Quiz about The Troubled Genius of Henry Lawson
Quiz about The Troubled Genius of Henry Lawson

The Troubled Genius of Henry Lawson Quiz


"I've had my dream. 'Twas but a dream". In those few words of his own, that quote sums up the tragic life of Henry Lawson, one of the greatest writers Australia has ever produced. This quiz is on that life and the man who wrote from the heart.

A multiple-choice quiz by Creedy. Estimated time: 6 mins.
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Author
Creedy
Time
6 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
367,634
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
8 / 10
Plays
358
Awards
Top 5% quiz!
Last 3 plays: bernie73 (5/10), bmrsnr (10/10), H53 (9/10).
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. Henry Lawson was born on the goldfields of New South Wales, Australia, in 1867. He died in 1922, and for all but the last few years of his life, his history was troubled and sorrowful. With which auricular disability was this writer afflicted, from the age of nine, until his death? Hint

Deafness
Dystrophy
Dementia
Dysentery

2. In one of the rare instances of good luck in his life, Henry Lawson was fortunate when his mother enrolled him in another school, some eight kilometres from where the family lived. Why was this considered lucky? Hint

He found a gold nugget behind the classroom
He had a very sympathetic teacher
He was adopted by a millionaire
He won the Melbourne Cup horse race

3. After Henry Lawson moved to Sydney to live with his mother, his subsequent attempts to gain a university place failed because of his inability to hear the content of any oral lessons. This was followed by bad news from his doctor about his now incurable disability. What did he turn to in his despair? Hint

Murder
Robbing banks
Drinking
Bigamy

4. Just before his 30th birthday, and against the advice of all concerned, Henry Lawson married Bertha Bredt Jr, the daughter of a leading socialist of the day. How did this mismatched union end? Hint

A bitter and permanent separation that impoverished him
An amicable dissolution after ten years
His wife died in a tragic accident
An annulment after one week

5. Part of Henry Lawson's sporadic employment history was his work at several newspapers of the time. The most successful of these was with "The Bulletin" whose editor sent Henry on a long trek out west to collect materials for his ever increasing output of stories. The first of these were published in a volume in 1896. What was the title of that book? Hint

Tender is the Night
Under the Chestnut Tree
While the Billy Boils
The Old Man and the Sea

6. In addition to Henry Lawson's brilliant short stories, newspaper articles and columns, he also wrote over five hundred poems. Considered today by academics to fall short of the standard of his prose, one of these poems was written when he was again doing time - for drunkenness - in Darlinghurst Gaol. Because of the dreadful rations of food given to the prisoners, the high death rate and the lack of health facilities, what did Henry call this prison? Hint

Death Camp
Bones of Delight
Calorie Cell
Starvinghurst Gaol

7. Apart from Henry Lawson's art of depicting a scene or a building in a few vividly effective words, his skill at portraying people was equally as impressive. With just a few sentences this great writer could bring a character to life more than many other writers could convey in an entire chapter. What artistic term did Henry give to each one of these evocative images? Hint

The polaroid
The inkling
The sketch
The pose

8. As the new century clicked over, and now in his thirties, Henry Lawson, in his need to convey as much as he could about Australia onto the printed page, could barely remember any other life but that of grinding poverty. Then the cold heart of tragedy struck at this fine writer once again. From 1902 until the end of his life, Henry suffered from periodic bouts of which illness? Hint

Measles
Anorexia
Poliomyelitis
Deep depression

9. Come 1903, and something miraculous - relatively speaking - happened to alter the course of Henry Lawson's life. At the lowest point of that life, when he could carry on no longer, he moved into a room at a boarding house in North Sydney. The woman who owned that residence proved to be his guardian in every respect. As far as the business side of his writing went, however, what could she be likened to today? Hint

His fan club president
His housekeeper
His nurse
His literary manager

10. One of the themes running constantly throughout Henry Lawson's stories was that of mateship and the importance of either a friend, or a wife, or even a faithful dog to help a fellow through the lonely years and hardships out in the bush. As much as these themes ran through his work, Henry himself, because of his deafness and illnesses, seldom ever knew that consolation. After years of isolation and illness, and neglect by his peers and his government, times when he almost starved to death, he died in 1922. What absolutely pathetic piece of hypocrisy did the New South Wales State government then announce? Hint

He was to be given a state funeral
His wife was given a title
He was awarded a gold pen
His children had their photographs taken


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Henry Lawson was born on the goldfields of New South Wales, Australia, in 1867. He died in 1922, and for all but the last few years of his life, his history was troubled and sorrowful. With which auricular disability was this writer afflicted, from the age of nine, until his death?

