 4. o'clock' in the morning, striking matches to scan the "Wanted" columns; his excitement when his first verse was published; the guinea he got for "Faces, in the. Street"; his job on the Brisbane "Boomerang" (You'll read his story in "The Cambaroora Star"), his trip to Bourke— he "picked up", at Toorale shearing shed, and humped his drum to Hungerford ; "Mitchell" — there was a man named Mitchell, but the character, in his books covers many men;, his first book, "Short Stories in Prose and: Verse," published by his mother, price one shilling (he was very excited when I told him I had a copy; it was printed at the "Dawn"; office— which his mother founded and ran for 20 years — and on the way to the binders the best part of the edition was blown- out of the cart into -York Street, which had just been watered, and only 300 copies were saved); his trip to New Zealand, where his son, Jim, was . born. Yes, I mind the tent and camp-fire, and I wish I could remember it all. Back to Boyhood And then , there was the time (1914) when, he went with me to revisit " the scenes of his boyhood at Eurunderee, little changed in the passage of years: The creek, that I can ne'er , forget, Its destiny fulfils; . The glow of sunrise purples yet, Along, the Mudgee hills; The flats and sidings seem to be ' Unchanged by "Mudgee town. And with the same old song and sigh The Cudgegong goes down. We wandered over the mullock heaps in Golden Gully, discovered by Henry Hill and John Wurth, who were stripping wattle and who, dipping a billy in a water-hole, noticed the yellow glint of gold in the red clay. They stripped no more bark for many a day. This discovery attracted Pater Larsen, a miner-carpenter, who had been working on the goldfields in Victoria, and Henry Albury, a sawyer-bushman from Guntawang. And Peter met Henry's daughter, Louisa— he was about 20 years older than she — married her, and, with that fickleness characteristic of the alluvial diggers in the early days, took her to the new rush at the Weddin Mountains, Grenfell, where, in a tent, Henry was born. What Should Be Done? He was christened. Henry Archibald, not Hertzberg, Larsen. It was In tended to call him Hertzberg, after his father, but the clergyman made a mistake, and his mother let it go at that. Back again, later,by Gulgong, when Gulgong "broke out," and then, after many wanderings, to settle down in a home his father had built at Eurunderee."
Well, I went over all that ground with Lawson; went over Log Paddock; Ross Farm, Buckholt's Gate, Pipeclay, Home, Rule (When he revisited the old dilapidated town, he scratched his head and said, "They ought to have given it to Ireland., long ago."), Reedy River, Mount Buckaroo and. all the rest of them- — immortalised in his best work. I knew him twenty years, lived with him in bush and .town, and in those years spent as much time with', him as any other man has ever, done— and now I reckon I ought to have a say in his affairs. And what I have to say is this:
We want no sham nor shoddy biography of the greatest literary .genius Australia has produced. We want no half lies and legends about him. Most of those who knew Lawson still live; what they know can, and should, be written now. If the stories told in the coaches as we followed Henry to his grave could be gathered into a volume we'd have a more truthful story of Lawson, the man, than all the literary rubbish yet to be written by men who never saw the bottom of a long beer with him. What I would ask is that the Mitchell Library should acquire, by gift or purchase, all the Lawsonia available — notes, letters, manuscripts, unpublished and unrevised reminiscences written by those who know, so that at a suitable time Lawson's relatives, friends, and old mates may meet together and decide upon his biographer. This much should be done for Lawson's and Australia's sake. What do you say? LAWSON (1922, September 16). Smith's Weekly (Sydney, NSW : 1919 - 1950), p. 10. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article234281754
Practical Poetry. E. J. Grady building his home at Mallacoota West. THE WITCHERY OF MALLACOOTA. (1919, March 26). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article159656523
HENRY LAWSON MEMORIAL. Obelisk Unveiled.
GRENFELL, (N.S.W.), Friday. — The unveiling of a memorial to the late Henry Lawson, erected on the spot where he was born, 57 years ago, was performed before a very large gathering of people, including 400 school children. Mr. Grimm, M.L.A., who unveiled the memorial, said that he had been acquainted with the poet at the age of 17. He asked the school children to learn Lawson's poems because they were Australia's history, the history of the bush. Mr. Grimm quoted poem after poem. Great cheering fol-lowed the unveiling, the band played "Home, Sweet Home," and a trumpeter sounded the "Last Post."
