The Wilson's Almanac Louisa and Henry Lawson Chronology

Five big pages devoted to the lives and times of two remarkable Australians

Reviews and links very much appreciated:


Page 1: Louisa and Henry Lawson chronology to 1889

Copyright © Pip Wilson 2005



Blue denotes Henry's addresses on his mail (from Roderick, Colin, Henry Lawson Letters, 1890 - 1922). 
Red denotes uncertainty, eg date or fact. 
Pink denotes items placed for chronological context, etc.





Active Service Brigade • Francis AdamsFrederick Matthias Alexander • Maybanke AndersonJA AndrewsSS Aramac bombingJF Archibald Julian Ashton Australasian Secular Association • Australian Socialist League Australian Worker • Edmund Barton • Daisy Bates • Barbara Baynton Randolph Bedford • Bermagui Mystery • Annie Besant • George Black • Rolf BoldrewoodWilliam Booth • Edwin Brady • Christopher BrennanJohn Le Gay Brereton Fred Broomfield • The BulletinAda Cambridge • HH Champion William Chidley • Circular Quay Riot, 1890, Sydney • Marcus ClarkeWilliam Whitehouse Collins Charles Conder • William Patrick Crick Joseph Crouch ('Rev. Dr Oswald Keating')Dagworth Station arson • Victor DaleyEleanor DarkThe DawnDawn ClubDawn and Dusk ClubAnderson Dawson • Alfred Deakin Dulcie Deamer Frederick Deeming 'The Demon' • CJ DennisArthur Desmond George Dibbs • Ignatius Donnelly John Dwyer • Edward DysonWill DysonEureka StockadeJohn Farrell • Federation of Australia Fight of the Century • Andrew Fisher • Chummy FlemingMiles FranklinFranz Ferdinand, Archduke • Joseph Furphy/Tom Collins Edward Garnett • Henry GeorgeMay GibbsMary GilmoreVida Goldstein • Adam Lindsay GordonPercy Grainger • The Great White Fleet • Young Griffo • Hal GyeLesbia HarfordLawrence Hargrave • Charles HarpurHaymarket bombingHaymarket Martyrs John Haynes • Harry Holland • William HolmanLivingston Hopkins ('Hop')Houdini flies in Australia • William Morris HughesJandamarra • Helen JeromeDuke Kahanamoku ('The Big Kahuna') • Annette Kellerman • Ned Kelly (Glenrowan siege)Ned Kelly hanged • Henry KendallGeorgina KingRudyard Kipling • Knights of LaborLabor gov't: first in world • Annie Lane • William LaneJack LangHenry Lawson Louisa Lawson Charles Webster Leadbeater • Leigh House Limelight Department • Norman LindsayRuby Lindsay • David LowMungo MacCallum • Dorothea MackellarMary MacKillop • William MacleodTom MannDaniel Mannix • Katherine MansfieldMaritime Strike of 1890Phil MayOrpheus Myron McAdoo • George Gordon McCraeFrederick McCubbin Billy McLean shooting • William 'Machine Gun' McMillan • WHT McNamaraRichard Denis Meagher • Nellie MelbaMelbourne Anarchist Club • Emma Miller • David Scott Mitchell Captain Moonlite • Breaker MorantJack Moses/Dog on TuckerboxTom Mutch • New Australia and CosmeJohn NortonBernard O'DowdKing O'Malley • Max O'Rell Henry Steel OlcottVance & Nettie Palmer • Henry Parkes • AB 'Banjo' PatersonLarry PetrieMarie Pitt • Rosa Praed • Katharine Susannah PrichardRoderic Quinn • QVB openedRepublican Riot, 1887, SydneyHenry Handel RichardsonAlban Joseph Riley • Tom RobertsGeorge RobertsonPaddlesteamer Rodney burned • Steele RuddRose ScottShearers' Strike of 1891Kate SheppardGranny Smith • Smith's WeeklySoldiers of the Cross • Catherine Helen SpenceWG Spence Captain Starlight • AG StephensBertram StevensRobert Louis StevensonArthur StreetonRev. Charles Strong • Pat Sullivan/Felix the Cat • Rose SummerfieldSurfing origins/Isabel Letham • Sydney Anarchy Trial of February, 1894 • Sydney Anarchy Trial of June, 1894 • Sydney Ducks • Quong TartTasma (Jessie Couvreur)Adolphus George Taylor • George Augustine Taylor • The flying Taylors • Tenterfield OrationThunderboltBen Tillett • PL TraversSydney Truth • Ethel TurnerMark Twain in Australia'Up the Country' poetic contestThomas Walker • Waltzing MatildaChris Watson • Beatrice Webb • Sidney WebbRobert Bradford Williams • JC WilliamsonWilliam Nicholas Willis • Justice Sir William Windeyer • Wobbly Tom Barker arrestedWobblies outlawed Womanhood Suffrage League • Women's suffrage, Australia • Women's suffrage New ZealandWomen's suffrage, South AustraliaWorld chronology of women’s suffrage David McKee Wright • WWI anti-conscription struggle • Lamont Young • 

Other 19th-century radicals and ratbags in Wilson's Almanac


Welcome to the five-page chronology of the lives and times of Louisa Lawson and her son Henry Lawson, two Australian I greatly admire. It's my own private research for a personal project, but I thought it might interest others so I present it 'as is'. You will find links to the names of many Lawson associates in the list above, which is on this page only.

It's always under construction and can never be complete, but I hope it will be of use to other Lawsonians and give the casual reader some interesting perspectives about the lives of Australia's most famous writer and his mother, who was called 'The Mother of Women's Suffrage' by the suffragettes of her day, in a country that pioneered the vote for women worldwide. Scroll down to begin the journey.

Henry Lawson: Much more than a "bush poet"

Australian politicians and educators, particularly conservative ones, tend to promote the myth of Henry Lawson as a homespun rural author, and consequently, although there is some truth in it, a bucolic view of Lawson is very widespread – he has been washed in antiseptic and billy tea. For example, one website says "Henry Lawson lived in the country on a selection in Sapling Gully approximately 6 kms. from Mudgee in New South Wales." He was indeed reared in the bush, but from the age of 17 to his death at 55, excluding two tumultuous years in London, six months in Brisbane, and different brief periods in New Zealand, Victoria, western New South Wales and Western Australia, Henry Lawson spent virtually his entire life living in a multitude of different addresses in Sydney – a bustling world city twice as populous as San Francisco in his heyday 1890s, where he mixed with the bohemian and (often extremely) radical intellectuals and activists of the era. His mother lived exclusively in Sydney for the last 37 years of her life. The story of the Lawsons is an Australian story with worldwide ramifications, but more particularly it is an urban story of Sydney.

The 'naughty nineties' was a time of incredible ferment in Australia, a sort of 19th century version of the 'swinging sixties', one of those rare decades in which art, literature, social turmoil and bold new ideas explode on the scene. And explosion is not too strong a word: when Henry's associate Larry Petrie bombed the steamship Aramac, the Sydney Morning Herald reported "The Aramac explosion makes the eighth trouble on board ship within almost as many days". After "jolly swagman" Frenchy Hoffmeister and sixteen other unionists committed arson at Dagworth, Henry's mate Banjo Paterson wrote a song about Hoffmeister's suicide (or was it murder?), and 'Waltzing Matilda' has since been Australia's unofficial national anthem. 

It was a very different Australia from today's in many other ways, a time when the great gold rush had petered out and diggers from all over the planet were either settling down or going home; when a country that had already hosted two of the world's first ten World's Fairs was gripped in drought and our first Great Depression that closed the majority of banks; when the continent's British colonies were lurching towards Federation and a nation was being born with the second-highest standard of living in the world – while one quarter of Sydney children died before the age of five. It was also a time when people called each other "Mr", "Miss" or "Mrs", and they invariably replied to each other's emails and phone messages.

A large part of Henry's writing, especially his poetry, was political, swinging between what we would call today "left" and "right". Progressives and reactionaries, unsure of what to do with him, have preferred to ignore him or make him a kind of literary jackaroo or swagman, but the bushman Henry Lawson is largely a fantasy. Louisa Lawson's life, too, probably because she was both poor and in many ways excessively progressive for her times, has been virtually swept from public consciousness despite her incredible achievements. I hope this chronology might in some small way help to correct the historical revision of the whole 'Lawson myth', by showing these two Aussies in some kind of context.

I would like to have a link to everything written by Henry. If you can help me fill in the gaps with links to and dates of Henry's poems, or any other items you think relevant, I heartily welcome your emails. My address is in the FAQ part of the blue menu at the top of each page. Enjoy.

Pip Wilson



Lawsons chronology up to 1889, and Henry Lawson news

Click to enlarge, 172 kb, opens in new windowLawsons chronology 1890-1894  Lawson chronology 1895-1899

Lawsons chronology 1900-1909  Lawsons chronology 1910 and on

Search   Bibliography and resources   The cast of characters

Some related chronologies   Useful links   Support this free site





A life of poverty. Henry Lawson's pen superimposed on a picture of
Louisa Lawson with her baby, Henry's younger brother Charles.
Louisa, Henry, Charles, brother Peter and Henry's wife Bertha
were not only all troubled by poverty: each one of them
suffered from mental illness and spent time in "mental asylums",
as did many of the characters in the Lawsons Chronology.



Henry Lawson news from Google News and Yahoo! News





William Lawson (no relation) discovered good grazing land on the banks of the Cudgegong River. Mudgee was first settled in the 1830s.


September 15: The discovery of gold in New South Wales by James McBrien, assistant (government) surveyor, on the bank of the Fish River between Rydal and Bathurst.   Source: Gold discoveries timeline


July 25: Henry Albury (Harry) born at Maidstone, Kent.


Colony of Western Australia established at Perth by Captain James Stirling.


The official census of 1833 gave the population of the colony as 60,794, the Protestants of all denominations being 43,095, and the Catholics 17,283. 


South Australia was established, with Adelaide as its capital.


September 15: John Albury, 43, (evicted due to Enclosure Acts), arrived in Sydney on the Woodbridge, from Kent. Moved to Mudgee, with wife (Ann Ralph, 41) and eight children including 13-y-o Henry, or Harry, and three brothers and four sisters. John Albury worked at first clearing Mudgee streets of undergrowth. Worked as a timber-getter, then builder of fences, bridges, houses. Bought several blocks of land. Harry Albury was described as a strong, brown-eyed, dark-skinned youth, became a fine bushman, big in heart, gentle to his children. Worked as a bush carpenter like his father. Some qualities of a poet: Henry Lawson, his grandson, later said that his grandfather Harry had gypsy blood and family traditions; supposedly explaining Henry Lawson's and Louisa Lawson's brown eyes. Eccentric, irascible, obstinate, saved a man's life in a flooded river. 1857-71 appeared in court 12 times as a defendant (unpaid rent, goods, disorderly), twice as plaintiff. Harry drank, sometimes smashed crockery but not a drunkard, and was a great favourite of Henry Lawson's. He liked practical jokes. He never laid a hand on Louisa Lawson. See 'Grandfather's Courtship', 'Tales of a Grandfather' and 'The Mountain Splitter'.


John Fairfax and Charles Kemp bought The Sydney Herald from Frederick Stokes for £10,000.

"The streets of Sydney were first lit by gas, provided by the Australian Gaslight Company. Council left it to the private company to provide Sydney’s lighting for the next half-century."   Source


Sydney Herald became The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH).


February 4: At St Thomas's Church, Mulgoa, Louisa Lawson's father Henry Albury married Harriet Wynne (from Devon), daughter of a Methodist minister (says Henry Lawson) or of Joseph Winn, or Wynn, a traveller for a bombazine warehouse in London. Because their mother was widowed and remarried a man they didn't like, she had migrated with her sister Emma, and worked as a domestic at the homestead of George Henry Cox, of Winbourne. Harriet described as quiet and shy, tried to refine Harry.


October 8: Rose Scott was born (d. 1925).


February 17: Louisa Lawson nee Albury was born at Rouse's Station, Guntawang, about 160km northwest of Sydney, second daughter to Harry and Harriet (first daughter was called Emma, like Harriet's sister). (Later they had other children, Joseph and Ernest.) Baptised by Rev. James Gunther at C of E, Mudgee. Louisa Lawson from childhood had literary talents but illiterate Harry discouraged writing and Harriet thought it presumptuous for Louisa Lawson to have literary ambitions. Yet Louisa Lawson in 1896 wrote of her father: "A good old Kentish yeoman is father; a big strong handsome man" and "Father is a born poet. They tell me I take after him." Henry Lawson called his mother "The Chieftainess" and her daughter Gertrude said that Louisa Lawson would say "Bosh!" if she heard anything sentimental.

Louisa Lawson attended school in Mudgee, teacher Mr Allpress, a classical scholar. He lent her books and encouraged her to write verse and study prose. She was rebellious against her Methodist mother, and had some tendencies towards republicanism, radicalism, occult, mystical things. She was well-versed in Scripture. She was tall and a large build. She lacked her father's sense of humour.

Isabel Byers was born. She was Henry Lawson's housekeeper, landlady and companion for about the last two decades of his life.


1850s: "In the Sydney police district there were 400 pubs, about one to every 112 inhabitants, men, women and children. Sussex Street had 29, Pitt Street 30 and George Street, from Church Hill to the Haymarket, 90. Just for the flavour, there was one house, 6-roomed, at 142 George Street, officially counted as 'accommodating' 323 Chinese."   Source

December 28: Henry Parkes, a young Englishman, established Empire, a weekly broadsheet.


"The first discovery of a large nugget in New South Wales, in the Turon River – the 'Kerr Hundredweight' contains 39.6 kg of gold."   Source: Gold discoveries timeline

February: Edward Hammond Hargraves discovered gold at nearby (to Louisa Lawson, who was 3) Lewis Ponds Creek and the world rushed in.


Gold discovered at Gulgong.   Source

"Gold was first reported in the area north of Gantawang in October 1852 by Mr S. Stutchbury."   Source

"Annual gold production in New South Wales reaches 19.5 tonnes, a record to this day."   Source: Gold discoveries timeline


British economist William Stanley Jevons arrived in Sydney, stayed for five years.

Harry Albury bought half-acre block, Lewis St, Mudgee, for 26 pounds five shillings and built a cottage. 

Birth of Mathilde Emilie Bertha Kalkstein (later Bredt, then McNamara), at Posen; mother of Henry Lawson's wife Bertha Lawson nee Bredt.


New South Wales's first railway line linking Sydney with Parramatta.

September 26: The railway from Sydney to Parramatta opened: "Cannons were fired, flags flew, and people came in their thousands to see the first train arrive. Those who had mocked the idea of the railway were silenced amid the town's jubilation The entire rolling stock then comprised four engines with tenders from Robert Stephenson & co. and several teak carriages from Birmingham, 'richly fitted up in the most modern style.' Trains ran six times daily from 6 am at approximately two-hour intervals. Until 1861 wood was burned in the locomotives, and passengers complained almost daily about the destruction of their clothes by sparks."
Peter West, A History of Parramatta, 1990, p29

September 26: The original Sydney Station was opened in an area known as "Cleveland Fields." This station (one wooden platform in a corrugated iron shed), which was known at the time as Redfern, had Devonshire Street as its northern boundary. When this station became inadequate for the traffic it carried, a new station was built in 1874 on the same site and also was known as Redfern


Victoria, NSW and South Australia colonies agreed to collaborate on establishment of intercolonial telegraph network.

Pitcairn Islanders moved to Norfolk Island, which was placed under control of New South Wales Governor.

Voting by secret ballot introduced in Victoria and South Australia; first in world.

January 22: Niels Hertzberg Larsen did not leave Melbourne on the Chilean brig Pedro V (Captain Costa Sabina) when it set sail. There is no evidence that Larsen and his friend William Henry John Slee deserted. Larsen was short, nuggety, fair skin, blue eyes, reddish-brown hair and beard (Henry Lawson). Educated, sober, good nature, industrious. Slee and Larsen went to Lambing Flat in NSW, then New Pipeclay, near Mudgee.


March 18: William Henry Thomas McNamara was born. 


July: Telegraph links established between Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. The telegraph was extended to Brisbane in 1861.

The South Australian Advertiser founded.

September 5: Victor Daley born, Co. Meath, Ireland (d. 1858). Wrote 'Eureka'.

The George Street market was renovated and altered.

January 2: Beatrice Webb was born.

January 25: John Norton born.


