Explore the life and times of the father of Australian literature in the historic surrounds of Gulgong.
Henry Lawson spent his childhood years living with his family in Gulgong, 30km north of Mudgee. The town features in many of his poems and short stories, but it’s clear Lawson’s attitude to Gulgong was conflicted. He once described it as, 'a wretched remnant of a town on an abandoned goldfield'.
Perhaps he’d feel differently today, as the years have cast a warm nostalgic glow over the remarkably preserved 19th Century gold mining town, which is home to the museum that celebrates Lawson’s life and times.
The Henry Lawson Museum is a celebration of the literary forefather’s life and works, taking visitors on a chronological journey from his early childhood, to the prime of his literary career and his often challenging later years and death. It shines a lot on his family and friends, and the characters that shaped the man and made their way into his prose.
The collection explores Lawson’s engagement in politics, his patriotism for our young country and criticism of England, justice for workers, the struggles of the poor and equality for women. It also examines the less admiral aspects of his life, namely his decades-long struggle with alcoholism and the affects of his drinking on his family and his own personal happiness.
Lawson’s story is told through illustrated wall designs, extracts from poems and stories, photographs, letters, oil paintings, first edition texts and more. The museum is housed within a former Salvation Army Hall, with the alter still in place; an appropriately historic setting for this wonderful figure of Australian literary history.
The museum is run by volunteers, and sells Lawson-related memorabilia and books. It’s a must-see for any visitor to Gulgong.