Answer: Deafness

Henry developed a chronic ear infection at the age of nine, during an era when little treatment was available for this condition. His hearing began to deteriorate from that time, and, by the age of fourteen, he was almost completely deaf. This was to have a terrible effect on the boy's schooling, but even more so, on his ability to communicate. A shy child at the best of times, the cruel taunts he was subject to at school about his disability only served to exacerbate his already well established sense of isolation. His home life, too, was an unhappy one, with the marriage between his parents becoming increasingly bitter over the years. That instability at home would find reflection is many of Henry's later stories.
________________

"It was so dark - with a smothering darkness - that even the low loom of the scrub-covered ridges, close at hand across the creek, was not to be seen. The sky was not clouded for rain, but with drought haze and the smoke of distant bush fires....On the floor, between the sofa and the table, lay a boy - child almost - on a similar mattress, with a cover of coarse sacking, and a bundle of dirty clothes for a pillow...

"There you go again! Flinging your money away on rubbish that'll be on the dust-heap to-morrow, and your poor wife slaving her finger-nails off for you in this wretched hole, and not a decent rag to her back."

And the child knew he was watching him, and pretended to sleep, and, so pretending, he slept. And the old year died as many old years had died.

And so the New Year began."

(Taken from Lawson's short story "A Child in the Dark" published in 1902)
2. In one of the rare instances of good luck in his life, Henry Lawson was fortunate when his mother enrolled him in another school, some eight kilometres from where the family lived. Why was this considered lucky?

Answer: He had a very sympathetic teacher

The child with the big sad eyes who was unable to communicate all he felt, or hear any response, struck a chord in the sympathetic heart of his teacher, John Tierney, at the Catholic school in Mudgee, New South Wales. This teacher did all he could to help Henry advance through his classes, and, because of his own love of the written word, instilled that same love in the isolated child in his care. Reading became Henry's refuge and his friend, enabling him to communicate in a way he had never been able to before. Through that medium, the mighty pen of one of Australia's greatest writers began to flow.
________________

"It was a boy on horseback. He was a light-haired, very much freckled boy of fourteen or fifteen, with a small head, but with limbs, especially his bare sun-blotched shanks, that might have belonged to a grown man. He had a good face and frank grey eyes. An old, nearly black cabbage-tree hat rested on the butts of his ears, turning them out at right angles from his head, and rather dirty sprouts they were. He wore a dirty torn Crimean shirt; and a pair of man's moleskin trousers rolled up above the knees, with the wide waistband gathered under a greenhide belt. I noticed, later on, that, even when he wore trousers short enough for him, he always rolled 'em up above the knees when on horseback, for some reason of his own: to suggest leggings, perhaps, for he had them rolled up in all weathers, and he wouldn't have bothered to save them from the sweat of the horse, even if that horse ever sweated.

He was seated astride a three-bushel bag thrown across the ridge-pole of a big grey horse, with a coffin-shaped head, and built astern something after the style of a roughly put up hip-roofed box-bark humpy. His colour was like old box-bark, too, a dirty bluish-grey; and, one time, when I saw his rump looming out of the scrub, I really thought it was some old shepherd's hut that I hadn't noticed there before. When he cantered it was like the humpy starting off on its corner-posts".

(Taken from Henry Lawson's story "Past Carin'" published in 1896)
3. After Henry Lawson moved to Sydney to live with his mother, his subsequent attempts to gain a university place failed because of his inability to hear the content of any oral lessons. This was followed by bad news from his doctor about his now incurable disability. What did he turn to in his despair?