Larry Petrie, labor activist and anarchist, born. Probably bombed the Aramac.

HH Champion was born.

June 6: Queensland, formerly The Moreton Bay District, was granted separation from New South Wales, Australia, as a new state, with Brisbane as its capital


"Gold (mainly alluvial) is discovered at Young (then called Lambing Flat) and in the Young district. Mining begins in the Gundaroo goldfield (continuing to 1910)."   Source: Gold discoveries timeline

"Victorian Central Board appointed to watch over the interests of Aborigines. In 1869, it is replaced by the Board for the Protection of Aborigines. The Governor can order the removal of any child to a reformatory or industrial school. The Protection Board can remove children from station families to be housed in dormitories. From 1886 the Victorian Board is empowered to apprentice Koori children when they reach 13. Children require permission to visit their families on the stations. The Protection Board is replaced by the Welfare Board in 1957. The Welfare Board is abolished in 1967."   Source

Fairfax launched the weekly Sydney Mail.

John McDouall Stuart became the first Western explorer to reach the centre of Australia.


The first Melbourne Cup was run.

The telegraph was extended to Brisbane.

South Australian Municipal Corporations Act enabled women to vote in local government elections for the first time in Australia. Women often used the right to petition parliament about proposed legislation.

"The population of Sydney is now 85,790 people, and the city is linked by telegraph to Brisbane. Serious riots occur at Lambing Flat goldfields, and the Police and military are sent to contain the situation."   Source

"Alluvial gold discovered in the Forbes-Parkes area."   Source: Gold discoveries timeline

September 6: William Lane was born.


John McDouall Stuart's expedition completed the first successful south-north crossing of the continent.

Rabbi David Alexander was Chief Rabbi in Sydney from 1862 - 1904.

September 24: Mrs Pearson appeared at the Joint Stock bank in Mudgee with 8 oz of gold from Golden Gully, near Pipeclay or Eurunderee Ck, later known as Golden Gully. It was considered a freak find and drew little enthusiasm. 

"Reef gold discovered at Parkes."   Source: Gold discoveries timeline

Harry Albury took up a 40-care selection at Budgee, near Lowe's Creek, parish of Eurunderee. His family now had six girls and one boy, Henry Lawson's first uncle, Joseph Henry, then a baby. 


February 6: The Mudgee Liberal reported goldrush at Pipeclay. The Wurth brothers George and John and father Frederick (farmers) had discovered gold about 6 km north of Mudgee at New Pipeclay, later renamed Eurunderee. Soon hundreds of tents. Within a year Harry had enough to buy a slab-pub at Sapling Gully beside the road to the shanty town. Henry Lawson refers to it in 'Granny Mathew's Red Clay Inn'. Although Louisa Lawson lacked charm, she had a beautiful voice and locals sent around the hat to send her to England for voice training but Mrs Albury was furious. Also, Harry did not want the headmaster to train her as a pupil teacher.

July 13: New York City Draft Riots, about 1,000 killed by July 17.

"There was absolutely no employment except housework for young women in those days and the last thing likely for me was domestic service, I was neither strong enough or humble enough for either; and then what about the 'red sunset', the enthralling grandeur of the sudden summer storms. yes, and there was a little altar, or red shrine, upon a bank of moss and maiden-hair, in a deep ravine upon the eastern slope of a rugged basalt range." – Louisa Lawson (she went to the shrine often and once killed a black snake there and burned it so it would not defile the shrine. She found a water-worn crystal the size of an egg, and would peer into it. She wrote of the voices at the shrine.)


February 17: AB 'Banjo' Paterson was born.

February: Harry Albury sold timber to the Pipeclay miners, then sold his Mudgee property and bought the shanty pub business at New Pipeclay. See 'Songs They used to Sing, The'. Louisa Lawson hated her father's sing-songs, and Henry Lawson only wrote from imagination as he was unborn.


Sydney GPO was begun in 1865 and completed in 1887.

June 29: Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral, built in 1821, was destroyed by fire. Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1821 had given to the Catholic Church a grant of the land on which St Mary’s was built. The damages bill from the fire was estimated at £20,000. The following year construction began on the new cathedral, with the crypt being completed in 1960. The southern end finally got its two spires in about 2000.

Neils 'Peter' Hertzberg Larsen, aged 31 (?), came to Harry Albury's pub to return a book to Emma, Louisa Lawson's sister. Louisa Lawson had thought he was more interested in her sister. He had been a Norwegian seaman and quartermaster, educated at his father's school of navigation in Norway (Arandaal?). Prout (1963) says no record exists of such a school. His three older brothers were sea captains; Henry Lawson said that they were lost at sea but no record of this. The young Peter had been sent on a voyage to Australia; he arrived 1855, from Valparaiso, Chile as quartermaster, deserting with Henry John Slee, a German from Mecklenburg. Like Quong Tart, he had a slight Scottish accent picked up on ship. Henry Lawson says he spoke and read poetry in German, understood French and wrote good English. "I don't believe a kinder man in trouble, or a gentler man in sickness ever breathed." His luck digging for gold at Ballarat failed, and he became an itinerant carpenter.

August 16: Birth of Mary Cameron (Mary Gilmore).


Prison erected in Parramatta Asylum for Criminal Lunatics.

"Gold is discovered at Grenfell and perhaps at Cobar."   Source: Gold discoveries timeline  Gold discovered at Weddin Mountains (aka Emu Creek) near Grenfell. 

July 7: Peter Larsen (31?) married Louisa Albury (18) in the parsonage at Mudgee, with the minister's wife, Sarah Turner, and Mary Luck as witnesses. Honeymoon in Peter's hut on diggings at New Pipeclay. Daughter Gertrude said that the lustre wore off after a fortnight. Louisa Lawson's mother deplored the marriage. Louisa Lawson said she married him so as to relieve the burden on her parents. William Slee dissolved his partnership with Peter and went to the rush at Weddin Mountains (Grenfell goldfields). From there he wrote to Peter asking him to join him. 

October 15: Emma Albury (21) married Christian Frederick Rotenburg at Wesleyan parsonage, Mudgee, witnesses Henry Albury and P. Larsen. They go to Grenfell with Louisa Lawson and Peter, who packed a dray and moved to the new goldfield, about 170 miles from Pipeclay. Peter staked a claim ('The Result') with Slee, Charles Jansen and John Lawrence at 'One Mile'. No gold, so Peter eked a living carting water from Daley's Dam. As a man, Henry Lawson sometimes used John Lawrence as a pen-name and alias.


First volume of Karl Marx' Das Kapital published.

June 17: "Their first child, a son, was born in a tent at the Grenfell goldfield on Emu Creek, eleven months later ..."   Source  In the early hours of the morning, Henry Lawson was born in a tent/shack beside the 'One Mile' claim. ("Though you sing of dear old Mudgee and the home on Pipeclay Flat, You were born on Grenfell goldfield – and you can’t get over that." – Henry Lawson, 'Said Grenfell to My Spirit') Ollif says Henry Lawson was born on a rainy night. Louisa Lawson told LT Maher of Croydon in 1915 (by which time she had lost contact with reality), "heavy rains had fallen, and the nurse had to be carried over the flood that came down the One-Mile". Note that the Grenfell Record of June 15 and 22 makes no reference to rain. On the contrary, the Grenfell Water Company was waiting for rain to fill a dam, and no floods were recorded anywhere in southern New South Wales until June 29 (Roderick, Colin, Henry Lawson: a life, Angus and Robertson. Sydney, 1991). Later, Louisa Lawson was to say he was the "crossest baby she ever saw". He was named Henry Archibald Lawson (not Larsen) or Henry Herzberg Lawson; no evidence of a christening. 'Lawson' is also shown in Louisa's Bible. Grenfell's population at this time was c. 7,000.

And they heard the tent-poles clatter,
        And the fly in twain was torn—
    Tis the soiled rag of a tatter
        Of the tent where I was born.
    And what matters it, I wonder?
        Brick or stone or calico—
    Or a bush you were born under,
        When it happened long ago?

And my beds were camp beds and tramp beds and damp beds,
And my beds were dry beds on drought-stricken ground,
Hard beds and soft beds, and wide beds and narrow—
For my beds were strange beds the wide world round.

    And the old hag seemed to ponder
        (’Twas my mother told me so),
    And she said that I would wander
        Where but few would think to go.

'The Wander-Light'

December: PL and family returned to New Pipeclay to work as a timber-getter with his new father-in-law and live in Albury's shanty.


Transportation of convicts to Australia ended.

Private asylum at Tempe licensed.

Reception House for mentally ill opened at Darlinghurst.

The first overseas cricket tour left Australia for England; the team was all Aboriginal.

The Kimberley: 150 Aboriginal people are killed resisting arrest.

1868 - 70: "Armed resistance by Kalkadoon people results in 299 pastoral stations being abandoned in north-west Queensland. Widespread frontier warfare in Queensland continues into the late 1880s."   Source

Baby Henry Lawson had long screaming fits. Peter hauled timber with Harry Albury.

March 12: Prince Alfred (Duke Alfred of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha), Duke of Edinburgh (1844 - 1900), the first member of Britain’s royal family to visit Australia, was shot by Irish-Australian Henry James O'Farrell, at Clontarf, a suburb of Sydney.


Sydney: Lord Belmore opened new market sheds at the Campbell Street market site and fresh fruit and vegetables were sold there.

February: Construction commenced on Sydney Town Hall; completed in 1894.   Town Hall chronology

March 3: The Cathedral Close Act (32 Vic No. 4) granted a portion of the Old Burial Ground to the Council for the erection of a Town Hall.   Town Hall chronology

June 25: Second son, Charles William, born to Louisa Lawson and Peter Larsen. Henry Lawson was jealous and wanted his father to drown him like a cat. Sometime around now, Henry Albury and family leave Pipeclay, move to Wallerawang.

May 1: Folies Bergère opened in Paris.

July 10: The Burragorang, NSW, Argus reported “extraordinary occurrences” that had “befallen three respectable men” splitting posts and rails for fencing near the town of Young, NSW – a white spectre about eight feet high.

July 15: At New Pipeclay, with the departure of the diggers, Peter applied for the 2 acres of land on which Harry Albury's shanty stood.

November 17: The Suez Canal linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, was opened by France’s Empress Eugenie in an elaborate ceremony.


Franco-Prussian War began; the French were heavily defeated, and Paris was besieged. Several artists among those who fled to England.
Married Women's Property Act finally passed.

Singapore to Port Darwin telegraph cable established by the British Australian Telegraph Company.

Fairfax's Afternoon Telegraph expired within year.

Married Women's Property Act 1870 passed in Great Britain to allow women to keep their own property and earnings after they are married.

Following a petition from 56 residents, two public lamps were erected in Sir John Young Crescent, Woolloomooloo.   Source

April: Tom Saunders, shepherd, discovered gold at Red Hill, near Gulgong. Within two months, 500 people there. By the mid 1870s, more than 20,000 people had flocked to the area.

"The discovery of rich alluvial gold leads in April 1870 brought a great influx of prospectors and Gulgong, Canadian and Home Rule became important gold-producing centres, supporting a population of 18-20 000 people.
"The alluvial leads in the district were among the richest in the State. Within the first four years of discovery, over 300 000 ounces of gold were recovered.
"The Gulgong Goldfield produced £2 175 000 of gold, most of which was won from old stream gravels as much as 60m below the surface several kilometres from Gulgong. This deep ground was discovered by tracing the ordinary shallow gold of the present-day streams at Gulgong itself to points where they dip gently under the basalt.
"The richest gold deposits were found in the upper parts of the old buried water-courses.
"Gold was first reported in the area north of Gantawang in October 1852 by Mr S. Stutchbury.
"In June 1867, gold in commercial quantities was found at Two Mile Flat on the Cudgegong River, 19km west of the present village of Gulgong."   Source

October: The rich Black Lead found at Gulgong. Then other strikes: Happy Valley, Caledonian Lead. Joe Swallow lived on the road to Happy Valley in a stone hut. Aunt Emma said Henry used to take Joe verses to read and correct (but see August 1872).

Lawson family moved from PL's Pipeclay selection and its tent, across the gully. Henry was three. The new slab-and-bark hut had two rooms.

September 15: Construction began on the monumental overland telegraph line from Adelaide to Darwin, Australia.

November 1: Christopher Brennan was born.


Anthony Trollope in Sydney.

Population of Sydney 137,586.

"Rolf Boldrewood, author of the classic novel 'Robbery Under Arms', was police magistrate and gold commissioner at Gulgong in 1871."   Source: Gold discoveries timeline

January 7: "Thomas Gale with John Allen as a passenger ascended in his balloon 'Young Australian' from Victoria Park Sydney. After floating for about 2 hours, passing over the University, Five Dock and Cockatoo Island, they came down in Delonges Bay between Tarban Creek and Kissing Point."   Source

Mach 18: The Paris Commune was proclaimed by French radicals, whose aim was to set up an independent socialist government that briefly ruled Paris from March 18 (more formally from March 26) to May 28, 1871.

June 29: Trade unions were made legal in Britain. Membership in a trade union had some time previously been punishable by transportation to Australia.

September 2: John LeGay Brereton was born.

November 10: Stanley found Livingstone.

Late in year: The Lawson family left the makeshift home and moved to Gulgong goldfields. Population 20,000. Louisa and two sisters opened a dressmaking shop. Peter staked a claim at Happy Valley, struck a little gold; Louisa Lawson took the two children, her mother, and several of her sisters, to Sydney for a holiday; they stayed in a boarding-house. It was there that Henry Lawson (4) in velveteen knickerbockers got lost and showed up in a brothel.


Saturday night trading was extended to the Campbell Street (or Belmore) market, and Paddy’s Market, with its circus and sideshows, flourished on the empty block opposite.

Men 21 years and over given the vote in Queensland. Aboriginal men specifically excluded from voting.

Adelaide to Port Darwin Overland Telegraph Line (OTL).

Peter Hermann Bredt (36; born 1836 at Schwelm, Westphalia) married Bertha Kalkstein (18), at St John's Church, Bairnsdale.

February: The Democratic Association of Victoria (DAV) was founded. It was the Australian section of the International Workingmen's Association, founded by Marx in 1864. Folded in May. Published International, established a co-operative store at 135A Little Collins St, Melbourne, and organised the Needlewomen's Co-operative Assoc'n. The Catholic press lambasted it as a Freemason and Communist conspiracy, the Protestant Standard referred to "insane levellers", influenced by Jesuit subversion and Fenian treachery (Burgman, 1985).

February 26: The brig Maria ran aground on a Queensland, Australia, reef, with the loss of 21 by drowning and 14 killed by natives. Among the passengers was 22-year-old Lawrence Hargrave.

c. August - December: Joe Swallow was found dead in his hut and buried by Harry Albury. Henry would have been too young to have been taking him verses, as Aunt Emma said. Still, something impressed Henry and he used the old man's name in 1889 and in 1894 made Joe Swallow's hut a creative rendezvous.

Henry Lawson was showing signs of depressive illness. He had a fondness for dolls. His aunts said he should have been a girl.

"Beyers and Holtermann discovered the largest single mass of gold found in Australia, and Hill End became a place where fortunes were made overnight. By 1874 there was a mile of shops, 28 hotels, five banks, several opium dens, an oyster bar, two newspapers and a brewery. The town population climbed to more than 8000, with more in outlying areas."   Source

October 21: John McLeod won the contract for construction of Sydney Town Hall Tower.   Town Hall chronology


Introduction of paper made from wood pulp. (When in Australia?)

April 22: Last stone of the Town Hall (the finial at the summit of the tower) was laid by the Mayor, James Merriman.   Town Hall chronology

June 18: USA: Susan B Anthony was fined $100 for attempting to vote in the 1872 presidential election.

July: Faced with no gold strikes,

"One day mother and father packed all the things and next morning we were called early; there was a dray at the door and we heard a great scraping overhead. Suddenly we saw the sky and next moment we were nearly blinded by a shower of pungent stringy-bark dust. Father was taking off the roof of the hut, for we carried the house with us in those days."

