Henry Lawson was born on the goldfields at Grenfell, N.S.W in 1867. Lawson's early life was difficult and the family was very poor. His first published prose piece appeared in the Republican in 1887, and his first poem 'A Song of the Republic' in the Bulletin. The Bulletin also published Lawson's first short story 'His Father's mate'. However, he was unable to find regular work. To help J.B. Archibald suggested a trip to Bourke at the Bulletin's expense. This trip, 'the first [in the] real outback' which was in the midst of a drought influenced Lawson in many ways and provided copy for many stories.
He was a somewhat legendary figure even during his lifetime, but by the early years of the twentieth century, his best work was already behind him. Personal disintegration, which included a spell in prison and 'convalescence' in mental institutions and hospitals, was primarily due to alcoholism. That he survived these years was the result of the devotion of friends and literary colleagues.
He died on a visit to London in 1922. The extent of his legend can be measured by the fact that he was the first Australian writer to be granted a state funeral.
The Oxford companion to Australian literature, edited by William H. Wilde, Joy Hooton, Barry Andrews, 2nd edition. 1994
'Henry Lawson. State Funeral. Impressive Service', 1922, in Sydney Morning Herald - Trove
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