Drovers Wife Henry Lawson Essay About Myself

"The Drover's Wife"
AuthorHenry Lawson
Published inThe Bulletin
Media typeprint (magazine)
Publication date23 July 1892

"The Drover's Wife" is a dramatic short story by the Australian writer Henry Lawson. It recounts the story of an outback woman left alone with her four children in an isolated hut.[1]

The story was first published in the 23 July 1892 edition of The Bulletin magazine, and was subsequently reprinted in a number of the author's collections, and other anthologies (see below).

Plot summary[edit]

A woman in the outback is isolated in a small hut with her four children. Her husband has been away droving for six months and near sunset one day a snake disappears under the house. The children are put to bed and the woman waits with her dog, Alligator, for the snake to re-appear. Near dawn the snake emerges and it is killed by the woman and dog. It shows the eternal struggle of a lonely woman against what nature produces towards her.


"The Drover's Wife" first appeared in The Bulletin magazine on 23 July 1892. It was subsequently published in Short Stories in Prose and Verse, Lawson's 1894 collection of short stories and poetry. Since its initial publication it has become one of Henry Lawson's most re-published works.

  • Short Stories in Prose and Verse by Henry Lawson (1894)
  • While the Billy Boils by Henry Lawson (1896)
  • The Bulletin Story Book : A Selection of Stories and Literary Sketches from 'The Bulletin' [1881–1901] edited by Alfred George Stephens (1901)
  • Australian Short Stories edited by George Mackaness (1928)
  • The Children's Lawson edited by Colin Roderick (1949)
  • The Bulletin, 1 February 1950
  • Hemisphere vol. 1 no. 2, (1957)
  • Favourite Australian Stories edited by Colin Thiele (1963)
  • A Century of Australian Short Stories edited by Cecil Hadgraft and R. B. J. Wilson (1963)
  • Short Stories of Australia : The Lawson Tradition edited by Douglas Stewart (1967)
  • While the Billy Boils : 87 Stories from the Prose Works of Henry Lawson by Henry Lawson (1970)
  • The Bush Undertaker and Other Stories edited by Colin Roderick (1970)
  • Henry Lawson : Selected Stories edited by Brian Matthews (1971)
  • Best Australian Short Stories edited by Douglas Stewart and Beatrice Davis (1971)
  • Henry Lawson's Best Stories by Henry Lawson (1973)
  • The Old Bulletin Reader : The Best Stories from The Bulletin 1881–1901 (1973)
  • An Australian Selection : Short Stories By Lawson, Palmer, Porter, White and Cowan edited by John Barnes (1974)
  • The World of Henry Lawson edited by Walter Stone (1974)
  • The Bulletin, 29 January 1980
  • Short Stories by Henry Lawson (1981)
  • Prose Works of Henry Lawson by Henry Lawson (1982)
  • The Essential Henry Lawson : The Best Works of Australia's Greatest Writer edited by Brian Kiernan (1982)
  • A Camp-Fire Yarn : Henry Lawson Complete Works 1885–1900 edited by Leonard Cronin (1984)
  • Henry Lawson Favourites by Henry Lawson (1984)
  • My Country : Australian Poetry and Short Stories, Two Hundred Years edited by Leonie Kramer (1985)
  • Henry Lawson : An Illustrated Treasury by Henry Lawson (1985)
  • The Penguin Henry Lawson : Short Stories edited by John Barnes (1986)
  • Henry Lawson's Mates : The Complete Stories of Henry Lawson' by Henry Lawson (1987)
  • Australian Short Stories edited by Carmel Bird (1991)
  • The Penguin Book of 19th Century Australian Literature edited by Michael Ackland (1993)
  • An Anthology of Australian Literature edited by Ch'oe Chin-yong and Cynthia Van Den Driesen (1995)
  • The Arnold Anthology of Post-Colonial Literatures in English edited by John Thieme (1996)
  • 200 Years of Australian Writing : An Anthology edited by James F.H. Moore (1997)
  • Classic Australian Short Stories edited by Maggie Pinkney (2001)
  • Henry Lawson edited by Geoffrey Blainey (2002)
  • The Campfire Yarns of Henry Lawson by Henry Lawson (2009)
  • Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature edited by Nicholas Jose, Kerryn Goldsworthy, Anita Heiss, David McCooey, Peter Minter, Nicole Moore and Elizabeth Webby (2009)


  • Martin Flanagan and James Ley discussed the story at the Wheeler Centre.[2]

Cultural references[edit]

  • The Drover's Wife is a 1945 painting by Australian artist Russell Drysdale. While the painting doesn't specifically illustrate a scene from the story, it takes its title from it.[3]
  • Murray Bail's story, "The Drover's Wife" (1975), is based on Drysdale's painting and is narrated by the woman's first husband.[1]
  • Frank Moorhouse's story, "The Drover's Wife" (1980), satirises the bush ethos of Lawson and academics who study him.[1]
  • Barbara Jefferis's story, "The Drover's Wife" (1980), provides a feminist viewpoint of the story.[1]
  • Damien Broderick's story, "The Drover's Wife's Dog" (1991), narrates the story from the point of view of the dog.[1]

Television adaptation[edit]

In 1968, the Australian Broadcasting Commission created a 45-minute adaptation of the story, directed by Giancarlo Manara and featuring Clarissa Kaye in the lead role.[4]

Dramatic adaptation[edit]

In 2016 the story was adapted into a play by Leah Purcell. It premiered at the Belvoir Theatre in September 2016, and was directed by Leticia Cáceres.[5][6][7]


An Analysis of 'The Drover's Wife' by Henry Lawson

739 WordsJan 7th, 20183 Pages

The Drover's Wife written by William Bail shares the same title and also tells the tale of a strong, independent woman, only with quite different results than Lawson's character. This essay will explore both of these women and will support the thesis that both represent archetypes of the strong, independent ideal of Australian women. Both Lawson's and Bail's Drover's wives are separated from their husbands. Lawson's Drovers wife is separated from her husband through no choice of her own, but by the circumstances of their existence and what he must do to help them survive. Her husband has been gone for six months herding sheep and she is not certain if you will ever come home. She worries about him and is concerned, but her life is taken up entirely by her need to survive and to take care of their children. She hopes to see her husband again and hope that nothing bad has happened to him. Bail's drover's wife has not seen her husband for 30 years and is separated from him by her own choice. She left a note saying that she was going to the store, but then never came back. She did not sign her note with her customary "Love" at the end, and has never bothered to call or show any concern for her husband or her children. This is a juxtaposition to Lawson's drover's wife who cares for her children…

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