The family moved back to Pipeclay (about 5 miles out of Mudgee on the road from the Home Rule to Gulgong), where Larsen found that the "new" home he had built "on the other side of the gully" was occupied by the Henry Spencers, who were friendly and let the Larsens camp with them (Henry played with Spencer children). [I feel Roderick's account differs chronologically from others, but the family had problems with deeds and Dep't of Lands this year.] But it took till August to get the needed documents. The 40 acres was over the line of gold so he still had the gold bug; the land itself was too steep to plough and had poor soil which had been gouged by gold-seekers and covered with pipeclay and quartz. Peter filled in 24 holes but it was hopeless. He fenced off 10 acres, the best he could do. Henry Lawson: "Only a lifetime of bullocking could have made the place a farm". Peter sank quite a few shafts. See 'The Golden Graveyard' which depicts the hardship, and 'Peter Olsen' afraid of his wife, and the wife shamming illness. Note that Gertrude Lawson wrote that:

"At times the whole of the responsibility of the farm and family would fall upon his shoulders [ie, Henry's] when mother would develop one of those strange fits of abstraction in which she would seem to vegetate for days, taking heed of nothing and eating nothing. She would awake from these with renewed vigour to drive us all to distraction and sometimes revolt with her boundless, untiring energy ..."
Gertrude Lawson, 'Notes on the Personal Life of Henry Lawson', Mitchell Library

July 19: William Gosse first saw Uluru.

September 18: Henry's brother, Peter James Lawson was born, on the same day that a Chinese hawker came. Louisa appropriated Henry Lawson's savings of two pounds ten, and said she had used it to buy his little brother from the Chinaman. Henry Lawson thought it a bad deal. Peter Jr grew to be a cheerful and musical boy; Louisa Lawson called him 'little birdie'.

Rust and smut hit the wheat. Peter slaved with little result; often Louisa Lawson fed the family on bread, treacle and dripping.


Gold strike at Sapling Gully, Snakes Creek and Newton's paddock, extending to Log Paddock, about 5 km north of the Lawson selection. PL wanted to join the rush but Louisa Lawson had him turn one room into a store.

June 20: On the return trip from Java, The Great Blondin's ship, the RMS Flintshire, was wrecked off Townsville. Blondin spent a night of torrential rain in an open boat, which he shared with the French pianist Arabella Goddard, also in the middle of a world tour. On August 29 [qv], Blondin made several spectacular tightrope crossings of Middle Harbour, Sydney.

"Both pianiste and tight-rope walker were stranded in Townsville for a week until the heavy baggage could be removed from the ship. Madame Goddard was particularly anxious about her magnificent iron-framed Broadwood piano, built for a recent Vienna Exhibition. The weight of the piano was holding the wreck stable, and it was feared that if it was removed, the vessel would sink. During the delay, the Malay sailors left on board ransacked the passengers' luggage, and all Goddard's mementoes and gifts presented to her so far on the tour were stolen.

Storm in Sydney

"By July 1874, Madame Goddard was back in Sydney for a series of concerts at the School of Arts. The performances were so well received that the series was extended and transferred to the Royal Victoria Theatre, managed by John Bennett. In fact the public were so enthusiastic, and so clamorous for encores, that tensions started emerging as to the lady's willingness to satisfy the demands of the audiences. Some press commentators were evidently embarrassed by the crass behaviour of the Sydney audiences; others were critical of the lady for her cool demeanour.

"However, these slight tensions were nothing compared to the trouble that erupted at the end of the concert series. The problem arose when Madame Goddard refused to share the bill for a projected tour to Bathurst and Orange with one Mrs Hilton. Mrs Hilton, a music hall singer also known as Miss Liddle, had recently been performing at Sydney's Café Chantant in York Street, later the Queen's Theatre. As one of Goddard's agents put it, Mrs Hilton was "selected from halls dedicated to acrobatism, human spiders, men fish and buffoonery." 

"After Goddard received threats that her final Sydney concert would be disrupted with 'cabbages, carrots, turnips and eggs,' and a riot caused, she decided that discretion was the better part of valour and took the next steamer for Melbourne. To quote the Evening Post of August 22, Madame Goddard "skedaddled from Sydney under suspicious circumstances." It was alleged that her passage on the SS Dandenong was booked in the name of Miss Christian, an Australian member of her touring party.

"John Bennett, the disgruntled manager of the Sydney theatre, and organiser of the proposed country tour, announced her departure from the stage of the Royal Victoria on the evening of 20 August 1874. He read a letter supposedly written by Madame Goddard, which said in part: 'I have received several anonymous letters intimating that I am to expect an unfavorable reception this evening, in consequence of my not having engaged native talent to assist me. I need not tell you…how much I admire the Australian people, but I was perfectly unaware that the natives of Australia were musical. The negroes of the Southern States of America are the only musical blacks that I ever heard of.'

"The letter caused howls of protest in Sydney. Madame Goddard indignantly denied ever writing it and signed a statutory declaration to that effect. In her haste to leave Sydney, however, she had been forced to leave behind her Broadwood piano, which Bennett held to ransom and allowed other performers to use. While her agent negotiated with the aggrieved manager, Goddard was lent a substitute for the remainder of her Australian concerts."   Source: Her Majesty's Theatre, Ballarat

July 14: Peter L wrote to Dep't of Lands complaining of miners digging his land. Three days later the miners led by John Regan petitioned the Dep't claiming that Peter had forfeited his land because their hose was not actually on the 40, and it took a year to resolve in PL's favour. . Regan built a pub on the land and let it to John Johnson. Miners swarmed over the unfenced 30 acres of the property, squatting there, chopping down trees, sinking shafts. This went into 1875.

August 29: Dressed as a knight in bright metal, the famed French tightrope walker and 'Hero of Niagara' Charles Blondin (Jean Francois Gravelet, 1824 - 1891) made several crossings of Middle Harbour, Sydney, Australia. Blondin stood on his head once or twice on the journey and at one point performed the feat blindfolded. The feat was repeated on April 14, 1877 [qv] by Henri L'Estrange, an Australian daredevil who billed himself as 'The Australian Blondin'.

October 24: 19 residents met at Lawsons' store and signed a petition for a post office.


Telegraph link between Adelaide and Perth.

Gov't Gazette states that the number of licenses issued for 1875-76 was 2,325 public houses in the colony (NSW). Sydney district, 625.

Ernest Giles's inland journey.

January 1: PL, thanks to Louisa Lawson, was appointed postmaster of New Pipeclay at 11 pounds per annum.

Peter bought out John Regan and selected another 160 acres.

Henry Lawson (7) began school at Woonambula Creek; teacher Henry George Hanks.

June: Peter resigned as postmaster, giving wife's ill health as the reason. Their home was let to the new postmaster; they moved into a shanty a miner had built on their selection.

July 1: First Council meeting held at the new Sydney Town Hall.   Town Hall chronology

October: PL successfully applied for another 40 acres, and later for a further 40.

December 11: The Theatre Royal was opened (previous theatres had burned down) under the management of Samuel Lazer; it was located where Dymocks bookshop now stands at 428 George Street. It presented such famous names as Mrs Scott Siddons, George Rignold and the Soldene Opera company with its scantily clad girls. See JC Williamson who became involved with the TR.

December 29: Louisa sent application for a school to be built near their home (school was 5 km away at Pipeclay). The men had not allowed women into the meeting held to discuss the proposal, and she had watched through a crack in the wall. Note that most of the parents were of German origin.


At Sapling Gully, Peter built a weatherboard house with galvanised iron roof and brick fireplace and chimney, unusual for Pipeclay at that time. It was on the Home Rule Road, which ran to Mudgee.

April 1: 1876 Mahogany Ship: A local curiosity was referred to by Mr John Mason, of Belfast, Victoria, in the following letter to the Melbourne Argus newspaper

May 8: Truganini/Trugernanner / Lalla Rookh died aged 64.

Around now: Louisa Lawson read Robinson Crusoe to the children, and Henry Lawson was captivated:

I was born in the year 1632, in the city of York, of a good family, though not of that country, my father being a foreigner of Bremen, who settled first at Hull. He got a good estate by merchandise, and leaving off his trade lived afterward at York, from whence he had married my mother, whose relations were named Robinson, a good family in that country, and from whom I was called Robinson Kreutznear; but by the usual corruption of words in England we are now called, nay, we call ourselves, and write our name, Crusoe, and so my companions always called me.

Louisa Lawson took in sewing work.

October 2: Opening of the little slab-built school at Pipeclay/Eurunderee, built by Peter out of materials from the old hut they had moved out of, 3 km from family home. Forty-one pupils; schoolmaster John Tierney. See 'The Old Bark School' poem.

"It was about this time that he began to be deaf, but his master John Tierney was kind and appears to have done his best for the shy sensitive boy. Later on he went to a Roman Catholic school at Mudgee about five miles away. Here again the master, a Mr Kevan, was good to Lawson and would sometimes talk to him about poetry. The boy was steadily reading Dickens and Marryat and such novels as Robbery under Arms and For the Term of his Natural Life, when they appeared as serials. An aunt gave him a volume of stories by Bret Harte which fascinated him and introduced him to a new world. These books no doubt helped to educate him for writing, for handicapped by his deafness he could learn little at school, he was no good at arithmetic, and never learned to spell."   Dictionary of Australian Biography

Peter worked as carpenter in Mudgee. Built a railway station. Twelve-hour days, walk home, then work on farm such as digging a dam.

Family had an old harmonium at this time.

Henry regarded by his peers as honest – too honest. And Gertrude said the other kids called him a "prig". He was a loner, and seemed unhappy. His job was to wake the teacher. Maybe a drinker? Henry Lawson couldn't spell. He attended local Sunday school which all the kids loved because of refreshments at the end, but Henry Lawson never referred to this.

December 26: Sheridan Corbyn's troupe of Georgia Minstrels appeared at the School of Arts in Sydney.


Edison produces the first telephone and the first phonograph.

Australia and England played the first-ever cricket Test match in Melbourne.

"The Callan Park branch of Gladesville Mental Hospital was opened with the transfer of 44 male patients from Gladesville Hospital to the 'Callan Homestead'. A boat, the "Mabel", made daily trips between the two hospitals."   Source

Henry Parkes knighted.

April 14: The annual exhibition (not the International Exhibition, see September 17 1879 below) was opened at Prince Alfred Park in Sydney. Forerunner of the Royal Easter Show and had been a tradition in the city for many years. Henri L'Estrange walked a hempen tightrope across Willoughby Bay, part of Middle Harbour. It was the same crossing that The Great Blondin (Jean François Gravelet) himself had made several times on August 29, 1874.

April 30: Twin daughters born to Louisa Lawson and Peter; Gertrude and Annette (Henrietta; Nettie), at Louisa Lawson's mother's home in Lewis St, Mudgee.



Sir Henry Parkes installed for a 3rd time as premier of New South Wales.

Callan Park: Work commenced on the new stone buildings designed for approximately 700 patients. The stone was quarried on site.   Source  Lunacy Act drawn up. Department of Lunacy established. FN Manning became first Inspector General of the Insane.

Steam-powered trams were introduced to Sydney. "They ran on tracks laid from Hunter Street along Elizabeth Street to the Devonshire Street Station. During the next few years the service was extended to Woollahra, Waverley, Glebe, Forest Lodge, Camperdown, Leichhart and Annandale."   Source

Ruskin-Whistler libel trial.

Population of New Pipeclay, circa 175.

January 8: Black Wednesday: mass sackings of judges, magistrates and courts precipitated by Victorian Premier Graham Berry to save the Government money.

January 14: Queen Victoria received a personal demonstration of Alexander Graham Bell's invention, the telephone.

January 20: Nettie Lawson, aged 8 months (Henry Lawson was 10), and the only fair and blue-eyed child, died of "English cholera" (probably gastro-enteritis). Louisa Lawson in terrible grief, found solace in writing poetry. Later she wrote 'My Nettie', published in the Mudgee Independent

With rapture I gaze for by faith do I see
The child that my Saviour has taken from me,
Secure in His arms in that beautiful place.

Other poems on similar topic: 'In Memorium – A Child's Question'; 'All's Well'. Henry idealised his dead sister, sometimes calling her 'Henrietta'. In his fragment of autobiography (FA), Henry Lawson says that from that day a dark cloud hung over the Lawson family. On September 29, 1920, he asked G Robertson to help arrange a headstone for her grave in the old cemetery near Flirtation Walk, to the left of Havilah Way. See 'A Child in the Dark, and a Foreign Father'.

Peter was rarely at home. When he did come home, he would find Louisa Lawson in poetic distraction; tensions increased. See 'A Child in the Dark, and a Foreign Father'.

Around now, Henry Lawson composed 'William the Conqueror', probably inspired by Louisa Lawson's poetry. Peter threw it in the fire, calling it a waste of time. PL was possibly jealous of Louisa Lawson's writing, but also needed Henry's help to maintain the farm. If Henry Lawson went for a swim with his siblings, they rubbed dust on to not betray what they'd done.

December 21: Henry Parkes became Premier of NSW, until succeeded by Alexander Stuart on January 5, 1883.



Edison's work on electric light was finally successful.

London got its first telephone exchange. 

Australia's first telephone service opened in Melbourne.

Muybridge's stop-frame photographs first appeared.

First Australian Trade Union Congress.

Sydney's Opera House, a theatre for comic opera and vaudeville, opened. It was housed in a warehouse on the corner of King and York Streets. It underwent a series of renovations and reconstructions and was condemned in 1900.

Premier Sir Henry Parkes sent police with artillery to suppress a miners' strike at New Lambton in the Hunter Valley.

February 1: The spiritualist journal, Harbinger of Truth, wrote that there were 240 adherents at Gulgong. In a Henry Lawson story (Bulletin, March 30, 1922), he describes a seance held in his own home. On one occasion, according to Henry Lawson, Louisa Lawson tried to contact her son who had run away from home. A Norwegian ancestor spoke, and Louisa Lawson abruptly broke up the meeting, not liking Peter in her limelight.

March 13: PL, who built the new school, handed it over to the school board. Inspector found it built badly. Payment in full took till c. Feb 1880.

Around now: Henry Lawson and his brother transfer to the Roman Catholic school in Mudgee after the Lawsons quarrelled with the schoolmaster. The District Inspector sometimes talks to Henry Lawson about poetry. At home, with help of Louisa Lawson, Henry Lawson was reading Robbery under Arms, For the Term of His Natural Life and Bret Harte's gold rush stories. Louisa Lawson read them Edgar Allan Poe and poems of Henry Kendall and Adam Lindsay Gordon. At school he was a loner, sometimes a truant. The boys were sent to Sunday School (protestant) in Mudgee, which alienated Henry Lawson from his Catholic school peers, who taunt him, calling him "Chummy" and "Barmy Harry". His teacher, Charles Kevan, talked to Henry Lawson about poetry and Edgar Allan Poe. He read Dickens 'Old Curiosity Shop'. Before he was 14 he'd read Don Quixote, Robbery Under Arms, Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer.

Around now (?): Peter Lawson put a noose around naughty Charlie's neck to discipline him. Charlie was kept indoors for a week, then he ran away for a week, walking hundreds of km to the home of his grandmother, who now lived at Granville.

April 14: Henri L’Estrange became the first person to use a parachute in Australia, when his balloon burst over Melbourne. (October 22, 1797 was first parachute jump.)

September 17: The Sydney Garden Palace international Exhibition: "evolved from what began as a regional event, planned by the Agricultural Society of New South Wales Even after its sudden transformation into a world exhibition, the proceedings at the Garden Palace retained much of the form and spirit of the old fair - especially in the sideshows and other minor attractions". "Sydney held Australia's first international exhibition, a showcase of invention and industry from around the world. An imposing Garden Palace was built in the Botanic Gardens as a home for the exhibition. The show was so popular that the government bought many of the star exhibits and set up the Technological, Industrial and Sanitary Museum, the grandparent of the Powerhouse Museum." (Exhibition till April 20, 1880.)   Source

"Colonial Architect James Barnet's Garden Palace, constructed for the 1879 Sydney International Exhibition in the grounds of the Botanic Gardens, was erected in eight months using electric lights imported from England so that work could be carried out at night. It would be another 25 years before the then Lady Mayoress, Mrs Samuel E Lees turned on the switch to illuminate the streets of Sydney using power from Pyrmont Power Station. Sadly the Garden Palace was destroyed by fire on 22 September 1882 ..."   Source   List of exhibitions around this time

The Paris Communards were given amnesty and Lucien Henry (1850 - March 10, 1896) arrived in Sydney. That year the International Exhibition was held in Sydney, ushering in a decade of prosperity in the colony. Henry played a leading role in the popular movement to defend the Paris Commune in 1871 and as Chef de la Legion was responsible for the defence of the 14th arrondissement. Henry, along with 4,000 other Communards was incarcerated in the French penal colony of New Caledonia for seven years. Henry took up a teaching position at Sydney Technical College. His major work was a proposed book entitled, Australian Decorative Arts, for which he made some one hundred watercolour designs between 1889 and 1891. In the years preceding Federation, Henry designed distinctive Australian images for public buildings and monuments.   More

October 14: Miles Franklin was born.