Answer: Drinking

This was perhaps an understandable, but foolish, choice. It was to cast long shadows over the rest of Henry's life. But back to an earlier time in that life. Before moving to Sydney where his mother, following the breakdown of her marriage, now lived, Henry worked with his father in various areas in rural towns all around the region. This work included carpentry and building, house painting, and even the occasional foray into prospecting. He absorbed all he saw during this time, echoes of which would later appear in the enormous output of short, vivid stories, poetry and newspaper and magazine articles for which he became so famous. Henry was unhappy in Sydney though. He was overwhelmed at times by the misery he daily saw in the faces of the crowds passing by his window, and he missed the scents and sounds of the country life that had been so much a part of his early life.
________________

"And when the hours on lagging feet have slowly dragged away,
And sickly yellow gas-lights rise to mock the going day,
Then, flowing past my window, like a tide in its retreat,
Again I see the pallid stream of faces in the street -
Ebbing out, ebbing out,
To the drag of tired feet,
While my heart is aching dumbly for the faces in the street"

(From Henry Lawson's poem "Faces in the Street" published in 1887).
4. Just before his 30th birthday, and against the advice of all concerned, Henry Lawson married Bertha Bredt Jr, the daughter of a leading socialist of the day. How did this mismatched union end?

Answer: A bitter and permanent separation that impoverished him

Oh, poor Henry! In addition to his struggles to make a living with his writing, his daily battle to hear and communicate, and his worsening drinking, he now had an unhappy marriage with which to contend. Initially happy of course, the union produced two children before the rot set in. From the time of the dissolution of that unhappy marriage, Henry was constantly being called to court for failing to meet his maintenance payments. As a result of this, he spent time in jail on more than one occasion. Reneging on those payments wasn't a case of wilful neglect or spite on the part of the gentle man, but a case of his periodic bouts of unemployment, his constantly empty pockets made emptier still by his drinking, the harsh reality of trying to make a living by his pen, and dishonest dealings by publishers working on his behalf.
________________

"If you ever go to work - and miracles have happened before - no matter what your wages are, or how you are treated, you can take it for granted that you're sweated; act on that to the best of your ability, or you'll never rise in the world. If you go to see a show on the nod you'll be found a comfortable seat in a good place; but if you pay, the chances are the ticket clerk will tell you a lie, and you'll have to hustle for standing room. The man that doesn't ante gets the best of this world; anything he'll stand is good enough for the man that pays. If you try to be too sharp you'll get into gaol sooner or later; if you try to be too honest, the chances are that the bailiff will get into your house - if you have one - and make a holy show of you before the neighbours. The honest softy is more often mistaken for a swindler, and accused of being one, than the out-and-out scamp; and the man that tells the truth too much is set down as an irreclaimable liar. But most of the time, crow low and roost high, for it's a funny world, and you never know what might happen.

"And if you get married (and there's no accounting for a woman's taste) be as bad as you like, and then moderately good, and your wife will love you. If you're bad all the time, she can't stand it for ever, and if you're good all the time, she'll naturally treat you with contempt. Never explain what you're going to do, and don't explain afterwards, if you can help it. If you find yourself between two stools, strike hard for your own self, Smith - strike hard, and you'll be respected more than if you fought for all the world. Generosity isn't understood nowadays, and what the people don't understand is either 'mad' or 'cronk'. Failure has no case, and you can't build one for it .. I started out in life very young - and very soft."

"I thought you were going to tell me your story, Steely," remarked Smith.

Steelman smiled sadly."

(Taken from Henry Lawson's tale "How Steelman told his Story" published in 1900)
5. Part of Henry Lawson's sporadic employment history was his work at several newspapers of the time. The most successful of these was with "The Bulletin" whose editor sent Henry on a long trek out west to collect materials for his ever increasing output of stories. The first of these were published in a volume in 1896. What was the title of that book?

