"If you know Bourke, you know Australia", Henry Lawson wrote to Edward Garnett in February 1902, a few months before returning to Australia from England.
Henry Lawson came to Bourke in 1892 and worked both in town and district up until the early winter of 1893. This outback trip was to provide him with much material for both poetry and prose, principally in "While the Billy Boils" and "Send Around the Hat".
He lived in several houses in Bourke; one was perhaps in Mitchell Street. Another, more certainly was in "a small house over the billabong on the western side of Bourke". Lawson also sheltered in a skillion at the back of the office of the Labourers' Union, and of course at the "Carrier's Arms" and, in the hot weather, in the park.
The Darling River made a different impression than the Paroo on him. He took a trip on a river boat on the river which was "either a muddy gutter or a second Mississippi" - and described it in his story "The Darling R." and the poems "Song of the Darling R." and "The Storm That is to Come". The Darling was important to the development of Australia as a whole in his view, and the building of locks would greatly assist this development and help defence in the future.
For more information please contact the Back O' Bourke Information and Exhibition Centre
Kidman Way, Bourke NSW 2840
02 6872 1321