November 18: Augustus Wernicke (15) of Captain Moonlite's gang was shot at Wantabadgery Station, in the Wagga Wagga district. Wernicke is said to have cried when shot, "Oh, God, I am shot and I'm only fifteen".

"Constable Bowen hit a second bushranger, but was then shot dead by Scott. When a third bushranger was hit, Scott surrendered. Nesbitt was dead and Wernicke died a few days later. It was at first thought that the Kelly gang had been captured.
  "At the trial in Sydney, Scott pleaded for the lives of his three surviving companions. "If the law has been so broken that it must be avenged by a human life," he said, "let me be the victim and spare these youths. God created them for something better than the gallows." Scott and Rogan were hanged on 20 January 1880. The death sentences on Bennett and Williams were commuted to life imprisonment."   Source


First Kodak camera appeared; it could take 100 shots but had to be returned to the factory for processing.

Nellie Stewart, from Sydney, acclaimed actress in the 1880s.

Ned Kelly was captured at Glenrowan at dawn on June 28, 1880, sentenced to death by Sir Redmond Barry on October 29, and hanged in Melbourne on November 11.

School attendance became compulsory in New South Wales.

January 20: Captain Moonlite (Andrew George Scott and Thomas Rogan were hanged.

January 31: First edition of The Bulletin, founded by two journalists, JF Archibald and John Haynes. The Bulletin 's literary editor, AG Stephens, was the main inspiration for the 'Bulletin school'. Among the better-known contributors were the writers Henry Lawson, Banjo Paterson, Bernard O'Dowd, Joseph Furphy (Tom Collins), Miles Franklin (Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin) and Vance and Nettie Palmer, the cartoonist Livingston Hopkins ('Hop) and the illustrator and novelist Norman Lindsay.   Source  The magazine operated in Reiby Lane, off Pitt Street, Sydney.

February 12: "Mayor Robert Fowler hosted the first official event in the newly completed Vestibule of Sydney Town Hall. The Mayor entertained the foreign and colonial commissioners to the first International Exhibition which was held in Sydney between 17 September 1879 and 20 April 1880. Robert Fowler's father, Enoch, founded the successful Fowler pottery works which by 1879 had relocated to Glebe, where its production of drainpipes and sanitary wares could barely keep pace with Sydney's suburban building boom."   Source

April 20: International Exhibition in Sydney ended.

June: PL began work on the sawn-timber school at Canadian Creek. Henry Lawson helped him. PL was becoming more withdrawn, says Henry Lawson. The work was hard and tiring. "Home life was unspeakably wretched."

"When Henry was about 14 he left school and began working with his father who had got the contract to build a school at Canadian Lead. His childhood was now at an end. He had lived in poor country, where the selectors slaved for a wretched living, and his experiences were to colour the whole of his subsequent literary work. Some time after this his parents agreed to separate, the exact time is uncertain, but in 1884 Mrs Lawson and her family were living in Sydney. The house, however, seems to have been taken in the father's name as he appears in the Sydney Directory for both 1885 and 1886 as Peter Lawson, builder, 138 Phillip Street."   Dictionary of Australian Biography

Henry Lawson left school to help his father build a school at Mudgee; Louisa disapproved. Henry Lawson attended two other schools at different times between building jobs, for several months each. He also had to milk six cows before dawn and other farm chores. He was close to Gertrude. Later, Peter and Henry Lawson split rails and palings for the Wallerawang-Mudgee railway (on which work commenced on September 23).

Henry Lawson went to Sydney for treatment for his deafness. He lived with his grandmother at Granville, with her happy-go-lucky boarders. To pay for his board he painted houses at Granville for 30s a week. He returned to Pipeclay at teh height of a bad dought.


Smallpox epidemic in Sydney, Board of Health established.

Population of Sydney 224,939.


The Kimberley gold rush.

The Royal Prince Alfred Hospital opened on Missendon Road with capacity for 146 patients.

Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) established in Australia.

Eleven o'clock closing for pubs was introduced in Sydney. (Pearl, 1958)

"The Balmain Steam Ferry Company was formed in 1882.  A rival company, the Balmain New Ferry Company was formed in 1892 offering a cheaper one-penny fare inducement to Balmain’s working-class residents."   Source: Sydney by Ferry

February 12: George Robertson arrived in Sydney from New Zealand.   Source

April-May: PL and Henry Lawson worked on buildings at Rylstone. Henry Lawson hated it.

July 27: James Donovan, Thomas Walker and others found the Australian Secular Association. From February, 1884, Joseph Symes, who came to Melbourne from England. was president, chief lecturer and editor of its journal, The Liberator. Largely out of this association grew the Melbourne Anarchist Club, political home of activists such as Chummy Fleming, who attended the (2nd annual) Secular Conference in Sydney in 1884.

"Almost all the executive positions on the Liberator Publishing Coy at its launch, as were ASA posts throughout its early years, were filled by men who later turned to anarchism, the most prominent being the Andrade brothers, Fred Upham, Donovan and George Newberry. Other secularists who went from the ASA to play prominent parts in anarchist history included John William Fleming, Rose Stone, William McNamara and John Andrews ... In those days readers' interests were decidedly international and not surprisingly the ASA began receiving specifically anarchist literature from overseas around 1884-1885. There was no home-grown product before 1887."   Source

August 1: Death of poet Henry Kendall.


First photogravure printed in Britain.

Half-tone printing plates introduced.

Silver discovered at Broken Hill.

McIlwraith annexed New Guinea.

NSW Aboriginal Protection Board (APB) established to enforce the segregation and control of Aboriginal people on reserves. In 1915 the Board was empowered to remove and apprentice Koori children without a court hearing.   Source

Parramatta: Intercolonial Juvenile Industrial Exhibition.

Criminal Law Amendment Act reintroduced flogging in NSW. Even a boy "apparently over the age of ten" (but who might actually be younger) could get 18 lashes for picking a flower, graffiti or publicly blaspheming or swearing. The cat o' nine tails was reintroduced to New South Wales gaols. (Pearl, 1958)

Drought at Pipeclay.

January 5: Alexander Stuart succeeded Henry Parkes as Premier of NSW. Stuart was succeeded by George Dibbs, Protectionist, on October 7, 1885.

Peter and Louisa Lawson amicably separated and Peter made a will on January 20, bequeathing all to Louisa Lawson. Peter took Henry Lawson to the Blue Mountains to find building work. For a few weeks, Henry Lawson, aged 16 on June 17, lived at Mt Victoria with Harry Albury, in a separate hut to the house of which his grandfather was caretaker.

May: Louisa Lawson took the other three children to Sydney. Charles 13 years 11 months, Gertrude 6, Peter 9 years 7 months. Louisa Lawson reasoned that in Sydney she would be able to allow the children to see Peter more easily in the mountains. They leased the house to Harry O'Brien, who resided there for 30 years. Peter continued to send maintenance money to Louisa Lawson. Louisa Lawson rented a cottage in Enmore Rd, Marrickville and started a boarding-house. Ten-year-old Peter James Lawson (hereinafter referred to as Peter Jr) attended Fort St School, is popular, played piano. On Sundays he was bellows-boy for the St Andrew's Cathedral organ (made in London, installed in 1868). A few years later he was himself a church organist. Also developed bohemian tendencies, shared many of Henry Lawson's friends and played piano in a pub. (In the 1890s he toured the country as a spear-carrier in a show.)

June 14: A huge crowd gathered in Albury on the Murray river, to witness the connection between the railways of New South Wales and Victoria.

August 30: Charles Lawson, 14 and two months, remanded to the police at Sydney Central Police Court (possess stolen revolver charge). Sentenced to 3 months hard labour.

October 10: Charles Lawson in court while still serving his previous sentence, this time charges of stealing a saddle and bridle; 12 months hard labour.

November 13: Foundation stone for the Main Hall of Sydney Town Hall was laid by the Mayoress, Mrs Lizzie Henrietta Harris.   Town Hall chronology


Hugh McKay invented the combine harvester, making it feasible for Australia to export wheat.

(2nd Annual) Secular Conference held in Sydney. Chummy Fleming attended.

"The new asylum for the insane, Callan Park officially opened. Described as a magnificent collection of buildings."   Source

Joseph Banks Pleasure Grounds on Botany bay had 25 acres of lawns and a pavilion for 10,000, a Vairiety theatre and a hotel.

By 1884 the Sydney Evening News was selling 40,000 daily. John Norton got a reporting job.

Masonic Hall was in York Street.

Floggings at Darlinghurst Gaol seen from Forbes Street.

Louisa Lawson's boarding-house was unsuccessful and Louisa Lawson and kids moved to 138 Phillip St, Sydney with Henry Lawson, Peter junior and Gertrude. Louisa Lawson found work as a seamstress.

March 13: Daisy Bates (Daisy May O'Dwyer) married Breaker Morant but it broke up after a few weeks.

April 5: John Norton arrived on the Haverton at Sydney, from UK, having set sail from London on January 31.

October 15: "The Illawarra railway line is opened with stations at Erskineville, St Peters, Marrickville (now Sydenham) and Cooks River (now Tempe). The Commissioner for Railways declines on 11 November 1885 to rename St Peters as Enmore."   Source



The idea of an Australian national day was put forward by a Mr HI Swifte, and was taken to the Victorian premier, who liked the concept and put it before the other premiers. 'Foundation' or 'Anniversary' Day was soon gazetted in each of the colonies.

Creation of the first genuine bicycle, the Rover, by John K Starley.

John Boyd Dunlop invented the pneumatic tire.

W.S. Gilbert & Arthur Sullivan's The Mikado

The Times reported that "A lady well-known in literary and scientific circles" had been cremated by the Cremation Society in Woking, Surrey. She is the first person to be officially cremated in the United Kingdom.

William Stanley, Jr. builds the first practical alternating current transformer device, the induction coil.

Local anesthetic

First skyscraperHome Insurance Building in Chicago, Illinois, USA (10 floors)

Pacific Island Labourers Act Amendment Act 1884 (Qld).

British Protectorate declared over south-eastern New Guinea; Germany then annexed north-eastern New Guinea

Henrietta Dugdale, Annie Lowe and Vida Goldstein form Victorian Women's Suffrage Society, soon followed by active societies in all the Australian colonies. Population of Victoria: 991,869 [Source: Victorian Year Book].

Penny-farthing bicycles first appeared.

Rosehill racecourse opened, near Parramatta, Sydney.

Song of the year: 'Sleep, Baby, Sleep'.

English-born William Lane , 24,arrived in Brisbane, from Canada and US. He had a club foot and walking stick.

Early 1880s, Sydney had 288,000 population and 3,167 pubs. Arrests for drunkenness in NSW in 1885 were 27 per 1,000 of population; in Victoria, 11.6 per 1,000.  (Pearl, 1958)

February 17: Daisy Bates married John Bates, an Australian born man of action, breaker of wild horses, bushman and drover.   Source

February 18: Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published for the first time.

March 3: The Soudan contingent set sail from Sydney.

"The contingent, an infantry battalion of 522 men and 24 officers and an artillery battery of 212 men, was ready to sail on 3 March 1885. It left Sydney amid much public fanfare, generated in part by the holiday declared to farewell the troops; the send-off was described as the most festive occasion in the colony's history. Support was not, however, universal, and many viewed the proceedings with indifference or even hostility. The nationalist Bulletin ridiculed the contingent both before and after its return. Meetings intended to launch a patriotic fund and endorse the government's action were poorly attended in many working-class suburbs, and many of those who turned up voted against the fund. In some country centres there was a significant anti-war response, while miners in rural districts were said to be in 'fierce opposition'."   Source

March 17: The 11th parliament of NSW opened in Sydney.

c. April 11: Royal commission on blackbirding gave its recommendations.

April 27: Charles Lawson, aged nearly 16, sentenced at Condobolin to 3 cumulative sentences of four months for horse stealing.

May: First known Henry Lawson poem, 'Shadows Before'.

May: Colonies prepared for possible Russian invasion. Torpedoes at the ready and both ends of the harbour lit by red lights, with a steamer at the heads to warn unsuspecting vessels of the changes.

June 5: The Newtown Courthouse was completed.

June 17: The Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbor. Henry Lawson's 19th birthday.

June 19: Soudan contingent from New South Wales arrived back in Sydney. Pics

June 24: Soudan contingent marched through city.

"The contingent arrived in Sydney on 19 June. They were expecting to land at Port Jackson and were surprised to disembark at the quarantine station on North Head near Manly as a precaution against disease. One man died of typhoid there before the contingent was released. Five days after their arrival in Sydney the contingent, dressed in their khaki uniforms, marched through the city to a reception at Victoria Barracks where they stood in pouring rain as a number of public figures, including the Governor, Lord Loftus, the Premier, and the commandant of the contingent, Colonel Richardson, gave speeches."   Source

August 8: Rev. Dr Patrick Francis Moran, RC, Archbishop of Sydney, was made a cardinal. 

August 8: The Amateur Photography Society of NSW held its first meeting.

September 1: The Brisbane Trades and Labour Council was formed.

September 3: First train to Bourke greeted by dignitaries.

September 15: Death of the largest elephant in captivity PT Barnum’s famous Jumbo, which was hit by a locomotive while crossing tracks; he died instantly.

October 7: The Third Intercolonial Trades Union Conference commenced.

October 7: George Dibbs, Protectionist, succeeded Alexander Stuart as Premier of NSW, and remained in power until December 22, 1885 when he was succeeded by Sir John Robertson.

November: Sheet Anchor won the Melbourne Cup.

November 7: Canadian Pacific Railway finished: In Craigellachie, British Columbia, construction ends on a railway extending across Canada. Prime Minister John A. Macdonald considered the project to be vital to Canada.

November 15: The Sunday Times, NSW's first Sunday newspaper was published.

This year? Probably: Henry went to work at Clyde for Hudson brothers' railway carriage workshops, six days a week for 5 shillings a day, no time for leisure. He also worked at their branch at Wickham near Newcastle for a while "where he soon came to despise himself" (Roderick, 1991). He hated the "wasted time". His sensitivity made him pander to the foreman whom he despised and he felt himself becoming a hypocrite, and his spirit bullied out of him. Most of his money went to Louisa Lawson's purse, but he had to buy and wash his own clothes. (Peter Sr sent all but 5s of his wages.) Louisa Lawson sent for Henry Lawson to come home from Newcastle ("I was soon wanted at home, or my board money perhaps"). For a few weeks he worked at Hudson's timber yard but was sacked because of "slackness of work". He felt a failure and read lives of autodidacts. Henry Lawson haunted the wharves hoping to find a ship to take him to America. He was heckled by the other workers. In the evenings he studied history and English grammar in classes at St James's Hall in Phillip St (teacher Mr Weiss). Ollif tells us Henry Lawson dabbled in hypnotism, but does not name the date. He got caught up in the wave of socialism. He got a job with a profane coach painter who had a factory in Castlereagh St (the model for Collins in 'Two Boys at Grinder Brothers''). Second half of 1885 Henry Lawson got job with William Kerridge, carriage maker, 267 Castlereagh (WK wrote Henry Lawson a good reference on July 10, 1887).

"In later years he would write of putting his alarm clock on a tin sheet touching his pillow so the vibrations would wake him in time to head off for work. Still he would remain awake half the night, fearful of missing the alarm. 'There were times I would have given up my soul for another hour's sleep.' He'd head for the workmen's train, past huddled, rag-wrapped forms of the unemployed sleeping on benches or on the grass. Once at the coach works he'd begin his twelve-hour shift, taking down the old surface of carriage sides, applying the lead coloring and filling material, then buffing the new coat to a shine. Often blood would come from his fingertips and begin trickling over the pumice stone. At the end of his shift it was off to night school for a few hours before dragging himself home to begin the daily cycle all over again. Possibly in part because of his handicap he failed his final exam."   Source

Towards the end of the year Louisa Lawson visited Henry Kendall's grave and found it neglected. Story here. Between 1885 - 87, 138 Phillip St was becoming a salon for men and women interested in journalism, free thought, spiritualism, republicanism, etc.

