Their lives could have been written so differently: the story of Henry Lawson and Mary Gilmore’s lost love.
Still revered across Australia, Henry Lawson is one of the nation’s favourite writers and poets. His contemporary, Mary Gilmore, was a literary icon and radical socialist. Both were heroes of literature that had enormous influence over each other.
Both were later the face of Australia’s currency.
Both were secretly betrothed to each other.
At the end of the 19th Century, Mary Gilmore was introduced to the young Henry Lawson. As their friendship developed, Mary found herself caught in the midst of an intense relationship between Henry and his formidable mother, the suffragette Louise Lawson.
What followed was the beginning of a love affair, soon thwarted by a devastating deception.
After researching Mary Gilmore’s memoirs, writer Anne Brooksbank first uncovered the tale of loving promises between two of Australia’s most famous writers. Taken from excerpts from the couple’s surviving letters, this is the first time Henry and Mary’s forbidden relationship has been brought to the professional stage.