Tag: Henry Lawson

Blog Topics 3 for Australian Literature 2021

We have traversed quite some terrain in the last weeks. Chose one of these topics for your blog this week: 1/ Capture the seasonal quality of the Australia bush (in Spring) in a short poem that utilizes some of the techniques of Charles Harpur’s “A Midsummer Noon  in the Australian Forest”. Maybe begin your poem…

Clemente Mount Druitt- Week 7

This week we began with talking about your answers to the quiz and also spent time on going over some of the most common errors of expression.  We first read out some of the best responses to questions, especially those about your recent visit to the Art Gallery. There were some wonderful insights here and…

Australian Literature: Late Colonial- Early Federation: Gilmore, Lawson, O’Dowd etc….

So this is the period when Australian Literature and Art began to celebrate its independence from the tyranny of England: notice the fireworks over Sydney Town Hall on Federation day!!! But This was really not good enough for die-hard republicans like Henry Lawson and Mary Gilmore who saw the continuing injustices in Australia society- which…

Australian Literature in the Early 20th Century!

We began today with a glance at Henry Lawson’s “Drifted Back”, a short story which encapsulated aspects of his own life story, but which also reflected back on Lawson’s impressions of what was being lost as Australia moved into the new century: Community, Mateship, The Old Bush School, the destruction of the environment with the…

Australian Colonialism from 1880 on: Republicanism, Feminism, Federation, and beyond…

Firstly let me share some more Outstanding Blogs. These are all inspirational! Thank you for your creative work on these. And thank you all for such a great Blog Crop! If these are anything to go by I am really  looking forward to seeing your final ePortfolios! Nicola on Copacabana Beach Angelina on Letter to…

Australian Colonialism Part 2: Republicanism, Feminism, Federation and beyond…

Today we looked at Ada Cambridge, Barbara Baynton, Dame Mary Gilmore, Henry Lawson, Banjo Paterson and on and on…. what an extraordinary cast of voices from this period that celebrated Australian independence from England both thematically and linguistically… the opening sentences of “The Drover’s Wife” show beautifully how Lawson has transitioned the language and themes…

Late Colonialism in Australian Literature and Art

What a feast of writers and artists we have been digesting in this last week (Page references are to the Macquarie Pen Anthology of Australian Literature):

Ada Cambridge with her wonderfully strident defiance of being a simpering woman subject to male domination. Defying all stereotypes she speaks to her lover: “I may some day love a better man…. And then we must be free to kiss and part” (164). No wonder she was seen as rebellious in her day!

Then we looked at the Über-rebellious Irish Ned Kelly who certainly could string words together when he wanted to make a point about those for whom he had a particular hate (those representatives of the British legal system): “the big ugly fat-necked wombat headed big bellied magpie legged narrow hipped splaw-footed sons of Irish Bailiffs or english landlords which is better known as Officers of Justice or Victorian Police…” (224) and much more!

Then there was Dame Mary Gilmore, one of the few in this period who had a passionate regard for our Indigenous people and a real sense of what we as a community have lost by not taking care of them. Her poem “Australia” is a magnificent tribute to the ancient value of this people (predating all the most ancient civilizations) and containing within their culture the seeds of the beginning of language and poetry:

There was great beauty in the names her people called her,

Shaping to patterns of sound the form of their words;

They wove to measure of speech the cry of the bird,

And the voices that rose from the reeds of the cowal*.

(*Aboriginal word for small, tree-grown swampy depression)


So in their traditions and culture they transformed and transmitted the beautiful voices of nature into song, into language.

We looked also at Henry Lawson, Banjo Paterson and Barbara Baynton, those authors who, in various ways, transformed the experience of Australian settlers into story and song.

And all this was done in the context of our increasing awareness of the iconic art of Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Fred McCubbin, Julian Ashton and others…. what a treat!

Blog Topics for Week 6


  1. “And then we must be free to kiss and part”. Write a short letter or poem that proclaims the kind of personal freedom that Ada Cambridge proposes in this line.

2. Write a brief description of this painting of Ned Kelly. What do you think it is saying about Ned Kelly’s status in the 20th CenturySaint Ned

3. Write a short tribute to Dame Mary Gilmore drawing on any one of her poems (in the Pen Anthology 256-259) to show how important her ideas are to Australians.

4. Find out who the figure behind Dame Mary Gilmore is on the $10 note. What is the artistic significance of this other figure?

5. Henry Lawson or Banjo Paterson? Explain briefly your understanding of why these two authors were so different in their views of the Australian experience.

” They lie, the men who tell us in a loud decisive tone/ That want is here a stranger, and that misery’s unknown”(263)

“There was movement at the station , for the word had passed around…” (246)

6. Create your own topic, basing it around any one of the authors or painters looked at in the Late Colonial section of the unit and linking it to your own personal experience.


Clemente/Catalyst Students Go the NSW Art Gallery: The Links between Literature and Art!

One of the most exciting things I do several times each year is conduct literature students to the NSW Art Gallery to explore the ways in which paintings and sculptures can hugely expand our understanding of the way literature communicates meaning. One of my students (thank you Joey!) right at the start of our tour…

What Happens When Prose Turns to Drama: Clemente/ Catalyst Week 7

We had an intensive afternoon exploring the characteristics of Henry Lawson’s Prose (both journalism and short story). He was such an innovator in the way he managed with so few words to evoke so much, especially in the area of people’s feelings. He was also the writer who brought the life of Australian everyday usage…