December 18: Victorian Parliament passed the Factories and Shops Act, protecting conditions of women and children employed in factories and shops.

December 22, 1885 Sir John Robertson succeeded George Dibbs as Premier of NSW, and was in power until February 26, 1886 when he was succeeded by Sir Patrick Jennings, Protectionist.

Henry Lawson poems in 1885

"Shadows Before" (MS)



1886 in literature

1886 - last gold found in South Australia. South Australians celebrated the golden jubilee of their province in 1886-87 with fanfare and an International Exhibition.   See SA depression of 1890s  South Australian Village Settlement Schemes

William Guthrie Spence and David Temple began organising shearers; establishment of Australasian Shearers Union in the town of Creswick near Ballarat in Victoria.   Source

BHP opened silver and lead smelting works in Broken Hill, NSW. 

The Aboriginal Protection Act allows for Aboriginal children to be removed from their mothers.

The Catholic Archbishop's Residence was completed at Manly.

Alfred Dampier presented Sydney audiences with plays such as His Natural Life in 1886 and The Life and Death of Captain Cook in 1888. 

1886: African-American troupe of Frederick J Loudin and the Fisk Jubilee Singers toured Australia. Orpheus Myron McAdee was one of them. Died in Sydney in 1900, buried in Waverley Cemetery.

"Following the first tour of the Georgia Minstrels,a number of other black troupes were to follow with an off-shoot of the world-famous Fisk Jubilee Singers arriving in Australia in 1886 & touring extensively throughout Australiasia [sic] with great success. From this first troupe of Fisk Jubilee Singers, Mr.O.M.McAdoo was to see the potential of future ventures & toured Australasia & Africa with his own jubilee & minstrel company over the proceeding years until his untimely death in Sydney on the 17th July,1900. His theatrical companies contained some of the best black minstrel acts as well as singers/musicians to ever appear in Australia, with such stars as William James Ferry (Ferry the frog), Billy McClain, Miss Flora Batson, C.W.Walker, Prof.Henderson Smith, etc. (Billy McClain originally came to Australia with M.B.Curtis's Afro- Americans). 

"F.J.Loudin's Fisk Jubilee Singers original tour spurned many derivative organisations besides the McAdoo troupe of jubilee singers with Huntley Spencer (former member of the Era Comedy Four with Hugo's American Minstrels) being associated with a troupe of Fisk jubilee singers as late as 1936 in New Zealand. Numerous Australian & New Zealand performers were to be in one of the many "Fisk Jubilee Singers" groups to have flourished following the visit of Loudin's Fisk Jubilee singers in 1886. 

"Another important early black minstrel troupe to tour was Charlie Hick's Minstrels of 1888, which featured artists which were to stay for many years on the Australasian stage, notably Irving Sayles, Charley Pope, Wallace King, Billy Speed & the Connor brothers. Their first performance was on the 1st of September,1888 at the Opera House in Sydney." 

c. 1885-6: Later, Henry Lawson wrote of this time of dodgy employment (and of his mother): "I knew what it was to drift about the streets in shabby and patched clothes and feel furtive and criminal-like. I knew all that before I wrote 'Faces in the Street' – before I was twenty. I knew what it was to go home to a cold, resentful, gloomy and unbelieving welcome, and blind unreasoning reproaches at the very least." He was glad to escape 138 Phillip St to his father's camp in Blue Mts or grandfather's hut. " ... his mother was without exception the dirtiest housekeeper I ever knew" (Mary Gilmore in 1923). Henry Lawson moved out of house at weekends to listen to George Black and his republican and free-thought friends, including English republican rationalist and spiritualist lecturer (and President of Australian Secular Assoc'n) Thomas Walker (charged in 1885 with obscene articles because of birth control diagrams. He was elected to legislative Assembly on February 17, 1887 and was Member for Northumberland till June 25, 1894; MP in WA from 1905-32, also Attorney-General, and Speaker from 1924-30); socialist William Henry McNamara; free-thinker William Whitehouse Collins (1853 - 1923) – "a host of Yankee free-thought and socialistic lecturers. I wore the green in fancy, gathered at the rising of the moon, charged for the fair land of Poland, and dreamed of dying on the barricades to the roar of the Marseillaise – for the young Australian republic." (Henry Lawson, 1899). Note, McNamara arrived in Sydney later, probably in 1887.

January 18: Wharf labourers returned to work after their 18-day strike. The Seamen's Union had gone out in sympathy. The Wharf Labourers' Union and the Employers' Union agreed that an independent arbitration committee should be established.

January 19: Marrickville Council urged the prevention of further pollution of Cooks River.

January 29: The Federal Council of Australasia, meeting for the first time in Hobart, sent a telegram to the Queen about their concerns about the annexation of the New Hebrides by France, and the previous year's annexation of the northern part of New Guinea by Germany.

February 26: Sir Patrick Jennings, Protectionist, became Premier of New South Wales and was succeeded on January 20, 1887, by Sir Henry Parkes, Free Trade.

March: End of convict transportation to Western Australia.

May 1: "The first anarchists organisation in Australia was the Melbourne Anarchist Club, established in 1886, almost at the same time as the Haymarket (Chicago) explosion occurred. Such was the deliberate and inevitable misrepresentation of this event, that it is doubtful if the Club would have been established, at least publicly, if the 'Haymarket affair' had occurred a fortnight earlier." Reader of Australian Anarchism, by Bob James (??? It did take place a fortnight earlier.) (Source of date.) Melbourne Anarchist Club Manifesto published in May, 1886.

May 4: Haymarket bombing, Chicago.   The Haymarket Affair Downunder

May 30: At about 9 pm, SS Ly-ee-Moon (Captain Webber) was wrecked on a reef off Green Cape Lighthouse in Southern New South Wales. En route to Sydney from Melbourne, 71 souls were lost, with the lighthouse keepers only being able to save 15 people. One of the victims was Mrs Flora Hannah MacKillop of St Kilda, Melbourne, mother of Mary MacKillop, the woman likely to be Australia's first saint. Another was Mr Griffen who apparently boarded the Ly-ee-Moon instead of his intended vessel. An inquest was held on June 1 before the Coroner, Mr Magnus, JP, of Eden.

"The Ly-ee-Moon was built as a paddle steamer in 1859 by the Thames Shipbuilding Company of Blackall, London, England. She was designed by J. Ash specifically for use in the opium trade. The ship was just over 282 feet long and 27 feet wide. She displaced 1,202 tons and was powered by a coal powered steam engine which turned paddle wheels. She was also rigged with three masts and sails. At trials, the new ship attained 17 knots, an amazing speed for the time and the fastest speed ever attained to that time by a British built vessel. Not only was she the fastest steamer around, she was also lavishly furnished. It is stated that she was built for Dent and Company. It is also said she was a sistership to the Royal Yacht, Victoria and Albert ... In 1860 or 1861, the Ly-ee-Moon was used as a blockade runner during the American Civil War. Apparently she ran in and out of Charleston, South Carolina and this was far more profitable (and one imagines, dangerous) than her intended trade. At the end of the war in 1865, she moved to Hong Kong ...
  "On Wednesday 3 June 1886 the ship was reported to be totally broken up and bodies were seen floating off the point. The next day the Captain Cook collected several bodies, including one of an elderly lady. This was Mrs Flora Hannah MacKillop of St Kilda, Melbourne. Mrs MacKillop was an 'elderly lady, mother of the Mother Superior of St Joseph's Provident Institution'. The Mother Superior was Mother Mary MacKillop, the person most likely to be canonised by the Catholic Church as Australia's first Saint. Mrs MacKillop, one of the Saloon passengers, was on her way to Sydney to see her two daughters, Mary and another who was also a nun."   Source

June 2: President Grover Cleveland married Frances Folsom in the White House.

June 10: Australian Antarctic Exploration Committee set up (interest in commercial whaling).

August 30: Quong Tart married a young Lancashire-born school teacher, Margaret Scarlett, and they raised a family of six children. Her father refused to bless the marriage or attend the wedding.

October 13: Melba's professional debut in Verdi's Rigoletto at the Theatre Royale de la Monnaie, Brussels.

October 28: The 49 m-tall statue of ‘Liberty Enlightening the World’ was dedicated in New York Harbor by President Grover Cleveland. She was created by French sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi. It has been said that the face is that of his mother. The original idea of the Statue of Liberty was not received well by either the US federal nor New York state governments. However, due to a campaign stated by publisher Joseph Pulitzer, funds were raised for the American half of the bill in only five months.

November: The Australian Society of Friends held a conference to promote world peace.

November 20: Lord Carrington unveiled the tomb of Henry Kendall. Unfortunately for Louisa, most of the credit for this act of recognition of Kendall, and for the monument, went to the better-heeled members of Sydney 'society'.

November 29: Justice Sir William Windeyer brought down the death sentence on nine youths who had raped servant girl Mary Jane Hicks, 16, in Moore Park on September 9.

December2: Trade unions made legal in Queensland (Premier Samuel Griffith's Trade Unions Act).

December 8: Collision of SS Keilawarra (steaming to Brisbane) and SS Helen Nicol (inward bound from the Clarence River), with the loss of 43 lives.

December 8: The American Federation of Labor was founded.



1887 in literature

Yellow river flooded in China; 900,000 dead.

First Colonial Conference.

"Creswick, Bourke and Wagga Wagga unions form Amalgamated Shearers Union of Australia; Creswick dominates. Spence, president, Temple secretary. Formation of Queensland Shearers Union. Biggest Queensland union by 1889."   Source

"Patrick Edwin Fallon develops an extensive vineyard from Collaroy to North Narrabeen on his 'Mount Ramsey Estate'."   Source

Palmerston (Darwin) to Pine Creek (NT) railway completed.

There were 97 'private bars' in Sydney pubs, furnished with a few chairs, perhaps a piano, and a couch behind a screen or in an adjoining room, for which prostitutes paid the publicans between £3 - 10 a week rent. (Pearl, 1958)

William Lane editor and co-proprietor of the Boomerang, which I think he founded or co-founded. In 1886 he had been a journalist for Evening Observer. His philosophy included individual moral reformation, and sought to render social conflict unnecessary. History was guided by ideas, not class conflict.

George Black introduced Thos. Walker's secretary, 25-y-o William Keep, to Louisa Lawson. They formed the idea of a republican organisation and journal.

January: The rail link between Victoria and South Australia was completed.

January 20: Sir Henry Parkes, Free Trade, became Premier of NSW, and was in power until January 17, 1889 when he was succeeded by George Dibbs, Protectionist.

March: Mary Cameron (Gilmore) was working as a schoolteacher at Illabo Public School on 96 pounds a year.

March 8: Death of Henry Ward Beecher, American clergyman and reformer (b. 1813).

March 12: First issue of the Radical, published and edited by 25-year-old Bob Winspear, sold in Newcastle suburbs, small print run.

May 4: WHT McNamara and six others met as a socialist group and began taking members. They held debates on Sundays and out of these, and open-air meetings, grew the foundation of the Australian Socialist League (launched on August 26 at 533 George St, Sydney), with McNamara, George Black and Thomas Walker as leaders. The ASL reading rooms housed more than 220 foreign newspapers, many of them radical. Contemporary anarchist Jack Andrews preferred to call it the "Alleged Socialist League". On August 27 someone showed the leaders a copy of 25-year-old Bob Winspear's newspaper, the Radical, which had been launched on March 12, and McNamara decided to arrange with Winspear to make it the official organ of the ASL. From August, 1888, it was called Australian Radical.  Winspear was a Modern Socialist – a follower of William Morris – and the ASL was not. The newspaper finished up on September 28, 1889, with recriminations flying between Winspear and the League. McNamara was angry that Winspear published so many pieces by Andrews. The League itself fell to pieces around that time, and the Australian Radical re-emerged even more strongly in 1890.  More

Winspear wrote:

"There are two kinds of Socialists – those who follow LIBERTY, and those who follow AUTHORITY; the latter are State Socialists ... State Socialism is unrestricted AUTHORITY, which involves a denial of true co-operation, and winds up in slavery, as Herbert Spencer has so well and ably shown. Modern Socialism aims at unrestricted Liberty and equitable co-operation."

May 14: Death of Lysander Spooner, American philosopher and abolitionist (b. 1808).

May 28: D.A. Andrade, 'What Is Anarchy' was reprinted in Benjamin Tucker's 'Liberty' (Boston ). Originally delivered to the Australasian Secular Association and the Melbourne Anarchist Club, in 1886.

June: Henry Parkes had Sydney theatres closed on Sundays, to stem growing tide of republicanism. Thomas Walker, now four months in parliament, saw himself as the main target of this. He was speaking to audiences of 3,000.

June 3: The Mayor of Sydney, AJ Riley, held a public meeting to organise a feast for schoolchildren on the Jubilee (June 20) of Queen Victoria. The crowd voted it down by a large majority as "calculated to injure the democratic spirit of this Colony". Riley closed the hastily meeting (called by The Bulletin "one of the most important in the history of the people") and soon called another meeting stacked with monarchists (by ticket only). However, that meeting, on June 10 [qv], was crashed by hundreds of republicans, and was called 'the Republican Riot'.

June 10: 'The Republican Riot' at Sydney Town Hall: Hundreds of republicans with forged tickets crashed Riley's meeting. Henry Lawson was fired up on reading the Sydney Morning Herald reports of the riot and sent to The Bulletin a poem 'The Hymn of the Socialists' under pseudonym 'Youth'. It was published on June 18 and in the 'Correspondence' column of July 23 was a note (see July 23).

c. June: Henry Lawson wrote a Poesque 'Legend of Cooee Gully' and 'Hymn of the Socialists'.

June 20: Queen Victoria's Golden (50th) Jubilee. Buffalo Bill performed in London in celebration of the Jubilee year, and toured Europe in 1889.

July: "Formed in August 1886 and led by prominent protectionist, W. Richardson, the anti-Chinese league did not receive much support initially. Its inaugural meeting drew only 40 people but received a fillip after the visit by the Chinese Commissioners in July 1887. The Sydney league sent a delegation to meet Commissioner Wong Yung Ho and protest against the Chinese presence in Australia.
   "The unions became actively involved in these leagues and took leading roles in the continuing agitation against the Chinese. N.Melville took over the presidency in September 1887 with J.O’Connell and J. Norton and increased the range of anti-Chinese activities. The Sydney league had the most elaborate platform and asserted that the Chinese were preoaring the way for a new colonisation wave (a little like the X-Files). It also called for an annual tax of $20, a $200 poll tax, a special tax on Chinese retailers and hawkers, special inspection of Chinese run-market gardens, special restrictions on Chinese miners, the suppression of Chinese secret societies, restrictions on inter-marriage and the prevention of ‘corruption of children’ by the Chinese. There was a strong movement to segregate trams."   Source

July 4: The Republican, a radical monthly (published by W Keep of 45 Stanley St, but because of rent it was shifted a lot), published its first issue (threepence), on a bad press, later ridiculed by Henry Lawson ('Cambaroora Star' in In the Days When the World was Wide). Louisa Lawson was soon the editor (bought it 1888). The fire brigade crashed into a George St office once when Keep burned off some waste paper.

"In 1887-8 [Louisa Lawson] edited the Republican with son Henry, printed on an old press set up in Louisa's cottage. The Republican called for all Australians to unite under 'the flag of a Federated Australia, the Great Republic of the Southern Seas'. Republican was replaced by the Nationalist which lasted two issues. From 1888 to 1905 Louisa was the moving spirit behind the feminist journal, Dawn: a Journal for Australian Women."   Source

July 17: Death of Dorothea Dix, American social activist (b. 1802).

July 23: In the 'Correspondence' column of The Bulletin was a note (see July 23) "'H.A.L.' Will publish your 'Sons of the South' (now known as 'Song of the Republic'). You have in you good grit.". Encouraged, Henry Lawson sent in a third revolutionary piece, 'The Distant Drum', which was not quite so well received. (This shows that Mary Gilmore could not have taught Henry Lawson the rudiments of prosody as she claimed.) Later, not having seen another note from JF Archibald in 'Correspondence', he went to his office and Archibald encouraged him.

Pictured at left: JFArchibald and Henry Lawson

August 26: Australian Socialist League launched at 533 George St, Sydney, with Bill McNamara, George Black and Thomas Walker as leaders.

September 22: The Sydney Evening News had a story about a shipwreck; Henry Lawson based 'The Wreck of the ‘Derry Castle'' on this.