Answer: While the Billy Boils

In this excellent work, Henry's writing is seen at its very best. He turned his back completely on the flowery language and romantic versions of Australian life being produced by other writers of the time, and presented life in rural Australia as it really was - the harsh existence, the rawness, the struggle and the heartbreak. The language he used was equally as striking, and reflected the vernacular of the time. Direct, straight to the heart of any matter, lacking flowing hyperbole and unrealistic ideals, Henry gave us a true picture of life out there in that lonely world, in all its starkness and loneliness, and his pen painted the damage it did to women, men and families in vivid, unrelenting detail. It was a style of Australian writing never before presented, but imitated later by many.
________________

"She is used to being left alone. She once lived like this for eighteen months. As a girl she built the usual castles in the air; but all her girlish hopes and aspirations have long been dead ... Her husband is an Australian, and so is she. He is careless, but a good enough husband. The last two children were born in the bush - one while her husband was bringing a drunken doctor, by force, to attend to her. She was alone on this occasion, and very weak. She had been ill with a fever. She prayed to God to send her assistance ... One of her children died while she was here alone. She rode nineteen miles for assistance, carrying the dead child ...

The snake - a black one - comes slowly out, about a foot, and moves its head up and down. The dog lies still, and the woman sits as one fascinated. The snake comes out a foot further. She lifts her stick, and the reptile, as though suddenly aware of danger, sticks his head in through the crack on the other side of the slab, and hurries to get his tail round after him. Alligator springs, and his jaws come together with a snap. He misses this time, for his nose is large, and the snake's body close down in the angle formed by the slabs and the floor. He snaps again as the tail comes round. He has the snake now, and tugs it out eighteen inches. Thud, thud comes the woman's club on the ground. Alligator pulls again. Thud, thud. Alligator pulls some more. He has the snake out now - a black brute, five feet long. The head rises to dart about, but the dog has the enemy close to the neck. He is a big, heavy dog, but quick as a terrier. He shakes the snake as though he felt the original curse in common with mankind. The eldest boy wakes up, seizes his stick, and tries to get out of bed, but his mother forces him back with a grip of iron. Thud, thud - the snake's back is broken in several places. Thud, thud - its head is crushed, and Alligator's nose skinned again.

She lifts the mangled reptile on the point of her stick, carries it to the fire, and throws it in... She lays her hand on the dog's head, and all the fierce, angry light dies out of his yellow eyes. The younger children are quieted, and presently go to sleep. The dirty-legged boy stands for a moment in his shirt, watching the fire. Presently he looks up at her, sees the tears in her eyes, and, throwing his arms round her neck, exclaims:

'Mother, I won't never go drovin'; blast me if I do!'

And she hugs him to her worn-out breast and kisses him; and they sit thus together while the sickly daylight breaks over the bush".

(Taken from Henry Lawson's work "The Drover's Wife" which appeared in "While the Billy Boils" published in 1896)
6. In addition to Henry Lawson's brilliant short stories, newspaper articles and columns, he also wrote over five hundred poems. Considered today by academics to fall short of the standard of his prose, one of these poems was written when he was again doing time - for drunkenness - in Darlinghurst Gaol. Because of the dreadful rations of food given to the prisoners, the high death rate and the lack of health facilities, what did Henry call this prison?

Answer: Starvinghurst Gaol

Henry was appalled at the conditions in this jail, as he was appalled by many of the sights that his sensitive eyes took in on his troubled journey through life. His prison number in that particular centre was 103 and the work he wrote on his time there is desolate in the extreme. At the same time, its almost brutal honesty, as with all his writing, reflects perfectly the way life really was in those harsh, early days of Australian prisons. It was important to Henry that the truth should always be presented, regardless how dreadful. In doing so, he has left us today with an historic legacy of life that speaks to us far more succinctly than all the Australian history books ever written.
________________

"They shut a man in the four-by-eight, with a six-inch slit for air,
Twenty-three hours of the twenty-four, to brood on his virtues there.
And the dead stone walls and the iron door close in as an iron band
On eyes that followed the distant haze far out on the level land.
Bread and water and hominy, and a scrag of meat and a spud,
A Bible and thin flat book of rules, to cool a strong man's blood;
They take the spoon from the cell at night - and a stranger might think it odd;
But a man might sharpen it on the floor, and go to his own Great God. ..

