Mary has taught elementary school for six years and has a master's degree in education.
Henry Lawson was destined to become one of Australia's most famous poets, but his life didn't begin very extraordinarily. Lawson was born in New South Wales, Australia on June 17, 1867, and his family moved around a lot so his father could join the gold rush. Unsuccessful at that, they settled on a plot of land at Pipeclay Creek, near Eurunderee.
Henry was the oldest of four children. His parents were unhappy in their marriage and their financial stress put a lot of drain and worry on Henry as well. On top of that, he started to become deaf after becoming sick at around eight or nine years old, which made it difficult for him to make friends or do well in the newly established school in his town. Henry was withdrawn and shy, but he did have kind teachers who helped cultivate, or grow, his interest in poetry.
Becoming a Writer
Having had only three years of schooling, it seems unlikely that Henry would be such a literary success. But after his parents' divorce he went to live with his mother in Sydney, where he worked a string of dead end jobs and eventually became completely deaf. She was quite a lady! Louisa was involved in the women's movement, edited a women's newspaper, and eventually published Henry's first book. She and her friends encouraged Henry's writing, and likely had a big impact on it.
In addition to poetry, Henry also tried his hand at newspaper writing. He contributed poetry and prose (writing in paragraph form), moving to Brisbane to write for the Boomerang. The paper folded after a short time, so Henry returned to Sydney, where he wrote for the Bulletin.
In September, 1892, Henry took a trip that would change his life when the Bulletin sent him inland to write about the Australian Bush. This is a rural part of Australia that was suffering from a drought at the time. Life was incredibly difficult for those who lived there, and Henry was the first and most impactful writer to capture this tough reality. He ultimately became most famous for the stories and poems he wrote during this time, like his short story ''The Drover's Wife,'' and poem ''Andy's Gone With Cattle.'' They solidified his place as a top Australian bush poet for illustrating the people, landscape, and character of the bush.
Although Henry was successful as a writer, he was never very happy in his personal life. He married but divorced, became somewhat of a depressed alcoholic, landed himself in jail at times, and never had very much money. Luckily, he befriended a lady named Isabel Byers who helped care for him and promoted his writing until his death in 1922. His funeral was a national event, attended by the prime minister among thousands of other people. It's a little crazy that a man so beloved could have been so unhappy.
Henry Lawson was a desperately unhappy, yet talented and successful, writer. Sometimes known as ''Australia's greatest short story writer'' and a bush poet, Lawson made a name for himself writing with realism about the Australian Bush around the turn of the twentieth century. His work is still widely praised today.
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