October 1: 'A Song of the Republic' was published (formerly called 'Sons of the South') as promised by JF Archibald (see June 10).

William Keep et al founded the Australian Republican Union. John Farrell and John Norton office-bearers.

October 8: (A Saturday) Eight-hour Day procession down Macquarie Street, Sydney.

October 15: The Republican No 4 was published, with editor "Archie Lawson", printed by the Progressive Printing Company, at 128 Phillip St. It contained Henry Lawson's first piece of signed prose, 'Australian Loyalty: Sentimental and Political' ("sentiment, though a good servant, is a bad master"). A stand against romanticism. In this issue was a report of the Australian Socialist League (met Sunday evenings at 533½ George St, Sydney; Hon. Sec. WH McNamara; Contemporary anarchist Jack Andrews preferred to call it the "Alleged Socialist League".) and the Anti-Chinese League (VP John Norton).

c. October. Henry Lawson returned to the Blue Mountains, with his father painting cottages at Mt Victoria. Fellow-worker Arthur Parker remembered Henry Lawson as pale and delicate looking, with deep, dark eyes. They camped in a tent on the job, later a hut. Henry Lawson was a good worker and quite a good cook. Parker said Henry Lawson at that time loved the local nature, but was restless, earnest, shy, dreamy. The young men called themselves the 'Mountain Push'. Parker said Henry Lawson would only need one or two drinks at this stage to forget his shyness. 

October 28: Archibald (JFA) wrote to Henry Lawson accepting 'The Wreck of the "Derry Castle"', to be published next week. Fred Broomfield, on March 24, 1924 in a letter to G Robertson, told how he (Broomfield) had fished it out of the bin and tidied up the spelling, as JFA had screwed it up and chucked it out in contempt with a chuckle about "bards who had not learned to spell".

November: Henry Lawson went to Melbourne in the coaster Wendouree. Nice girl aboard, had a good time. He liked being waited on by steward.

" ... when about 20 years old [Henry Lawson] went to Melbourne and attended the eye and ear hospital there. But nothing could be done for him and he returned to Sydney. There he worked as a painter at the low wages of the time, saw something of the slums and how the poor lived, and 'wished that he could write'. He was working as a coach-painter's improver at five shillings a day when in June 1887 the Bulletin printed four lines of a poem he had submitted and advised him to 'try again'. In October his 'Song of the Republic' was published in the Bulletin, and in the Christmas number two poems 'Golden Gully' and 'The Wreck of the Derry Castle' appeared. Lawson has told us with what excitement he opened this Bulletin and found his poems. Prefixed to the second was an editorial note:– 'In publishing the subjoined verses we take pleasure in stating that the writer is a boy of 17 years, a young Australian, who has as yet had an imperfect education and is earning his living under some difficulties as a housepainter, a youth whose poetic genius here speaks eloquently for itself.' Lawson was then 20 years of age, not 17, but the editor showed remarkable prescience in recognizing the poet's ability so early."   Dictionary of Australian Biography

Henry Lawson lodged with Mrs Kelly, worked coach painting. He went to Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, formerly Andrew Sexton Gray's clinic (founded 1863 a year after Gray arrived in Australia). Gray had been an intern at several hospitals in Dublin, assisting Sir William Wilde, father of Oscar. The house surgeon was Dr WL Mullen. They could do nothing for Henry Lawson's hearing but he had remission and saw the melodrama The Silver King, by Jones and Herman, which he loved and could hear. It made him want to be an actor, but for his deafness. The play influenced his own play-writing. He worked for a while at a railway truck factory and a tramway car and omnibus works "way out miles beyond the Exhibition buildings". He went with Mrs Kelly Saturday nights to markets, wheeling a wonky pram "with a list to port".

Henry Parkes lobbied to have NSW called Australia, setting off protests. His goal was to scare colonies into federation.

November 2: Death of Jenny Lind, Swedish soprano (b. 1820). She had sung in Australia.

November 11: The Haymarket Martyrs were executed.  Haymarket Affair Downunder

December 24: Christmas Bulletin published 'The Wreck of the ‘Derry Castle'' and 'Golden Gully'.

Before leaving Melbourne Henry Lawson went to Ballarat to see Eureka memorial (later he called it "the grandest monument in Australia") and the Robert Burns statue. He worked briefly touching up photographs, then returned to Sydney, steerage.

Henry Lawson poems in 1887

A Song of the Republic
The Hymn of the Socialists
Statue of Robert Burns (aka Robbie's Statue)
The Legend of Cooee Gully
Golden Gully
The Wreck of the "Derry Castle"
Only a Sod
"Flag of the Southern Cross"
The Distant Drum (MS)


1888 in literature

Louisa Lawson bought The Republican. Henry Lawson was nominal editor.

Susan B Anthony organised a congress for women's rights in Washington DC.

Intercolonial Conference on Chinese immigration: "Inter-Colonial Conference in Sydney recommends uniform legislation virtually prohibiting Chinese immigration. Chinese passengers are prevented from disembarking in Victoria and New South Wales. New South Wales reintroduces restrictions on Chinese immigration. Victoria and South Australia pass similar legislation. The phrase White Australia Policy first appears in the Boomerang."   Source

Salter family sell 'The Priory' to the Government for arable land at Gladesville Hospital.

Melbourne: WM Foster established a brewery.

1888?: James Alexander, the Australian Blondin, performed at the Bondi Aquarium (cliff tops).

Sydney Town Hall as yet unfinished and the butt of jokes, especially in the Sydney Morning Herald.   Town Hall chronology

John Norton edited an Australian edition of a large American publication, The History of Capital and Labor in all Lands and Ages.

Looking Backward: 2000 - 1887, utopian novel by Edward Bellamy, was published.

Robbery Under Arms by Rolf Boldrewood. First printed instance of the word 'dinkum': ‘It took us an hour’s hard dinkum to get near the peak’, that is, ‘an hour’s hard work’.

The phrase ‘White Australia Policy’ appeared for the first time, in William Lane’s Brisbane magazine Boomerang.

January: Henry Lawson back in Sydney from Melbourne. William Keep and Louisa Lawson struggling with Republican. Henry Lawson wrote 'Song of the Outcasts' (pub. Bulletin May 12 as 'Army of the Rear'?). Poetry of George Black influencing him (Black won Republican poetry competition at this time). Henry Lawson wrote in Republican of January 7 against "imperial federation". As editor, he was getting lots of political article submissions; ideas for his political poems. Used pen-name 'Caliban' for articles, eg 'Under the Emu Flag'. 'Caliban', "anti-royalist", placed ad this issue for work on a "bush-town paper".

January: Rail link between New South Wales and Queensland completed.

January 21: The Bulletin published an editorial which was daringly nationalistic and republican for its day, on the occasion of the Centenary of Australia: “A hundred years have left her as they found her - a name but not a nation, a huge continent to be the hanger-on of a little island at the Antipodes to which she is bound by the tie of a common sovereignty under a foreign ruler.”

January 26: Anniversary Day. Centennial Park was dedicated by the NSW Government of Sir Henry Parkes to mark the Centenary of the Colony. Aboriginal people boycotted the celebratory events but their absence went unnoticed by mainstream Australians. Round now, Henry Lawson attended a 500-man anti-Centenary celebrations meeting at Domain (G Black speaker). "50,000 people watched the Governor Lord Carrington unveil a statue in honour of Queen Victoria. A march of thirteen thousand trade unionists culminated in the laying of the foundation stone for a new Trades Hall and many religious services were held."   Source

February 25: By this date the swimming baths had opened on King Street, Newtown, just west of Brown Street; later converted to Marcus Clark's 'cash store', a cinema and a dance hall.   Source

February 27: Death of Hermann Bredt (of dropsy and cirrhosis), leaving his widow Bertha with seven children remaining of nine. Young Bertha was 11 or 12, Hilda nine.

Second 1888 edition of Republican, Henry Lawson printed portraits of the Haymarket Martyrs (more), and wrote an article. Also a strong open letter to Queen Victoria by G Black.

Roderick is uncertain whether Henry Lawson made a second trip to Melbourne in 1888 and went to Blue Mountains (in 1917, Henry Lawson wrote that he did in 1888). If he did go to Melbourne, it must have been March-April. He did make trips to Blue Mts in 1888 so probably his memory was wrong. Sometime around now an unknown young wealthy woman (inherited a gold mine) offered to pay him through university and take him to England, but he declined. Aunt Emma said she was "nice".

March 6: Death of Louisa May Alcott, American novelist (b. 1832). She died of grief a few hours after her father was buried.

March 17: "Words cannot express our contempt and hatred for those whites who are fighting against their own kith an kin in this racial struggle. They deserve no consideration. The Chinese must go and their friends, those white traitors had better be flung out with them."
William Lane; The Boomerang, March 17, 1888

April 4: The Republican printed Henry Lawson's castigation of Henry Parkes's speech at Liverpool, in which Parkes had referred to the opposition as "native dogs and opossums", "inferior animals", "precursors of anarchy", "crimps, thieves and blacklegs", "withered tarantulas", "miserable poodle-headed creatures", "blacklegs, fools and anarchists". (!)

April 15: Death of Matthew Arnold, English poet (b. 1822)

April 27: Arrival in Sydney of the SS Afghan, leading to the May 3 anti-Chinese rally.

c. May: Henry Lawson got his first literary pay while at Mt Victoria painting houses for 8s a day: a cheque from The Bulletin for £1/ 7/-.

May 3: Rally in Sydney against Chinese. "In 1888, the British government’s muted response to local concerns and the arrival of the Afghan and Tsinan provoked renewed concern. On 3 May, 5000 people attended a public meeting before the arrival of the Afghan. Following the meetings, there was a march to Parliament but the Premier refused to meet the deputation, prompting an uproar which dispersed after assurances that the Chinese would be dealt with expeditiously were given.
  "Next day the government set aside the existing law and refused to allow any Chinese to land without naturalisation papers. On 16 May, Henry Parkes rushed a Bill through raising the poll tax from $20 to $200 and increasing the tonnage restriction from 100 to 300 tons. An annual tax of $20 were to be paid and Chinese were allowed to reside in designated areas; mining was proscribed unless special attention was given. (The Supreme Court later ruled that Chinese holding exemption certificates and those prepared to pay the poll taxes could stay).
  "The unions called for more radical action and a Grand National Anti-Chinese Demonstration was organised on the first Saturday in June. Attracting 50,000 people, it resolved to play a continuing role against the Chinese under its union banner ‘Justice For All’."   Source

"This crisis was brought to a head by the arrival of the SS Afghan at Melbourne on 27 April 1888 carrying 268 Chinese passengers. The Victorian government forced the captain to leave without disembarking the 52 for Melbourne. Even before the time the ship reached Sydney, hysteria was at fever pitch. Tens of thousands of people marched to Parliament, led by the Mayor of Sydney, and there were attempts to rush the Legislative Council Chamber. The Parkes government promised to stop any of the Chinese from the Afghan, and the three other ships in the harbour, from landing; and rushed retrospective legislation into Parliament to legalise its actions and dramatically reduce the number of Chinese allowed to enter NSW.13 In Brisbane, the day after the Afghan arrived in Sydney, there was an anti-Chinese riot.14 Within six weeks, the colonies had met at an Intercolonial conference, held on 12-14 June, and agreed to common legislation to virtually prohibit Chinese immigration."   Source

May 13: Brazil abolished slavery.

May 15: First edition of The Dawn. Louisa Lawson used the pen-name Dora Falconer. She had been inspired to do it after hearing a lecture by Susan Gale, "the sweet grey-frocked Quakeress" at the Sydney Progressive Lyceum at Leigh House. "The Australian Woman's Journal and mouthpiece ...[would be] the phonograph to wind out the whispers, pleadings and demands of the sisterhood." Threepence a copy; sixteen pages (later 32). The first four pages came from the April Republican, a simple matter of re-using the type. On page 2 it said: "Half of Australian women's lives are unhappy, but there are paths out of most labyrinths, and we will set up finger posts ... it is not a new thing to say there is no power in the world like that of women." There was a poem, 'To a Bird', by Louisa Lawson. Henry Lawson was in Sydney and helped with this first edition. Soon after, Louisa Lawson established the Dawn Club. The news magazine was boycotted after just a few months by the New South Wales Typographical Association at the behest of the Trades and Labour Council. The association said that they were only trying to protect women from the hard work. Gertrude (b. 1877) was 11 and came with her mother as she sold advertising. She also criticises tobacconists for having saucy images to sell their products. Gertrude had to wait outside, embarrassed. Gertie also recalled Louisa Lawson doing the doorbell trick and running away with her daughter; the householder would come out and see no naughty kids, just a lady and her daughter walking. Gertie was embarrassed at the time, but proud later.

May 24: Melba made her first appearance at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, but was not particularly successful and returned to Brussels.

Mid year: John Norton, although neither a miner nor a trade unionist, was appointed by the coalminers of Lithgow (where he met later Prime Minister Joseph Cook) their delegate to the Intercolonial Trade Union Congress held in Brisbane, Queensland the same year. This congress, influenced by Edward Bellamy and Henry George, discussed nationalisation of the means of production and distribution. (Pearl, 1958)

June 3: Grand National Anti-Chinese Demonstration, Sydney. "The unions called for more radical action and a Grand National Anti-Chinese Demonstration was organised on the first Saturday in June. Attracting 50,000 people, it resolved to play a continuing role against the Chinese under its union banner ‘Justice For All’."   Source

June 5: Melba's return to Covent Garden in Romeo and Juliet opposite Jean deReszke sealed her position and she remained Covent Garden's prima donna through to the 1920s.

June 19: In Chicago the Republican Convention opened at Auditorium Building. General Benjamin Harrison and Levi Morton won the nominations.

June 23: Annie Besant wrote an article in The Link, entitled ‘White Slavery in London’, the consequence of which was a three-week strike among the employees of the Bryant & May match company, whose female workers worked fourteen hours a day for a wage of less than five shillings a week. In this she was aided by HH Champion, who later took a keen interest in Henry Lawson.

July: Twenty-one-year-old Henry Lawson composed the poem 'Faces in the Street' and its publication this year caused a sensation. He found out later that "rear" does not rhyme with "blare" and altered this and other poems to suit.

July 14: The Boomerang estimated that there were 80,000 school-age children in Queensland, with an average daily attendance of 35,319.   Source

September 1: Charlie Hicks's Minstrels of 1888, which featured artists which were to stay for many years on the Australasian stage, notably Irving Sayles, Charley Pope, Wallace King, Billy Speed & the Connor brothers, performed at the Opera House in Sydney. The Orpheus McAdee Jubilee Singers show of 1886 and unknown dates thereafter (till McAdee's death on July 17, 1900), included a  variety of acts including William James Ferry (Ferry the Frog), Billy McClain, Miss Flora Batson, CW Walker, Prof. Henderson Smith, etc. (Billy McClain originally came to Australia with MB Curtis's Afro-Americans).   Source

September 8: In London, the body of Annie Chapman was found. She is generally considered the second victim of Jack the Ripper.

October: 'Andy's Gone with Cattle' published in Town and Country Journal.

October 22 - 29: Mary Cameron on sick leave from school where she taught at Silverton, on account of ophthalmia, which was epidemic at the time.

November 9: In London the body of Mary Jane Kelly was found; considered the fifth and last of Jack the Ripper's victims.

Late 1888?: Louisa Lawson wrote to Sir Henry Parkes for help for Henry Lawson to find work. HP less than helpful, Louisa Lawson a bit sharp in her reply to him.

December: "Uncle Piper of Piper’s Hill, [by Tasma] was praised as ‘the book of the year’ when it was published in London for Christmas 1888. After the publication in 1890 of her second novel, In Her Earliest Youth, the London Times said she was ‘surpassed by few British novelists’. She was compared to George Eliot, described as the Australian Jane Austen, and her characterisation was said to equal that of Charles Dickens."   Source

December: Mary Cameron boarded train at Silverton, thence Broken Hill, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, a five-day journey; she spent the Christmas holidays with her mother at Aunt Jeannie's house in Glebe.

December 8: JT Williams ascended to 6,000 feet above Ashfield (Sydney) Recreation Grounds in Capt. Hendon's balloon and parachuted to the ground.   Source: Australian Aviation Pioneers    Hargraves/Aviation timeline

December 22: The Bulletin published Henry Lawson's first short story 'His Father's Mate'. Henry Lawson always spoke with reverence of his father.

