About Henry Lawson

  • Henry Lawson’s father, Niels Hertzberg (Peter) Larsen, was a miner from Norway. When Henry’s parents registered his birth they changed the surname to Lawson.

  • Henry’s mum, Louisa, was one of NSW’s leading suffragettes, ran her own business and was a bit of a radical.  

  • In 1876, at the age of 9, Henry awoke after illness slightly deaf. By the time he was 14, his condition worsened radically and he was left with a major and incurable hearing loss.

  • Louisa Lawson helped get a district school built at Eurunderee (near their selection near Mudgee) when Henry was 8 and he entered school the next year. By 1880 his schooling ended. All told he missed about 3 years of school during this time and then went to work with his father on building jobs in the Blue Mountains.

  • Henry apprenticed as a coach painter in Sydney to Hudson Bros Ltd.

  • Henry married Bertha Bredt in 1896.

  • Lawson and his family moved often, usually because of hard times, and lived in Albany, WA, in New Zealand and in England.

  • Lawson suffered from alcoholism, depression and mental illness during his later years. From 1902 on, things seemed to get steadily worse.

  • Henry Lawson is buried at Waverley Cemetery, halfway between Clovelly and Bronte Beaches in Sydney. His grave is sited high on a hill, overlooking the ocean. It's plot number G516, section 3 and you can get a walking map from the Cemetery Office which is open from 7am – dusk daily.

  • Lawson’s image appeared on the first ten-dollar note issued in 1966.

  • Lawson died on 2 September 1922 in the Sydney suburb of Abbotsford of a cerebral haemorrhage. He was given a State Funeral, the first ever for an Australian writer, on 4 September 1922.

  • George Lambert’s sculpture of Lawson, commissioned by the organising committee of the Henry Lawson Memorial Fund in 1927, stands in the Domain in Sydney’s Botanic Gardens. Henry’s son Jim posed for the figure of his father. There is another bust of Henry Lawson in Footscray Park in Melbourne, where the Henry Lawson Memorial and Literary Society gather annually to celebrate his work. The Art Gallery of NSW also has a fine portrait of Lawson by John Longstaff.  

  • Lawson’s ability to create so many magnificent stories despite personal disadvantage, adversity and appalling hardship, is testimony to a toughness and determination for which he is not, perhaps, given due credit.

Buy Jack Thompson, The Poems of Henry Lawson | Buy The Campfire Yarns of Henry Lawson

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