In the process of arguing the issue, writers established an Australian writing vernacular, and paved the way for a national literature. In his depictions of self-reliant, indomitable, independent Australians, Lawson put into words the qualities that contributed to the nation's sense of self.
|Henry Lawson published his first poem in the nationalist magazine, the Bulletin, in 1887. Called 'A Song for the Republic', it was a stirring call to Australians to approach the new century with courage and commitment to the nation.|
Debating vehemently with that other bush poet, Banjo Patterson, Lawson was central in the move towards 'realism' in literature. Instead of a gentle, idyllic place, the Australian landscape was depicted as indifferent to its inhabitants, who were battlers - gaunt, tragic, but noble.
Although Lawson had a hard and sad life, he was already, by the time of his death, a legend. He was the first Australian writer to be given a State funeral.
Source: Booklet accompanying the 1996 Masterpieces in Silver - Shaping a National Identity - Set.
Henry Lawson is featured on the following Australian coins:
1996 Five Dollars
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Last modified: 05 December, 2007