December 31: While Henry Lawson was in Sydney, his father was returning to his hut in the Blue Mountains with a load of white lead. He died at his table, leaving an estate (probate February 18, 1889) of 1,036 pounds, the Sapling Gully land valued at 400. By Henry Lawson's account, Henry Lawson and Louisa Lawson went to Mt Victoria to make funeral arrangements (Roderick, 1991 says that they probably didn't arrive until after the funeral.). Henry completed the painting of the cottages his father had been building, put a picket fence around PL's grave.

Henry Lawson poems in 1888

The Army of the Rear
Faces In The Street
The Watch on the Kerb
A May Night on the Mountains
Lachlan Side
The Blue Mountains
"Let's Be Fools Tonight"
Beaten Back
Andy's Gone With Cattle
Andy's Return
Shearers' Song (? Possibly Shearers' Dream)


1889 in literature

Queensland enacted legislation to halt further immigration by South Sea Islanders. The Act was repealed in 1892 and re-enacted in 1901.

Afghan cameleers established the first Mosque in Australia in Adelaide.

1889 was quieter in the shearing industry, because wool prices had risen.

In Melbourne, Sam Rosa urged an audience of unemployed to raid "rich men's gunshops" and form an army of 5,000. He also advocated nitro-glycerine, dynamite and melinite. "He was described about this time as 'a piratical looking cuss' with 'a big Punch-looking nose, and red hanging moustachios, matching his shock of red hair, always grinding his teeth, like boar-tusks'."  (Pearl, 1958)

The Dead Bird newspaper commenced in Sydney. By 1891 it was called Bird of Freedom, having had to change its name due to a conviction for obscenity. (Pearl, 1958) At one time, Edwin Brady was editor; it later became The Arrow.

Bridge over the Hawkesbury River, New South Wales, completes railway network linking Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, though with different railway gauges.

Janet Achurch, on tour from England, performed Ibsen 's A Doll's House

George Black was working as Bulletin sub-editor.

John Norton became editor of the Newcastle Morning Herald, an important NSW provincial (protectionist) paper. Before the end of the year, after a drunken few months, he was back in Sydney looking for a job. (Pearl, 1958)

Louisa Lawson, as mother of the rising poet Henry Lawson, was invited to State Government House to meet Lord and Lady Carrington.

Henry Lawson's restlessness showed in 'Over the ranges and Into the West'.

In a series of Boomerang editorials, William Lane wrote of the necessity of an alliance between labour and capital, both of which should have their own associations, or unions. They must organise to cooperate, not compete. Labour should restrain its demands. All have vested interests, so those of others should be respected. Out of unionism would grow "one great industrial Brotherhood, in which employer and employed shall hold hands". During the Shearers' Strike of 1891, he saw the intransigence of the pastoralists and felt he should encourage the militancy of the workers, though he still used the word "barbaric" to qualify the concept of striking.

A Midsummer Night's Dream at Her Majesty's; Aladdin at the Theatre Royal; The Battle of Gettysburg at the Cyclorama (cinemas historical).

The Bulletin published A Golden Shanty: Australian Stories and Sketches in Prose and Verse by Bulletin Writers. Included Kendall, Dyson, Daley, Paterson, Farrell and Lawson ('His Father's Mate' and 'Faces in the Street').

The railway network linking Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane was completed.

January: A tightrope walker named Charles Jackson attracted large crowds to see his daring crossings of the mouth of the Kiama Blowhole.

January 2: Newtown: "Alderman O'Connell draws attention to the typhoid fever in Gowrie Street in Camden ward. The Herald reports that William Jones, aged 34, of 53 Gowrie Street succumbed to the attack on the 21st, son Edward died on the following day; on Monday daughter Maggie died too; and the mother alone is left. Mrs Charlotte Jones, 31, is now recovering from the fever at Prince Alfred Hospital but does not yet know of the loss of her husband and children. On 24 May 1889, the NSW Board of Health names Erskineville as the suburb where the highest mortality has occurred in the state; the problem of faulty cesspits is made worse by the new railway viaduct impeding drainage to Shea's Creek."   Source

January 17: George Dibbs, Protectionist, became Premier of NSW and was in power only until March 8 of the same year when he was succeeded by Sir Henry Parkes, Free Trade, who had been his predecessor.

January 26: William Whitehouse Collins laid the foundation stone of the Free-thought Hall in Campbell St.

March 4: Grover Cleveland, 24th President of the United States (1885 - 1889) was succeeded by Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893).

March 8: Henry Parkes, Free Trade, took over as Premier from George Dibbs, and remained in power until October 23, 1891 when he was succeeded by George Dibbs again.

March 31: The Eiffel Tower was inaugurated (opened on May 6).

May 1: Womanhood Suffrage League (WSL) met at YMCA to arrange a campaign. A deputation was to visit Port Adelaide to form a branch of WSL. The Dawn edition this day had an ad for a Ladies' Typewriting Association ... a new career.

May 23: Louisa Lawson convened a meeting in Forresters' Hall, delivered a stirring lecture on feminism. Out of this was formed The Dawn Club that in 1891 merged with the WSL (she was at the foundation meeting of the merged societies).

June-October: Louisa Lawson campaigned for tailoresses to form a union. Meetings in Temperance Hall in Pitt St.

Mid-year: London Dock Strike. Encouraged by what Annie Besant had done with the Matchgirl's Strike, Ben Tillett, Tom Mann, James Keir Hardie and others organised a successful strike.

"Organizations such as the Salvation Army and the Labour Church also raised money for the strikers and their families. Trade Unions in Australia sent over £30,000 to help the dockers to continue the struggle. After five weeks the employers accepted defeat and granted all the dockers' main demands."   Source

June 12: Death of  88 in the Armagh rail disaster near Armagh in Northern Ireland.

July 18: Henry Lawson's poem 'The Ghost' appeared in The Bulletin. Mary Gilmore says that Henry Lawson and Louisa Lawson quarrelled over it and from then on Louisa Lawson had no influence over him.

August: The NSW Boot Trade Union was established and was open to both males and females.   Source

August 24: Bulletin published 'Hymn of the Socialists' (see June, 1887) retitled 'Hymn of the Reformers'.

September 23: Death of Wilkie Collins, British novelist (b. 1824).

October 24: Sir Henry Parkes gave his Tenterfield Oration at the Tenterfield School of Arts, advocating the Federation of the six Australian colonies.

November: The Dawn featured a blue cardboard cover and a lottery for two acres of vine land at Eurunderee. A one-week strike forced BHP to implement the closed shop.

November 14: Pioneer woman Journalist Nellie Bly (Elizabeth Jane Cochran/Cochrane; 1865 - 1922), began an attempt to travel around the world in less than 80 days (she finished the journey in 72 days, 6 hours and 11 minutes on January 25, 1890).

November 27: A public holiday throughout Sydney (the whole County of Cumberland) for the opening of Centennial Hall, part of Sydney Town Hall. Photo of Sydney Town Hall in 1889, showing the hole in the ground that became the Queen Victoria Markets, commenced in 1893 and opened July 21, 1898 (later Queen Victoria Building). Photo of invitation to the opening.  Town Hall chronology

December 12: Death of Robert Browning, English poet (b. 1812)

December 21: The Bulletin published the Henry Lawson poem, 'The Roaring Days'.

Henry Lawson poems in 1889

The Roaring Days
Eureka (A Fragment)
The Ballad of the Drover
The Sleeping Beauty
The Mountain Splitter
The Song and the Sigh
The Cattle-Dog's Death
The Teams
Old Stone Chimney
Brighten's Sister-in-Law
The Squatter's Daughter
Mount Bukaroo
The "Seabolt's" Volunteers
The Legend of Mammon Castle
Laughing and Sneering
He's Gone to England for a Wife
O Cupid, Cupid; Get Your Bow!
The Song of the Waste-Paper Basket
Rain in the Mountains
The Ghost
To the Irish Delegates





Bibliography and other resources

Beasley, Margo, Sydney Town Hall: a Social History, City of Sydney/Hale & Iremonger, Sydney, 1998 ISBN 0-86806-638-9

Birch, Alan, and Macmillan, David S, The Sydney Scene, 1788-1960, Melbourne University Press, 1962

Burgmann, Verity, In Our Time: Socialism and the Rise of Labor, 1885 - 1905, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1985

Burrows, Robyn, and Barton, Alan, Henry Lawson: A Stranger on the Darling, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1996

Clark, CMH, A History of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1978

Clark, Manning, Henry Lawson the man and the legend, Melbourne, 1995

Cronin, Leonard, ed., The complete works of Henry Lawson. Volume 1, A camp-fire yarn; v.2, A fantasy of man, Lansdowne, Sydney, 1984

Damousi, Joy, Women Come Rally, Socialism, Communism and Gender in Australia 1890–1955, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1994

Evans, Raymond and Ferrier, Carole (eds.), Radical Brisbane: An Unruly History, Melbourne, Vulgar Press, 2004

Faulkner, John and MacIntyre, Stuart (eds), True Believers: The Story of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 2001

Finlay, Alexander, Goldrush: The Journal of Alexander Finlay While at the Victorian Gold Diggings, St Mark's Press, Sydney, 1992

Fisher, John, The Australians: from 1788 to modern times, Taplinger, New York, 1968

Hearn, Mark, Hard Cash: John Dwyer and his contemporaries 1890–1914, unpublished PhD thesis Department of History, University of Sydney, 2000, ch. 2. Available through the Australian Digital Thesis Program:   Source

Lawson, Bertha Jr, and Brereton, John LeGay, Henry Lawson by his Mates, Sydney, 1931

Lawson, Gertrude, 'Notes on the Personal Life of Henry Lawson', Mitchell Library

Lawson, Olive (ed.), The first voice of Australian feminism: excerpts from Louisa Lawson's ' The Dawn', 1888-1895, Sydney

Matthews, Brian,  Louisa, McPhee Gribble, Melbourne, 1987

McMullin, Ross, The Light on the Hill: The Australian Labor Party 1891 - 1991, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1991

Nairn, Bede, The Big Fella: Jack lang and the Australian Labor Party, 1891-1949, Melbourne Univ. Press, 1986

Ollif, Lorna, Louisa Lawson: Henry Lawson's Crusading Mother, Rigby, Sydney, 1978

Park, Ruth, The Companion Guide to Sydney, Collins, Sydney, 1973

Pearl, Cyril, Wild Men of Sydney, Universal Books, Melbourne, 1958

Pearce, Sharyn (ed.), The shameless scribbler: Louisa Lawson. Working papers in Australian studies, no. 75. London, 1992

Pearson, Bill, Henry Lawson Among Maoris, Australian National University Press, 1968

Prout, Denton, Henry Lawson: The grey dreamer, Rigby Ltd, Adelaide, 1963

Read, C Rudston, What I Heard, Saw, and Did at the Australian Goldfields, T & W Boone, London, 1853

Roderick, Colin, Henry Lawson: a life, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1991

Roderick, Colin, Henry Lawson Letters, 1890-1922, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1970

Ross, John, ed., Chronicle of Australia, Chronicle, London, 1993

Semmler, Clement, The Banjo of the Bush: The Life and Times of AB 'Banjo' Paterson, UQP, 1987

Souter, Gavin, A Peculiar People: The Australians in Paraguay, Sydney Univ. Press, 1968

Travers, Robert, Australian Mandarin: The life and times of Quong Tart, Kangaroo Press, Kenthurst, NSW, Australia, 1981

Ward, Russel, The Australian Legend, Oxford University Press, 1958

Wathen, George Henry, The Golden Colony or Victoria in 1854, Longman, Brown, Green and Longman, London, 1855

Wilde, WH, Courage a grace: a biography of Dame Mary Gilmore, Melbourne Univ. Press, 1988

Wright, Judith, Henry Lawson. Great Australians series, Oxford University Press, 1967


Some useful links

Louisa and Henry

Project Gutenberg e-texts of some of Henry Lawson's works

Collectors' books (Henry Lawson)

Background to Henry Lawson: A Stranger on the Darling

Henry Lawson: related links

Lawson's short stories (modern review)

Sculpture (bust) of Henry Lawson, National Library of Australia (by Otto Bettmann, 1862 - 1945, not Otto Bettmann (b. 1903) who founded the Bettmann Archive)

Cartoonists of the early Sydney Bulletin

William Lane biography

Federation people

Active Service Brigade

Australian suffragettes

Cartoonists of the early Sydney Bulletin

Darlinghurst Gaol ("Starvinghurst Gaol" Henry Lawson called it.)

John Dwyer, Arthur Desmond and Active Service Brigade

Pankhursts in Oz

The Lonely Crossing And Other Poems by Louisa Lawson (PDF) To order a copy of Louisa Lawson: Collected Poems with Selected Critical Commentaries., email CALLS and state the number of copies required at $30 each (incl. postage and handling), your name, return snail mail address and a contact phone number. Source

"Knowledge is Power":Radical Literary Culture and the Experience of Reading

Haymarket Affair Downunder

Henry Lawson: Rural Australia From the 1870s to 1916

Henry Lawson on Socialism, Republicanism & Ethnicity

Humphrey McQueen depicts Henry Lawson as a Fascist & Nazi

Lawson and Eureka

Henry Lawson and an Australian National State

Henry Lawson and the "Australian Legend"

Reader of Australian Anarchism, by Bob James

Arthur Desmond (birth date and death date apparently unknown)

A Wild Awakening : the 1893 Banking Crisis and the Theatrical Narratives of the Castlereagh Street Radicals

1890s depression    South Australian Village Settlement Schemes

Warren Fahey: Labour folklore has union songs etc ("Those interested in this subject are advised to refer to Warren Fahey's two books on the subject: 'The Balls of Bob Menzies' and its later revised edition 'Ratbags & Rabblerousers' (see booklist on general site)")

Records of the Australasian Federal Conventions of the 1890s

ABC federation documentary

Project Gutenberg of Australia

Street was Home to Henry Lawson

The Australasian Population at the end of 1895


NSW publicans

Sydney/Newcastle tramway history    Sydney by Ferry    Paddle steamers on the Darling and Murray

The Newtown Project

The Haymarket Affair Downunder

Knights of Labor   More on Knights of Labor   And more at Wikipedia

Henry Lawson pictures and manuscripts in the State Library of NSW

Banjo, Australia's bard

History of Chinatown

Green Plaques (background on some Sydney historical locations)

Useful History Links at the Royal Australian Historical Society site

Henry Lawson reconstructed


Australian Colonial Intelligence Index


The rapid growth of Sydney

Year Population Annual
Growth Rate
of NSW
in Sydney


1871 137,586 -
1881 224,939 5.0 30.0
1891 383,333 5.5 34.0
1901 481,830 2.3 35.6
1911 629,503 2.7 38.2
1921 899,059 3.6 42.8

When Australian States achieved political reforms:

since 1901

Vote for all
adult males

Vote for

Secret Ballot


of Members





































Source: NSW Government Board of Studies


Some related chronologies

Gutenberg: Australia timeline

A chronology of Australian history

Germans in Australia chronology

Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney timeline

Her Majesty's Theatre (Sydney) productions, 1887 - 1933

The Tivoli Sydney to 1910    A Short History of the Australian Theatre to 1910    Australian drama chronology

Chronology of Women's Suffrage in Queensland

Australian workers: timeline

Australian Trade Union Archives Timeline

Chronology of women's suffrage in South Australia

Electoral events timeline    Australian constitutional timeline

Henry Lawson. Chronological List of Poetry

The Coast Hospital timeline

Radical tradition timeline

Queensland floods, 1890s

Mayors of Sydney (Lord Mayors after 1902)

Sydney Town Hall chronology

A Chronology of Australian Mining

Banjo Paterson's poems by publication date

An interesting chronology re Australia & world

Chronology of the Australian Federation Movement, 1883 - 1901

Chronology of Callan Park Mental Asylum

Boer War chronology

Rudyard Kipling chronology

Concise History of the British Newspaper in the Nineteenth Century

A Miles Franklin chronology   PDF   View as HTML



H Lawson texts online

Short stories

Verse: Collections

Short Story - Alphabetical List




Verse - Alphabetical List



More of Henry Lawson works online    See also   Dates of Henry's poem in this Lawsons chronology derive from this source, with thanks

Resources, notes and sundries

The National Library of Australia has pictures, music, drama, manuscripts and realia of Lawson and several hundred books by and about him. The Henry Lawson Memorial and Literary Society has been publishing The Lawsonian in Melbourne since 1960. Its current editor is author Victor Kelleher.