Mrs. Lawson, widow of the poet, and Miss Lawson, daughter, thanked the Grenfell folk of their kindness. Old residents who knew Henry Lawson's father were introduced to Mrs. Lawson. Five gum trees were planted around the obelisk which is 14ft. 6in. in height, and 2,000 photographs of Henry Lawson were distributed.
The miners' display which followed was highly interesting. Shafts were sunk and "wash dirt" obtained. The white prospectors flag was changed to the reg flag of gold, and 50 miners scrambled to "peg out," just as the rushers did 60 years ago. Dishes and cradles were worked, and the results showed a reef, which was uncovered and specimens "dollied." Old miners revelled in the work. HENRY LAWSON MEMORIAL. (1924, March 22). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 30. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1907273
THE HENRY LAWSON MEMORIAL
Which was unveiled in the presence of a large gathering, including the poet's wife (right) and daughter (left of monument). "Back to Grenfell":
Back to Grenfell - A Week of Celebrations (1924, March 26). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938), p. 16. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166151284
The Bard of Grenfell
(Henry Lawson.: 1867-1922)
On a day reminiscent of the cold wet and windy, night on which Australia’s bard was born near the old diggers' cemetery at Grenfell, there was a pilgrimage to the birthplace where, in 1924 a memorial was unveiled in honor of the Grenfell poet. This pilgrimage was on Friday last.
Writing to us some years prior to the unveiling ceremony Henry Lawson informed the writer that in some verse which appeared in 'The Buletin' about nine years previously, appeared these lines — 'You were born on Grenfell goldfield— And you can't get over that.' . The letter now is in the Mitchell Library, but we have a photostat, and Lawsons' signature to that, and the one which appeared on the stamp issues appropriately on Friday are exact. In his opening remarks the Mayor stated that he had been informed that Lawson came back to Grenfell when he was about thirteen years of age and worked on the Bimbi road about three miles out. It is the first time, we have heard that Lawson ever came back to the district of his birth, and an authentic statement to this effect would be of local and historical importance. ..
MESSAGE FROM BERTHA LAWSON.
It is most gratifying to know that the memory of my late husband, Henry Lawson is being honored by the citizens of Grenfell on the 82nd anniversary of his birth. In honoring Henry Lawson you are honoring Australian literature which is steadily becoming a strong influence in this country. In this connection I am delighted to know that the children are participating in these ceremonies, as it is through them that the torch of Australian art will be carried into the future. The pioneering days of Australia are passing, but they will always be kept alive as vivid memories through the work's of Henry Lawson and other writers who are following in the track which he blazed so long ago. I congratulate you in honoring Australia's writer, and my greatest regret is that owing to indifferent health I am unable to be present on this great occasion. I have happy memories of the schools which I visited on the unveiling of the obelisk in Grenfell to Lawson's memory, and I feel that just as Stratford-on-Avon has become a shrine to lovers, of William Shakespeare, so will Grenfell be the shrine to Henry Lawson’s memory. The Bard of Grenfell (1949, June 20). The Grenfell Record and Lachlan District Advertiser (NSW : 1876 - 1951), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article113436912
Henry Lawson Memorial: Unveiled in Outer Domain
In the presence of about 3000 people, at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, 28th ult., his Excellency the Governor, Sir Philip Game, unveiled in the Outer Domain the statue (or, to be accurate, the group) which his admirers (chiefly the school children) caused to be erected to the memory of Henry Lawson.
