A Collection: Henry Lawson
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Henry Lawson (1867 – 1922)

Henry Lawson was born on 17 June 1867 at Grenfell, New South Wales, the eldest child of Louisa Lawson and her husband Niels Hertzberg (Peter) Larsen, a Norwegian immigrant gold prospector and former sailor. The family moved around, following the gold rushes in the Mudgee district, before taking up at selection at Pipeclay Creek, near Eurunderee, in 1873. In 1876, after lobbying by Louisa Lawson, a public school was established at Eurunderee, which the Lawson children attended. The same year, Henry experienced a sudden illness which resulted in a hearing deficiency, a condition which deteriorated into partial deafness in his teenage years. The loss of his hearing, he later wrote, was an event that ‘was to cloud my whole life, to drive me into myself, and to be, in a great measure responsible for my writing.’ After a few years of frequently interrupted schooling, he went to work with his father, who was by this time working as a building contractor. When his parents separated in 1883, Henry and his siblings went with their mother to Sydney.
In 1884, Lawson was apprenticed as a coach-painter to a railway carriage-works company at Clyde, in the Western suburbs of Sydney, at the same time attending night school to improve his education. It was about this time that Lawson began writing his first poems. From 1887, while supporting himself with odd jobs, Lawson began publishing his verse in the Sydney press, especially the Bulletin and Australian Town and Country Journal. At the same time he worked on the Republican, the radical weekly paper edited and published by his mother. His sympathy for working Australians and strident support of the labour movement, and for an Australian republic, was evident in his early work. In early 1891 he accepted a job on the reporting staff of the Brisbane radical newspaper the Boomerang. Though he was in Brisbane for less than a year, Lawson’s time as a journalist there honed his abilities to produce verse and prose quickly, and he contributed political and topical poems to the Boomerang and to the Worker. By the time he returned to Sydney in late 1891, he had decided to make his living as a writer.

Poems Of Henry Lawson


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