Freedom’s Cause by Fran Abrahms (?) contains a chapter on Adela. The Pankhursts by Martin Pugh describes Adela’s life in Australia. Adela Pankhurst: The Wayward Suffragette 1885-1961 By Verna Coleman

There might be fragments of an Louisa Lawson autobiography in Mitchell. A complete set of Dawn (1888-1905) is on microfilm in most large libraries.

Henry Lawson by his Mates.

Radical women: Creo Stanley, May Hickman, Kate Dwyer, Annie Golding, Alice Win, Rose de Boheme (Mrs AJ Rose-Soley),  Rose Summerfield, Rhoda Stuart nee Collings (contemp Louisa Lawson; Brisbane, Kalgoorlie, Perth), Helen Robertson (Melbourne; Tailoresses Union), Eva Seery (contemp Louisa Lawson, Grenfell, NSW)... see Working Lives

Pullen, John, 'The Legacy of Henry George: Henry George in Australia, Where the Landowners are "More Destructive than the Rabbit or the Kangaroo"', American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Volume 64 Issue 2 Page 683, April 2005

Hornsby Communal Settlement at French's Forest, a utopian community led by Arthur Yewen (or Yewn), editor of The Farm and Dairy, who was active in Sydney progressive circles in the 1890s.

Cyril Pearl's account of the Sydney Truth's flamboyant John Norton in Wild Men of Sydney. Might be others of interest. Norton claimed to have invented the word 'wowser'.

"The origin of our wonderful Aussie wowser is uncertain. John Norton, the editor of Truth, claimed to have invented the word. He used it in a headline in 1899, and later said: I invented the word myself. I was the first man publicly to use the word. I first gave it public utterance in the [Sydney] City Council, when I applied it to Alderman Waterhouse, whom I referred to as... the white, woolly, weary, watery, word-wasting wowser from Waverley. 'When I [first] used [the word],' said Norton in the Supreme Court of Victoria, 'I did not know what it meant. I had to find a definition afterwards' (Truth 1914). 'Asked [in the Supreme Court] to define the word "wowser," Mr. Norton said it had been defined by Cardinal Moran [of Sydney], thus showing that the word was already a guest in the halls of the Princes of the Church, [although] we others know, by common knowledge, that the word "wowser" is in common use in less exalted and less holy places'. ' A wowser,' continues this article in Truth, 'is - A pernickety kind of person, always objecting to everybody else who does not agree with him; he will interfere with the pleasures and enjoyments of others; thinks that he alone has the right conception of right conduct, and a monopoly of the narrow way to paradise....' [ibid.]

"Truth comments on Norton's definition: 'That is Mr. Norton's definition of a "wowser" in the "cold, chaste, white light" of intellectual effort. When, however, the blood is tingling... the light is of a different color.... The creation of a word like "wowser" requires a flash of genius, and in that Promethean flash a large amount of unconscious cerebration is in activity.... The spirit of Mr. Norton's definition of "wowser" leads the writer to the conclusion that the nidus of the word "wowser" may be found in the vicinity of the word "puppy" as applied to human beings. In that sense, the definition of the word "puppy" is given as meaning "conceit and self-sufficiency," which, in a concrete sense, goes some part of the way to translating the objective of the word "wowser". A "dog baying at the moon," as an illustration, is too virile to be used as a suitable allegorical cartoon of a wowser baying at the good things of life, that he is too pernickety to enjoy himself, and too mean in spirit to let others enjoy without cavilling at them. But when we debase the "bark" of the "honest watchdog" into the ", wow" of the "self-sufficient" puppy, we are treading close on the track of Mr. Norton's mental flash, that has so happily added to the descriptive treasures... of our mother tongue' [ibid.].

"It is curiously tempting to accept the Norton provenance of wowser: it would be wonderful if it were true. Less credible provenances abound. One theory has it that the word 'wowser' comes from the initials of a slogan (a self-justifying wowser one?): We Only Want Social Evils Righted. Another theory is mentioned in passing by Bill Hornadge: 'Yet another version has it that it came into being in the 1870s in Clunes (Victoria) where hot-gospellers became known as "Rousers". This version has it that a member of the Town Council who had difficulty pronouncing his rs had referred at a public meeting to "Wowsers" - and the name stuck.' These two theories sound a bit All-my-eye-and-Betty-Martinish to me. However, there is a British dialectal word to wow meaning `to mew as a cat, howl or bark as a dog, wail, to whine, grumble, complain', and it is possible that this is the true origin of the word. Whatever its origin, wowser is one of our most successful Ozwords. It has even been exported successfully to the UK and the US and has been happily naturalised there for decades."   Source

What Paris Commune refugees were in Sydney? William Lane's Working Man's Paradise (1892) has one, the fictional hero Geisner.

Henry Lawson told people to mention the Haymarket anarchists (1886) to Bertha McNamara if they wanted a feed. He called it "the password for a meal".

Henry Lawson carried a cherrywood stick and smoked a cherrywood pipe. He was noted for his many handshakes and the strength of them. (Ollif)

'Tennesse's Partner' by Bret Harte (1836 - 1902) was a favourite story of Henry Lawson's.

Shillingsburg, Miriam. "Jack London, Socialist in Sydney." Australian Literature Studies 13 [1987]: 233-36. (About his experience in Australia recuperating from Snark illnesses.)


Henry Lawson Centre
147 Mayne Street,
GULGONG NSW 2852 Australia

Ph: (02) 6374 1944
Fax: (02) 6374 2400


Vignettes from Reminiscences From Early Life by Joseph Pearson
Born in Sydney in 1849 and died in 1939, Pearson became a compiler of city road maps, particularly for cyclists and tour guides.
Cows at the Town Hall (about 1856): "Near to where my parents dwelt in Clarence Street, there was a dairy, kept by a man called McCrory. He owned about six cows that he used to drive from Clarence Street into Druitt Street, (past where the Town Hall now stands, although it was a burial ground then), thence across George Street, through Park Street, to the Racecourse, which is now Hyde Park, and go back and drive them by the same route at about 5 o'clock in the afternoon. Needless to remark, the traffic was not like what it is today." 
A Leisurely "Rock" on the City Footpath: "a Mr Moffitt kept a stationer's shop in Pitt Street near King Street. This Mr Moffitt was a very stout and elderly gentleman. Regularly everyday, when the shop was closed at six o'clock, he would get his assistant to take his easy chair into the middle of the footpath and spend an hour or two reading and smoking his pipe. There was at that time, also, a big willow tree growing on the pathway in Pitt Street near Market Street. The tree was blown down one day during a southerly 'buster' (strong wind)." 
Cricket in Pitt Street: "Many a game of cricket we youngsters had in Pitt Street. I mention this to show again the absence of much traffic in the city thoroughfare in those days. On a Saturday afternoon it was even more scarce. Our wicket would be pitched in the middle of the road. In those days, wood-blocks or macadamised roads were non-existent. The roads were dusty if dry, or muddy or clayey if wet, and at the doorway of each dwelling a foot scraper was placed, and often I would be chastised for not making use of it before entering the house. 
Buckjumping in Pitt Street: "In Pitt Street where I lived, there were no less than three Horse Bazaars or Livery Stables between Market and Park Streets. There were Driscoll's, Birt's, and Wooller's. Young, unbroken horses or colts were sent down from the country for sale. Some were very vicious, but one of the Wooller's - Tom it was- was a wonderful rider. I have seen him in Pitt Street on one of his buckjumpers and I never saw him displaced. This would take place, as remarked, in Pitt Street, between Market and Park Streets." 
Romance at a Penny a Day: "I can picture the scene, although 75 years ago. The old wooden bridge (across Darling Harbour to Pyrmont) that was built was completed in 1859. This remained in use for about 26 years. Foot passengers were charged a penny - 1d. - each way, horses with rider 3d, and vehicles 4d. to 6d., according to the size. Many a penny it cost me some years after, as my intended was a resident of Pyrmont and, of course, I frequently crossed the bridge in my courtship days." The present Pyrmont Bridge structure was completed in the year 1885. This must be one of the few times Sydney had a toll on pedestrians   Source


Streets and lanes of Sydney

"By 1900 Wexford Street was almost entirely occupied by Chinese. They were also a significant presence in Exeter Place, and Foster, Mary, Stephen and Elizabeth Streets ... Hunt Street (a slum) formed part of the Wexford Street no.1 Resumption. It was widened and realigned in the process."   Source

Rosburg Place, no longer extant, was off Wilmott Street (between George and Pitt Streets).

"Known as Durands Alley, it was officially Sydney Place in 1875, when it was renamed Robertson Street (after Robertson’s Coach Factory). It retained this name until 1905 when it was renamed Cunningham Lane, and finally in 1913 it graduated to become Cunningham Street. The lane may still exist literally, but the buildings, the atmosphere and the reputation has certainly changed. The alley which ran off Goulburn Street behind Robertson’s coach factory was a notorious ‘rookery’, described in 1876 as ‘wretched’. By 1880 it contained various boarding houses for Chinese market gardeners. By the late 1880s the coach factory itself had been taken over by Kwong Chong’s boarding house. In this photo of the rear of the boarding house, trays of food can be seen drying in the sun on the balconies. Athlone Place, Ultimo ... was resumed by Council in 1906, when some 400 dwellings and a maze of tiny lanes were removed. The area was subject to flooding and it was considered a deplorable slum ... Clarence Lane ran from Crescent Street (also since disappeared) to Margaret Street. It was named in 1888. Not to be confused with the current Clarence Lane which was created in 1982 as a condition of site redevelopment."   Source

"By the 1840s, the Riley Estate [Surrey Hills] had developed into an overcrowded slum, attracting the city’s new and desperate, being infected by the reaches of The Rocks’ Bubonic Plague. In the late 1800s, the area was a haven for criminals, boasting 200 ‘rough as guts’ pubs- with the area near Campbell Street acquiring the name ‘South Sydney Hell’- before being demolished and rebuilt. Wexford Street suffered a similar fate, with the Chinese community’s opium and gambling dens and brothels replaced by Commonwealth Street - a manufacturing hub that mercilessly underpaid its workers."   Source

Exeter-place and Stephen-street were slums.

Some hotels and establishments c. 1870 - 1910

King's Head (Argyle St, at Queen's Wharf); Nell Gwynne Hotel (Woollooomooloo); Cowper Wharf Hotel (Bland St, Woollooomooloo); Grosvenor Hotel (posh; Grosvenor Square); Whaler's Arms (Gloucester St, The Rocks); Volunteer Artillery (George St, next but one to Felton's Ironmongers. It collapsed in Jan., 1890 with two killed); Creswick Hotel (corner of Bligh and Bent Streets); Volunteer Hotel (Pitt St); Great Britain Hotel (367 George, cnr King); Cotton's Hotel (cnr King & Castlereagh, David Cotton, prop; Hotel and Cafe Royal); Exchange Hotel (Pitt and Bridge; GE Wakefield publican); Aaron's Hotel (near Exchange Hotel; also called Aaron's Exchange?); Forbes Hotel (King and York, next to TW Eady & Son, leather, grindery, ironmonger); Petty's Hotel (posh, c. 1900); Waterman's Hotel (Cumberland St, The Rocks); Royal Hotel (big hotel, George St); Johnson's Family Hotel (Oxford St); Currency Lass Hotel (opposite Union Bank, cnr Pitt and Hunter). McGrath's Hotel, cnr Pitt & Bathurst (opp. YMCA?). Hotel Metropole on corner of Bent, Phillip and Young Streets, Sydney, from 1890-1969. Hosie's Hotel, Bourke St (?). At the Rocks (1884, according to Pearl, 1958): the Live and Let Live, the Hit and Miss, the Black Dog, the Sailor's Return. Australian Club: A three-storeyed building with verandas, on the corner of O’Connell Street and Bent. Edwin Brady says the Dawn to Dusk Club's places of rendezvous were Giovanni's wine cellar, Paris House, the Coolalta, Pfahlert's Hotel, Joe Power's, and the Hole-in-the-Wall. Googee Bay Hotel; the Crimson Crow; Great Eastern Hotel, Newtown; Metropolitan Hotel, Castlereagh St; Palace Hotel, Watsons Bay; Young Australian Hotel, Riley St; Robert's Hotel; Wentworth hotel. Royal Hotel, Randwick (1887).

Butler's Furniture Bazaar (37-39 Park St near Castlereagh, next to Commercial Loan & Discount Office); Union Club (Bligh & Bent); Victoria Club, 136 Castlereagh; Australian Club (opposite Creswick Hotel in Bent St); Cumberland Street Lockup, The Rocks, next to Waterman's Hotel; Dymocks Bookshop (next to entrance of, and beneath, Royal Hotel, George St); Union Bank (cnr Pitt and Hunter). True Briton Hotel, Elizabeth Street (I think); signs outside for Toohey's Ale and a large one for McEwan's Ale. Minty's Hotel in Bathurst Street in 1910.

Sydney pushes
Bantry Bay Devils, the Stars, the Golden Dragons, the Rocks Push, the Livers, the Forty Thieves. (Source: Travers, 1981)



Eurunderee: 'Eurunderee' by Henry Lawson (In the Days When the World Was Wide).

Grenfell: The Henry Lawson Festival of the Arts, June 10-14, '05

Gulgong: "The Henry Lawson Centre [147 Mayne St] in Gulgong tells the history of Lawson and his career, his family and his association with the area. It is the largest collection of Lawson material outside the Mitchell Library in Sydney."   Source

Mallacoota: "There are a number of theories on the origin of the name 'Mallacoota'. Some believe that the name came from 'malagoutha' a local Ganay Aboriginal term of uncertain meaning. Others suggest that it originated from the Aboriginal term for 'place of meeting' or 'come back again' while still others have suggested that it originated from the Aboriginal term for 'place of white pipeclay'."   Source

Mudgee: "By the birth of their third child, they moved to a selection at Pipeclay (now Eurunderee) 8 kilometres north of Mudgee. Louisa Lawson's vigorous lobbying led to the establishment of the slab-and-bark Eurunderee Public School in 1876 with Henry Lawson attending the school for the first time aged nine. He would later write about the school in his poem "The Old Bark School". Lawson would later attend St Matthews Central School, Mudgee [in 1991 the school was burnt down by vandals; a new school was rebuilt on the site] before his progressively worsening deafness leading to him leaving school at the age of 14. Lawson would live in the Mudgee district until the age of 15 and many of his stories were written about the district.

"As the gold mines petered out in the latter half of the 19th century, Mudgee was sustained by the strength of its wool industry as well as the nascent wine industry established by a German immigrant in the 1850's. The arrival of the railway in 1884 further boosted the towns agricultural industries. The Wallaby Track Drive Tour visits various sites associated with Lawson including the old Eurundee Public School, the Henry Lawson memorial, the Budgee Budgee Inn, Sapling Gully, Golden Gully and the Albury Pub which was owned by Lawson's grandfather."   Wikipedia: Mudgee

Charles Lawson composed the lyrics of 'Budgee-Budgee on the Other Side of the Mudgee', and there is a town called Budgee Budgee. "The Wallaby Track Drive Tour visits various sites associated with Lawson including the old Eurundee Public School, the Henry Lawson memorial, the Budgee Budgee Inn, Sapling Gully, Golden Gully and the Albury Pub which was owned by Lawson's grandfather." Wikipedia

Old Books, Old Friends, Old Sydney , the reminiscences of bookseller James R Tyrrell

One day I was attending to a highly important customer - the State Governor - when Henry came in and stood near by.
"Who is that man, Mr Tyrrell?" asked Earl Beauchamp in a low voice.
"That’s our greatest Australian poet Henry Lawson," I told him.
"Good gracious!" he said.
He turned to Henry and shook hands with him. Henry saluted, and passed on down the shop.  

Date and year unknown: Louisa Lawson stepped in when two men were attacking a Chinese man, berating them for un-Australian behaviour, and they slink away. The Chinaman is equally stunned and also leaves.

"In the early days of the colony and through the 19th century was a custom to light massive bonfires on Christmas Eve. Most notable ones were at Glebe Point, Darlinghurst, Pyrmont and Rushcutters Bay."   Warren Fahey



Lawsons chronology up to 1889, and Henry Lawson news

Lawsons chronology 1890-1894  Lawson chronology 1895-1899

Lawsons chronology 1900-1909  Lawsons chronology 1910 and on

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