“Balmy Harry” is my hero,

There can be no doubt about that;

I easily conjure up images,

In his prime, with walking stick, coat & hat.

He lived a troubled lifetime,

Burdened by poor hearing, alcohol & mental health,

Poor Henry remained unsettled,

Always struggling for pecuniary wealth!

George Robertson called him a genius,

Trying hard to prevent Bertha marrying him,

But despite advice from many directions,

Their first born was a son named Jim.

I think in their early days,

True love embraced the air,

Bertha was besotted…

Henry was plain unfair!

Never did my mentor manage,

To keep a “thruppence” to his name,

He avoided his Family duties,

When young Bertha also came.

Spending frequent time in Darlinghurst jail,

“Banged up”, for failure to pay his dues,

‘though friends consistently bailed him out…

Wayward Harry, could barely lose!

We laud him as our great “BUSH POET”,

In many instances, rightly so,

But declining health & alcohol,

Toward the end- began to show.

Some of his verse became self-serving,

Whence feeling sorry for himself,

Yet not having to live & cope with Henry,

I see him a’top my “BUSH- BARD’S” shelf.

Whilst his colleague Banjo Paterson,

Wrote in a notably different style,


Wins fair assessments by a mile…

But my mates, no Australian writer,

Could pen short stories, like my friend,

I doubt we’ve ever seen better,

Since 1922, at Henry’s young but tragic end.

Oh, my Henry “Hertzberg” was no Angel,

His long suffering wife, dear Bertha,

Tried her best to make things work,

But Henry hung ‘round Circular Quay,

Resorting to begging as a perk!

His life, a Shakesperean Tragedy,

Filled with blame & fame & shame,

Yet we retain the literary legacy,

AND…Still revere the LAWSON NAME!

He was the “PEOPLE’S POET”,

In the days, when inequality reigned supreme…

Henry fought to right the wrongs he saw,

“FACES IN THE STREET” – was a poor man’s dreaded dream.

Our Henry could capture our attention,

With but one outstanding line-

In a plethora of lifelong stanzas,

That went way past “AULD LANG SYNE”!

Oh “Hennery” (sic) shall always be my hero,

A fighter to his boots,

He painted our Nation in the early days,

When it struggled to find it’s roots;

Way beyond the Kowtow British influence,

To build identity, “OURS & TRUE”;


For the likes o’ me & you!



22nd August, 2017.

The iconic Henry Lawson statue in Grenfell's Main Street.

The iconic Henry Lawson statue in Grenfell's Main Street.


We love to receive your poetry here at the Grenfell Record, please forward to ngaire.soley@fairfaxmedia.com.au for publishing.