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Henry Lawson's writing

Student activities

Task no. 1

The Free Selector's Daughter

Henry Lawson was a poet of both short stories and poems and his writing portrays much information about the Australian landscape and its people. His writing uses the conventions of realism providing historical depictions of rural life in Australia during this time. 

Listen to the following interview and reading with Australian actor, Jack Thompson and answer the discussion questions.

  • What is the setting?
  • What images are portrayed in the poem?
  • What are some examples of distinctly Australian language e.g. mongrel, Crimson fool? Do you know what these words mean?

Jack Thompson explains that Lawson's poems were written to be read aloud.

  • In pairs, read The Free Selector's daughter
  • Highlight distinctly Australian language and/or language which is not used today. Write these words on post-it notes and create a word wall for future reference.
  • As a class discuss what the poem is about and define any unknown language.
  • Read the first 3 stanzas of the poem out loud and pay close attention to the rhyming pattern for each stanza.
  • Discuss where the rhyming words are located.
  • Each pair in the class takes a stanza to rehearse together.
  • As a class, read the poem in full with each pair reading their stanza in the order it comes in the poem.