The great, round church with its volume of sound, where we dare not turn our eyes -
They take us there from our separate hells to sing of Paradise.
In all the creeds there is hope and doubt, but of this there is no doubt:
That starving prisoners faint in church, and the warders carry them out ...
Rules, regulations-red-tape and rules; all and alike they bind:
Under 'separate treatment' place the deaf; in the dark cell shut the blind!
And somewhere down in his sandstone tomb, with never a word to save,
One Hundred and Three is keeping step, as he'll keep it to his grave".

(Taken from Henry Lawson's poem "One Hundred and Three" published in 1908)
7. Apart from Henry Lawson's art of depicting a scene or a building in a few vividly effective words, his skill at portraying people was equally as impressive. With just a few sentences this great writer could bring a character to life more than many other writers could convey in an entire chapter. What artistic term did Henry give to each one of these evocative images?

Answer: The sketch

The ability Henry had at bringing people to life was almost uncanny. He made his pages pulsate with raw pain, uncomplicated love and gentle laughter. Pascall Prize winning Australian journalist and writer, Bruce Elder, describes this rather amazing skill in his 2008 incisive analysis "In Lawson's Tracks - The Henry Lawson Trail from Bourke (NSW) to Hungerford (Qld)" as follows: He "... used short, sharp sentences, with language as raw as Ernest Hemingway or Raymond Carver. With sparse adjectives and honed-to-the-bone description, Lawson created a style and defined Australians: dryly laconic, passionately egalitarian and deeply humane". That sums up perfectly the magic that Henry Lawson cast with his pen.
________________

"Mrs Spicer used to drive down the creek once a-week, in her rickety old spring-cart, to Cobborah, with butter and eggs. The hut was nearly as bare inside as it was out - just a frame of 'round-timber' (sapling poles) covered with bark. The furniture was permanent (unless you rooted it up), like in our kitchen: a rough slab table on stakes driven into the ground, and seats made the same way. Mary told me afterwards that the beds in the bag-and-bark partitioned-off room ('mother's bedroom') were simply poles laid side by side on cross-pieces supported by stakes driven into the ground, with straw mattresses and some worn-out bed-clothes. Mrs Spicer had an old patchwork quilt, in rags, and the remains of a white one, and Mary said it was pitiful to see how these things would be spread over the beds - to hide them as much as possible - when she went down there...

She was not a big woman. She was gaunt and flat-chested, and her face was 'burnt to a brick', as they say out there. She had brown eyes, nearly red, and a little wild-looking at times, and a sharp face - ground sharp by hardship - the cheeks drawn in. She had an expression like - well, like a woman who had been very curious and suspicious at one time, and wanted to know everybody's business and hear everything, and had lost all her curiosity, without losing the expression or the quick suspicious movements of the head. I don't suppose you understand. I can't explain it any other way. She was not more than forty".

(Taken from Henry Lawson's work "Water Them Geraniums" published in 1896)
8. As the new century clicked over, and now in his thirties, Henry Lawson, in his need to convey as much as he could about Australia onto the printed page, could barely remember any other life but that of grinding poverty. Then the cold heart of tragedy struck at this fine writer once again. From 1902 until the end of his life, Henry suffered from periodic bouts of which illness?

Answer: Deep depression

He suffered from overwhelming attacks of the darkest depression. Yet there was also another element to Henry's illness that could be traced directly back to his father, passed down to his mother and several of Henry's siblings as well, that led to periodic or permanent periods of institutionalisation for all. This was syphilis. Come what may though, Henry would never hear a bad word said about his much loved sire. These dreadful attacks of darkness saw Henry attempting suicide on at least one occasion, and he found himself spending time in various mental hospitals as a result. Combined with his inability to control his drinking, his almost constant poverty, his ongoing deafness, and his wife's continual reporting to the authorities of his failure to maintain his financial support of the family, Henry's life began to see-saw between bouts in hospital, time in prison, and, saddest and most shocking of all, having to beg for food in the streets of Sydney in order to survive. Yet, still, he wrote on.
________________

"She's milking in the rain and dark,
As did her mother in the past.
The wretched shed of poles and bark,
Rent by the wind, is leaking fast.
She sees the "home-roof" black and low,
Where, balefully, the hut-fire gleams-
And, like her mother, long ago,
She has her dreams; she has her dreams.
The daybreak haunts the dreary scene,
The brooding ridge, the blue-grey bush,
The "yard" where all her years have been,
Is ankle-deep in dung and slush;
She shivers as the hour drags on,
Her threadbare dress of sackcloth seems-
But, like her mother, years agone,
She has her dreams; she has her dreams".