The Lord Mayor of Sydney, Alderman Jackson, M.L.A., presided, and with him on the platform was a gathering of representative citizens, including the Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Dunn), Mr. T. E. Bavin (leader of the Opposition), Sir Daniel Levy, M.L.A., Dean Talbot, Mr. Ifould (Government Librarian), and other members of the Lawson Memorial Committee; Mrs. Lawson (widow), Miss Bertha Lawson and Mr. Jim Lawson (daughter and son), and Mrs. J. T. Lang (wife of the Premier, and Lawson's sister-in-law). His Parliamentary duties prevented the Premier himself from being present. Seated round the platform were many members of the Fellowship of Australian Writers, among them being Mrs. Gilmore, Bod. Quinn, Steele Kudd (A. B. Davis), Jim Grahame, and other old-time friends and companions of the poet, not a few of them from the bush, including Mr. James Dooley, who was Premier of N.S.W. when Lawson died. Official Addresses. When introducing his Excellency the Governor, the Lord Mayor, commenting on the gifts of vivid depiction of everyday life which Lawson possessed, said it was a vexed question whether Lawson would be remembered by his prose (short stories) or his poetry. Time alone would tell. Adverting to the newspaper controversy over the choice of the site for tho monument, the temptation to compare Lawson with Burns could not be resisted. The palpable invidiousness of such comparisons did not seem apparent to the Lord Mayor.
Except insofar as 'The colonel's lady and Judy O'Grady are sisters under the skin, as a pioneer Australian writer, Lawson worked in totally different media from that of Bums. And either in quality or quantity of achievement, the bard of Mudgee was not comparable with Scotland's poet. So why compare them at all? Lawson was big enough to stand on his own merits as a writer; and to compare him with Burns or any other Olympian is manifestly unfair to Lawson. If they could not appreciate him for his own intrinsic worth, better to leave him unread. When declaring the statue unveiled, the blustery wind having anticipated him and unrobed the group, a circumstance to which he humorously referred, his Excellency said it was well that Australians, and especially the children, commemorated our gifted men. The life that Lawson knew and so admirably depicted was fast disappearing; and it was gratifying to know that in his verse and in his prose Lawson had left a legacy which future generations would find pleasure and profit in.
Unveiling Lawson statue, 1931,by Sam Hood. Image No.: a215027, from Hood Collection part II : [City streets and scenes: including streetscapes, labour processions, military parades and memorials, statues and Cenotaph], courtesy State Library of NSW. The Statue was designed by George Lambert and is of the poet, a swagman and his dog and a fencepost. Lawson’s son Jim posed for the figure of Lawson, and the model for the swagman was Conrad von Hagen with alliterating, according to some sources, to St John in Rodin’s St John the Baptist preaching 1878–80, in Lawson's pose by the creator, and Rodin’s best known work, The thinker 1880, in the swagman.
Commenting on the beauty of the site, which is indeed a happy choice, the Governor said that if the shade of Lawson ever descended from Elysium to visit the Domain, it would be so charmed with the location — the thickly-foliaged surrounding trees, the lovely harbour view and all — that it would be reluctant to return. A youth named Hauptmann recited Lawson 's fine verses, 'Waratah and Wattle,' and after relating the difficulties which, the committee had to overcome, and paying a compliment to the memory of Lambert, the sculptor, Mr. Ifould, who had taken the chair on the departure of the Lord Mayor on civic business, thanked the Governor for his presence and his interest. The proceedings then closed.
HENRY LAWSON: IN MEMORIAM.
Now, who may tell as he with skill
The story of bush days,
Bring back to us the memories
Of strange, yet homely, ways,
In book to which the perfume cleaves
From spray of gum between the leaves?
Where'er the billy boils to-day,
A man awaits his mate,
And wonders, watching by the fire,
What keeps that mate so late;
Thinks he must soon a footstep hear
Come down the rough track running near.
The furthest outback settlement
To him lays friendly claim.
He wrote about its daily life,
And so it shares his fame;
Bid Harry Lawson time o' day.
His portrait, for Australia's sake,
Hangs on Art Gall'ry's wall,
And bush folk, coming down to town,
Are free to make a call,
In spirit speak with him again
By Wombat Creek, or One-Tree Plain.
