Henry Lawson (1867 - 1922) was one of the best known Australian poets and short story writers of the colonial period. He was born in South New Wales, which was called Pipeclay when his parents met during the gold rush. His mother was the poet and feminist, Louisa Lawson; his father, a miner, was born in Norway. Due to chronic ear infections, Henry became completely deaf, relying on reading to complete his education. He particularly enjoyed the works of Charles Dickens, Frederick Marryat, and Brett Harte.
Lawson's first poem, A Song of the Republic was published in 1887. His most successful collection was published in 1896, titled While the Billy Boils, which is credited with reinventing Australian realism, in its raw and sharp style. Lawson wrote extensively about the Australian Outback, though he spent most of his life in its cities. In his advancing years, Lawson became increasingly withdrawn, depressed and poor, yet he remains one of Australia's greatest short story writers, along with contemporary author, Banjo Paterson.