(Taken from Henry Lawson's poem "A Bush Girl" published in 1910)
9. Come 1903, and something miraculous - relatively speaking - happened to alter the course of Henry Lawson's life. At the lowest point of that life, when he could carry on no longer, he moved into a room at a boarding house in North Sydney. The woman who owned that residence proved to be his guardian in every respect. As far as the business side of his writing went, however, what could she be likened to today?

Answer: His literary manager

This began a long and fruitful twenty year sustainable friendship for Henry. There was no question of romance to it. Mrs Isabel Byers, a small time poetess in her own right, was looking forward to a long and comfortable retirement. Yet, as a fervent admirer of Henry's work, she took the troubled and very ill man under her wing. What ensued from that period of Henry's life was heart-warming. Mrs Byers paid for his upkeep, fed him, nursed and supported him through his dark depression and alcoholism, negotiated with printers, organised financial assistance for him, and, carrying his work under her arm, determinedly knocked on the doors of every publisher in Sydney on his behalf. At last Henry could relax, and devote his time to writing. That writing, still holding relentlessly to the heartlessness of Australian outback life, now and then began to display more of the flashes of unexpected humour that was another hallmark of his work. Not vulgar, never generating into gutter humour - Henry would have scorned that - but flashes of pure comic genius. Mrs Byers allowed Henry to be himself. And she allowed him to write. It was nothing short of a miracle.
________________

"Dave Regan, Jim Bently, and Andy Page were sinking a shaft at Stony Creek in search of a rich gold quartz reef which was supposed to exist in the vicinity (when) Dave got an idea. 'Why not blow the fish up in the big water-hole with a cartridge?' he said ... He made a cartridge about three times the size of those they used in the rock. Jim Bently said it was big enough to blow the bottom out of the river ...

They had a big black young retriever dog - or rather an overgrown pup, a big, foolish, four-footed mate, who was always slobbering round them and lashing their legs with his heavy tail that swung round like a stock-whip. Most of his head was usually a red, idiotic, slobbering grin of appreciation of his own silliness. He seemed to take life, the world, his two-legged mates, and his own instinct as a huge joke. He'd retrieve anything (and) He watched Andy with great interest all the morning making the cartridge...

...He was turning to suggest this to Dave, when Dave glanced over his shoulder to see how the chops were doing - and bolted... Andy stood stock-still, staring after them. 'Run, Andy! run!' they shouted back at him. 'Run! Look behind you, you fool!' Andy turned slowly and looked, and there, close behind him, was the retriever with the cartridge in his mouth - wedged into his broadest and silliest grin. And that wasn't all. The dog had come round the fire to Andy, and the loose end of the fuse had trailed and waggled over the burning sticks into the blaze; Andy had slit and nicked the firing end of the fuse well, and now it was hissing and spitting properly...

...Dave roared and cursed at the dog, who seeing that Dave was offended, left him and went after Jim, who was well ahead. Jim swung to a sapling and went up it like a native bear; it was a young sapling, and Jim couldn't safely get more than ten or twelve feet from the ground.

The dog laid the cartridge, as carefully as if it was a kitten, at the foot of the sapling, and capered and leaped and whooped joyously round under Jim. The big pup reckoned that this was part of the lark - he was all right now - it was Jim who was out for a spree. The fuse sounded as if it were going a mile a minute. Jim tried to climb higher and the sapling bent and cracked. Jim fell on his feet and ran. The dog swooped on the cartridge and followed. It all took but a very few moments. Jim ran to a digger's hole, about ten feet deep, and dropped down into it - landing on soft mud - and was safe. The dog grinned sardonically down on him, over the edge..."