An Appreciation. BY M.P.T. Australia's best-loved poet was born in 18*7, he was 55 years old at the time of his death, and except for a short time spent in England and New Zealand, he lived all his life in the land of his birth. His father was a Norseman, and his mother an Englishwoman, of Gipsy extraction. To her he owed his love of literature and his poetical inspiration. He was born in a tent at Grenfell (N.S.W.) , and spent his boyhood days on the goldfields with his father. He was afterwards stockrider, rouseabout, boundary-rider, shearer, swaggie, and coachbuilder.
Sang With the Soul of an Australian.
He was the first poet to sing of his land with tho soul of an Australian. Kendall, whom he loved, was an Australian by birth, but borrowed much from England and other lands. Gordon was not an Australian. Both missed by an aggravating margin the atmosphere of Australian life, but Lawson, with the inspiration of genius, caught it, and held it fast. Not one word by Lawaon is un-Australian, and every picture he painted and every character he drew can be seen to-day in the backblocks. He communed with the soul of our nation, and her whisperings he delivered to the world. He will never die, though we are too close to his time to view his worth in true perspective. That much of his verse is crude is true, but, like the Australian character, it is frank, direct, and soul-stirring. His gems he often failed to polish, but they are true gems for all that. The cruder his words, the truer they are, for he wrote of crude things, and fitted his pen for its task. He commenced writing about the age of 21, and had his poems published in many Australian papers. At the suggestion of Angus and Robertson, he collected his works into book form, both prose and poetry — 'On the Track and Over the Sliprails,' 'Verses Popular and Humorous,' 'When the World Was Wide,' 'Joe Wilson and His Mates,' 'When I Was King,' 'Children of the Bush,' &c. What He Looked lake. In later times Henry might be met in the streets of Sydney, a tall, lank figure, smoking a long, lank pipe, with stray lank wisps of hair under an old brown hat. Ho was a child of nature, as gentle as ho ought to be. His soft, brown eyes invited you to talk to him, and his low-pitched, mellow voice won you. He had the quiet, subdued speech of the very deaf, but his eyes twinkled like stars. The writer recalls many a conversation with Henry at his Latin quarters in Bathurst-street and Sussex-street, and left him always with a great love. On one occasion, Henry was unsteadily lighting his pipe, and a Chinese fruiterer, standing by, held a match in his cupped hands for him. 'Ah,' said Henry, looking up at him with soft, beaming eyes, 'the light of Asia.'
His Humour and Pathos.
On a more recent occasion, two Sydney priests, friends of his, met him on a street corner, and engaged in familiar chat with him. In the interval of lighting his pipe, they talked to each other of the possibility of securing a pension for him. It must have been the roar and rattle of the trams that made his deafness cease for an instant. Looking up over the lighted match, he murmured: Three men met at the corner of a street, As three men often do; One was a priest, the other a priest, And tho third had no money, too. The humour of his writings is irresistible, and the pathos clutches the heart. His first effort was 'Faces in tho Street,' sent to the 'Bulletin,' when, he was 21 years old. Its immediate success astonished him. He was surprised to think that he could write verse that interested readers. The following is an extract from that first poem:
They lie, the men who tell us, for reasons of their own,
That want is here a stranger, and that misery's unknown,
For where the nearest suburb and the city proper meet
My window sill is level with the faces in the street,
Drifting past, drifting past,
To the beat of weary feet —
While I sorrow for the owners of those faces in the street.
'I Have Starved in the Trenches These Forty Long Years.'
Many predicted that his inspiration was morbid and meteoric. It could not last, they said. As recent as 1915 a pathetic figure presented itself at a military depot to enlist for the war. It was Henry Lawson. He was rejected, of course, but wrote pathetically:
They say in all kindness, I'm out of the hunt, Too old and too deaf to be sent to the front. A scribbler of stories, a maker of songs, To the fireside and armchair my valour belongs, Yet in hopeless campaigns and in bitterest strife I have been at the front all the days of my life. Oh, your girl feels a princess, your people are proud, As you march down the street to the cheers of the crowd ; And the nation's behind you and cloudless your sky, And you come back to honour or gloriously die; But for each thing that brightens, and each thing that cheers, I have starved in the trenches these forty long years.
The Poet of the Shearing Shed.
