Nationalist Writer and Rebel
Henry Lawson (born on the Grenfell goldfields, 17th June 1867) is one of the most famous and most popular of all Australian writers. His poetry and short stories are still widely read and republished today. His work was a strong part in the expression, and development, of the Australian national identity. He continued his vast literary output right up until his death on 2nd September 1922.
Besides his cultural Australianism, his works reflect his political ideology, of which three major strands constantly appear in his writings:
1) The promotion of a republic
2) The belief in a European Australia
3) The desire for social justice.
Lawson condemned the apathy of many Australians towards the threat of Asianisation:
"A war with reason you would wage
To be amused for your short span,
Until your children's heritage
Is claimed for China by Japan
You bid me make a farce of day,
And make a mockery of death;
While not five thousand miles away
The yellow millions pant for breath!"
(From "To Be Amused", 1906)
And he saw that to fulfil the destiny of Australia would be for the Australian People's hands alone, and urged Australians to steel themselves to fight hard for our nation's independence and future. His words speak for themselves:
"By our place in the midst of the furthest seas we were fated to stand alone-
When the nations fly at each other's throats let Australia look to her own;
Let her spend her gold on the barren west, let her keep her men at home;
For the South must look to the South for strength in the storm that is to come"
(From "In the Storm That Is To Come", 1904)
"Keep the wealth you have won from the cities,
spend the wealth you have won on the land,
Save the floods that run into the ocean-
save the floods that sink into the sand!
Make farms fit to live on, build workshops
and technical schools for your sons;
Keep the wealth of the land in Australia-
make your owns cloth, machines, and guns!
Clear out the Calico Jimmy,
the nigger, the Chow, and his pals;
Be your foreword for years: Irrigation!
Make a network of lakes and canals!
See that your daughters have children,
and see that Australia is home,
And so be prepared, a strong nation,
for the storm that must surely must come"
(From "Australia's Peril", 1894)
In his day, as in ours, Nationalists had to put up with pathetic defeatists who are always quick to say "Australia's finished". Against such cowards Lawson penned:
"The parasites dine at your tables spread
(As my enemies did at mine),
And they croak and gurgle "Australia's dead"
While they guzzle Australian wine.
But we heed them never, my land, my land,
For we know how small they are,
And we see the signs of a future grand,
As we gaze on a rising star"
(From "My Land and I", 1903)
Lawson wrote of a future, where revolutionary change would be necessary to free Australia from imperialist exploitation and domination. Today such exploitation is represented by the internationalists, mass immigrationists, anti-Australian multiculturalists, and Asianisers. The pathway for his envisaged revolutionary change he made abundantly clear:
"So we must fly a rebel flag
As others did before us,
And we must sing a rebel song
And join in rebel chorus
We'll make the tyrants feel the sting
O' those that they would throttle;
They needn't say the fault is ours
If blood should stain the wattle!"
(From "Freedom on the Wallaby", 1891)
"And lo! with shops all shuttered, I beheld a city street
And in the warning distance heard the tramp of many feet...
Yes, the star of revolution's shining now as redly bright,
And the shots from Eureka sound as sharp and near to-night"
(From "Land of Living Lies", 1909)
"'Twas of such stuff the men were made who saw our nation born,
And such as Lalor were the men who led their footsteps on;
And of such men there'll many be, and of such leaders some,
In the roll-up of Australians on some dark day yet to come"
(From "Eureka, 1889")
Henry Lawson has been revered as "The people's poet", "the real voice of Australia", and was the first Australian writer to be granted a state funeral. He and his works are an integral part of our national identity and culture, and remain an inspiration to Australian nationalists in the struggle against the anti-Australian Establishment (whose traitorous days are coming to an end).
Note: The standard references for the writings of Henry Lawson are:
A Camp-Fire Yarn: Henry Lawson, Complete Works 1885-1900
A Fantasy of Man: Henry Lawson, Complete Works 1900-1922
Return to Home Page