The Henry Lawson
Memorial & Literary Society Inc.

Formed in 1923 to commemorate the life of the Australian writer, Henry Lawson and to promote Australian literature, the Society continues to foster poetry and prose with regular meetings and events.

Who is Henry Lawson?

Henry Archibald Hertzberg Lawson is among the best-known Australian poets and fiction writers of the colonial period. The son of poet, publisher and feminist Louisa Lawson, and Norwegian-born miner Niels Hertzberg Larsen, Henry was born on the Grenfell goldfields of New South Wales on 17 June 1867.

Possibly Australia’s greatest short story writer, Lawson popularised the Australian vernacular in fiction. A nationalist and republican, he wrote politically into the 1890s, contributing regularly to The Bulletin.

In 1896, he married Bertha Bredt, Jr, and had two children by the marriage – Joseph and daughter Bertha. Throughout his life, Lawson’s stories and poetry appeared in over 20 collections, and in almost as many collections posthumously. His image has appeared on Australian postage stamps and currency, and bronze statues of Lawson have been erected in both Sydney and Melbourne.

Lawson struggled with deafness, depression and alcoholism throughout his life, yet these struggles never affected the quality of his prose and poetry. He died on 2 September 1922 and was the first Australian writer to be granted a state funeral. Lawson is renowned for his realistic depictions of the Australian bush and is remembered as ‘the people’s poet’.

The Society Today

Since 1923, the HLM&LS has continued to meet monthly. Under the rules of a constituted, incorporated entity, the Society is run by an elected President, Vice-President and committee.

The objectives of the society continue to

  • encourage interest in the works of the Australian writer Henry Lawson
  • erect and maintain a memorial to Henry Lawson
  • inculcate an interest in, and appreciation of, Australian literature
  • foster an Australian sentiment and pride in Australian achievement

Keeping His Legacy Alive

Membership aims to promote and preserve Lawson’s literary legacy for future generations. Come along to the Society and hear readings from Henry Lawson’s poetry and prose and the works of other like-minded poets from the past and present. Membership of the Society includes a free copy of The Lawsonian, published quarterly.

Henry Lawson’s unforgettable works are still read and discussed by many... his insightful words still quoted. The power of his pen continues.

- STATE LIBRARY OF NSW FOUNDATION