He is the poet of the shearing shed. Nobody can paint a scene as Lawson painted it. Not a word too many, not a word too few. But you must have seen the shearing shed to realise all this if with eyes of the body you have never seen the fleece clipped off the sheep huddled in the pens, the shorn sheep shoved down the shoots, then with the eyes of the imagination the scene is yours. It would not be truer to life than the words of Lawson make it:
Roof of corrugated iron, six foot above the shoots; Whiz and rattle and vibration, like an endless chain of trams, Blasphemy of five and forty — prickly heat and stink of rams I Barcoo leaves his pen-door open, and the sheep come bucking out; When the rouser goes to pen them Barcoo blasts the rouseabout; Injury with insult added, trial of our cursing powers— Cursed and cursing back enough to damn a dozen worlds like ours; 'Take my combs down to the grinder,' 'Seen my (something) cattle pup I' 'There's a crawler down in my shoot — just slip through and pick it up.' 'Give the office when the boss comes,' 'catch that gory ram, old man;' 'Count the sheep in my pen, will you!' 'Fetch my combs back when you can,' 'When you get a chance, old fellow, will you pop down to the hut? Fetch my pipe — the cook'll show you — and I'll lot you have a cut.' Have you ever been in a shearing shod before the ladies come down from the house, and while the ladies are there? You can appreciate Lawson 's humour when he tells you about it: 'The ladies are coming,' the super said To the shearers sweltering there, And 'the ladies' mean in the shearing shed: 'Don't cut 'em too bad. Don't swear.' The ghost of a pause in the shed's rough heart, And lower is bowed each head; And nothing is heard save a whispered word And the roar of the shearing shed. They are girls from tho city (our hearts rebel As we squint at their dainty feet) ; And they gush and say in a girly way That 'the dear little lambs are sweet.' And Bill the ringer who'd scorn the use Of a childish word like damn, Would give a pound that his tongue were loose As he tackles a lively lamb.
THE LAWSON MEMORIAL.
Verses to His Children. To his two children, Jim and Bertha, he wrote most touching verses:
............... Henry Lawson Memorial: Unveiled in Outer Domain (1931, August 6). The Catholic Press (Sydney, NSW : 1895 - 1942), , p. 16. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article103850564
HENRY LAWSON MEMORIAL.
A Florentine bronze tablet, unveiled in the Henry Lawson Reserve, Abbotsford, on Saturday afternoon by Mr. Roderic Quinn, a life-long friend of Lawson, commemorated the dedication of the park and the planting of a flowering gum in September by Mrs. Lawson as a token of devotion to her late husband. HENRY LAWSON MEMORIAL. (1939, March 27). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17587677
Honour to Henry Lawson.
THE fact that the Australian poet, Henry Lawson, gained much inspiration for his work at the rugged and splendid look-outs at Mt. Victoria was referred to at the last meeting of Mt. Victoria Group of the Sights Reserves Trustees. It was decided to make an effort to commemorate the poet's memory by constructing a pathway and lookout at the place where he was so often to be found enjoying the quiet solitude of the mountain ramparts.
The site referred to was Marrara residence, Mt. Victoria, and its surrounding cliff walk. It was resolved to construct a walk to be known as ' 'Henry Lawson Walk," to extend from this property to Engineers' Cascade. Mt. Victoria, and to name the point "Henry Lawson Lookout." The Shire Council is to be asked to invite the relatives of Henry Lawson to the official opening of this site when it is completed. Honour to Henry Lawson. (1941, December 25). Nepean Times (Penrith, NSW : 1882 - 1962), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108731200
When on September 2, 1922, Henry Lawson died, he left behind him little of this world's goods. A pen to one literary mate, a favourite pipe to another, an inkstand to another. Little else. But these things were Lawson's greatest possessions — the pen, the pipe and the inkstand were all that he required to give to Australia greater wealth than ever can be expressed in terms of money. His wealth lay in the merit of his work, in- the new appreciation be expressed of Australia and of Australians. Some men leave much money wherewith to create works and institutions for the good of humanity. Money played no great part in Henry Lawson's world. He left printed words of far greater value — and a pen that had framed those words; a pipe in whose smoke he had dreamed his literary dreams [ writes "C.E.S.." in the Melbourne Age"].