(Taken from Henry Lawson's story "The Loaded Dog" published in 1901)
10. One of the themes running constantly throughout Henry Lawson's stories was that of mateship and the importance of either a friend, or a wife, or even a faithful dog to help a fellow through the lonely years and hardships out in the bush. As much as these themes ran through his work, Henry himself, because of his deafness and illnesses, seldom ever knew that consolation. After years of isolation and illness, and neglect by his peers and his government, times when he almost starved to death, he died in 1922. What absolutely pathetic piece of hypocrisy did the New South Wales State government then announce?

Answer: He was to be given a state funeral

The highest honour that can be awarded one when deceased in fact. And that is contemptible. Today it remains quite possibly the most pathetic piece of government self-gratification one could ever read. They allowed Henry to practically starve to death, did nothing in his appalling times of need, turned a blind eye as he begged for crusts on the streets - yet on his death, sanctimoniously announced a state funeral to honour their "distinguished citizen". That funeral was attended by dignitaries from all over the country, including the Premier of New South Wales, and the Prime Minister of Australia. This then is the heartbreaking story of our greatest writer. Australia gave us Henry Lawson. In return, Henry Lawson gave us laughter, tears, endurance, suffering, inspiration and heartache. Henry Lawson gave us an Australia that no longer exists in the cosmopolitan world of the 21st century. Henry Lawson gave us our roots.
________________

"Macquarie the shearer had met with an accident. To tell the truth, he had been in a drunken row at a wayside shanty, from which he had escaped with three fractured ribs, a cracked head, and various minor abrasions. His dog, Tally, had been a sober but savage participator in the drunken row, and had escaped with a broken leg. Macquarie afterwards shouldered his swag and staggered and struggled along the track ten miles to the Union Town hospital. Lord knows how he did it. He didn't exactly know himself. Tally limped behind all the way, on three legs.

The doctors examined the man's injuries and were surprised at his endurance...

"You will have to turn that dog out," they said to the shearer, as he sat on the edge of a bed.

Macquarie said nothing. "We cannot allow dogs about the place, my man," said the doctor in a louder tone, thinking the man was deaf...

Macquarie rose slowly to his feet, shut his agony behind his set teeth, painfully buttoned his shirt over his hairy chest, took up his waistcoat, and staggered to the corner where the swag lay...

He paused awhile, breathing painfully, and then went on.

"That - that there old dog of mine has follered me faithful and true, these twelve long hard and hungry years. He's about - about the only thing that ever cared whether I lived or fell and rotted on the cursed track."

He rested again; then he continued: "That - that there dog was pupped on the track," he said, with a sad sort of a smile. "I carried him for months in a billy, and afterwards on my swag when he knocked up....And the old girl - his mother - she'd foller along quite contented - and sniff the billy now and again - just to see if he was all right....She follered me for God knows how many years. She follered me till she was blind - and for a year after. She follered me till she could crawl along through the dust no longer, and - and then I killed her, because I couldn't leave her behind alive!"

"And this here old dog," he continued, touching Tally's upturned nose with his knotted fingers, "this here old dog has follered me for - for ten years; through floods and droughts, through fair times and - and hard - mostly hard; and kept me from going mad when I had no mate nor money on the lonely track; and watched over me for weeks when I was drunk-drugged and poisoned at the cursed shanties; and saved my life more 'n once, and got kicks and curses very often for thanks; and forgave me for it all; and - and fought for me...
He took another spell.

Then he drew in his breath, shut his teeth hard, shouldered his swag, stepped into the doorway, and faced round again. The dog limped out of the corner and looked up anxiously. "That there dog," said Macquarie to the hospital staff in general, "is a better dog than I'm a man - or you too, it seems - and a better Christian. He's been a better mate to me than I ever was to any man - or any man to me. He's watched over me; kep' me from getting robbed many a time; fought for me; saved my life and took drunken kicks and curses for thanks - and forgave me. He's been a true, straight, honest, and faithful mate to me - and I ain't going to desert him now. I ain't going to kick him out in the road with a broken leg. I - Oh, my God! my back!"

(Taken from Henry Lawson's heartbreaking story "That There Dog Of Mine" which appeared in "While the Billy Boils" published in 1896)
Source: Author Creedy

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