Bord this day in 1848 to a very poor family Louisa Lawson left school at 13. Married at 18 to a Norwegian sailor who left her on her own as he went gold prospecting she had five children, one who died as a baby. She gained financial independence by buying and managing boarding houses in Sydney. She used the money from the boarding houses to buy shares in the nationalist newspaper “The Republican”. She became a writer, editor, poet, suffragette, Australian republican and feminist.
She edited and published “The Dawn” a feminist journal published monthly for 17 years, the first Australian publication produced solely by women.
She had a difficult relationship with her eldest son Henry, who went on to become a writer, editor and poet in his own right. Many consider him to be the greatest Australian poet. His early work was heavily influenced by his mother, and she helped his career by employing him as an editor, and by publishing his work and using her press to print his first book.
Reverie; by Louisa Lawson
I am sitting by the river,
and I wile an hour away,
watching circles start and widen
in their momentary play.
Here a stronger whelms a weaker
as its ring expanding flies,
there one rises to the surface,
as another fades and dies.
And I solemn grow with thinking,
for just now it would me seem,
that each life is like a circle –
on time’s deep, impellant stream.
Do we not upon its bosom
linger for a little day,
making faint and fleeting impress,
then forever fade away.
while the strong unresting river
toward Eternity doth glide,
all regardless of the circles
that have pulsed upon its tide.