Henry Lawson was born at the Weddin Mountain gold diggings, near Grenfell, in New South Wales, on June 17, 1867. His father was Peter Hertberg Larsen, a Norwegian who came to Australia as quarter-master on a Norwegian ship, which he deserted to go to the gold fields. His mother was Louisa Albury, a woman as remarkable as her son. A native of Mudgee New South Wales, and a daughter of a man of Kent, with gipsy blood in his veins, she married Peter Larsen at the age of 18, and after living some years on the goldfields, settled with him in a selection near Mudgee. In the early eighties the family was driven to Sydney, because of the hardships and poverty of the land. For a while she kept a boarding-house but in 1887 bought a journal named the 'Republican,', which young Henry edited under her guidance. The following year she founded the 'Dawn", edited, printed and published by women, and for about seventeen years she prosecuted the feminine cause in this journal. She died in 1920 a remarkable woman to whom Henry Lawson owed much. Henry's early impressions were those of the poor selection, near Mudgee.
When the family came to Sydney , in 1883 he became a coach painter, at which trade he worked, very irregularly. In 1887 his first verses, 'The Song of the Republican' were published in the 'Bulletin,' They immediately attracted notice, and at the age of 21 he was the most remarkable verse writer in Australia. The Lawson of this period echoed the unrest of the country, industrially and politically; there was in his songs the surge of rebellion. This unrest surged through the young Lawson. In the years that followed his first appearance in literature he became a wanderer over the face of Australia. Victoria, Queensland, West Australia, the trackless plains of north-west New South Wales knew him. Of this period in his life David McKee Wright has written :— 'He has lived the life that he sings, and seen the places of which he writes ; there is not a word in all his work which is not instantly recognised as honest Australian. The drover, the stockman, the shearer , the rider far on the sky line, the girl waiting at the sliprails, the big bush funeral the coach with the flashing lamps passing the night along the ranges the man to whom home is a bit memory and his future a long despair, the troops marching to the sel- struggling through blinding gales the great grey plain, the wilderness of the Never Never— in long procession the pictures pass, and every picture is a true one, because Henry Lawson has been there to see with the eyes of his heart. Critics of the young Lawson shook their heads, and said he was prematurely developed; that his work would fade away. But Lawson, continuing to live his nomadic life, stayed on. As the years passed so his work gained in strength. He continued his wanderings, and he continued to write.
New Zealand claimed him for a spell, and while there has for a time made a pretence of working as a clerk in the Government statistician's office! Poor Lawson. One can imagine him cooped up in an office of a public service department trying to give attention to figures, while outside the track called!
For a time he edited the 'Worker' in Sydney, but the urge of the track was too strong for him. He went to West Australia; then again to New Zealand, where for a time he was a teacher in a Maori school. Then to London, where for two years he suffered the crampedness of London. Back again to Sydney and out on the tracks— the nomad, living and writing on the track appearing only at intervals in the cities.
Lawson was the man who could not get away from the life of outback; the men he wrote of were also this type. Paterson wrote at this time of the drover who sees the vision splendid of the sun-light plains extended, And at night the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars.
Lawson made the drover say : Shrivelled leather, rusty buckles, and the rot is in our knuckles; Scorched for months upon the pommel, while the brittle rein hung free. Lawson wrote thus because he knew. He continued to write thus because he lived the life— and could not get away from; it. Not one who has come since has written as Lawson wrote. It seems none ever will. He was the vagabond poet, composing as he tramped the outback. Rock me hard in steerage cabins, Rock me soft in first saloons, Lay me on the sandhill lonely, Under waning western moons; But wherever night may find me— Till I rest for evermore— I shall dream that I am happy In the shakedown on the floor. The 'shakedown on the floor' expresses Lawsons philosophy of life as he saw it, as he felt it. He could have led a gentler life; he could have had wealth. Had he chosen thus he would not have been Lawson, and to-day we would not he realising the heritage we have gained from him. HENRY LAWSON (1927, September 9).Kalgoorlie Miner (WA : 1895 - 1950), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article93997024