One of the best known Australian poets and short story writers of the colonial period, Henry Lawson was born in 1867 in New South 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 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, While the Billy Boils, considered a collection of works reinventing Australian realism, raw and sharp sentences. He writes considerably about the Australian Outback, though spent most of his life in its cities. He became increasingly withdrawn, depressed and poor in his later years, though he was considered one of Australia's leading short story writers.