Paterson Vs Lawson – A Classical Literature Study Booklet on Australian Identity for Years 8/9/10


Summary of Teaching Resource:

In this lesson series students will focus on Australian poetry in particular the ballad form found in the poems of Lawson and Paterson. Students will understand the characteristics of the ballad and the vocabulary and language of early poetry and gain insight into the cultural and social context of the time.

Teacher’s Guide:

Henry Lawson is described as the ‘people’s poet’ or ‘bush bard’. Born in 1867 he is Australia’s best known poet and fiction writer. His work contains themes of sadness and hardship inspired as they were by his own upbringing in poverty and bouts of alcoholism. He wrote copious ballads, lyrics, radical songs, sketches and stories which appeared in journals and published in collection form in Australia and England. Some well known ballads include Freedom on the Wallaby ,A Song of the Republic, the Drover’s Wife and The Old Bark school

Andrew Barton Paterson was born in 1864 in NSW. The first publication of his poetry came in 1889 when the Sydney Bulletin placed Clancy of the Overflow by ‘The Banjo’ in its edition. It was followed in 1895 by Banjo’s the Man from Snowy River. His bush ballads were typical of the bush life and his writing has a special connection to the times in which it was written. The Bulletin in 1880 was encouraging Australians everywhere to write about life in the outback and the ‘new’ country was searching for an identity. Banjo’s Waltzing Matilda had become a more popular ‘anthem’ for Australians in the way it captures a heroic pioneer adventurer as its main character and idolises the spirit of ‘the bush’. Banjo’s poetry chronicles the common life in the outback with comedy and sardonic acceptance of the good with the bad.

Australian Curriculum Links:

Year 9 Literature:

  • Interpret and compare how representations of people and culture in literary texts are drawn from different historical, social and cultural contexts(ACELT1633)
  • Present an argument about a literary text based on initial impressions and subsequent analysis of the whole text (ACELT1771)
  • Reflect on, discuss and explore notions of literary value and how and why such notions vary according to context (ACELT1634)
  • Explore and reflect on personal understanding of the world and significant human experience gained from interpreting various representations of life matters in texts (ACELT1635)
  • Analyse texts from familiar and unfamiliar contexts, and discuss and evaluate their content and the appeal of an individual author’s literary style(ACELT1636)
  • Analyse text structures and language features of literary texts, and make relevant comparisons with other texts (ACELT1772)
  • Create literary texts, including hybrid texts, that innovate on aspects of other texts, for example by using parody, allusion and appropriation(ACELT1773)
  • Experiment with the ways that language features, image and sound can be adapted in literary texts, for example the effects of stereotypical characters and settings, the playfulness of humour and pun and the use of hyperlink (ACELT1638)

Please note that this resource also links with the Year 8 and 10 Curriculum. Please view here.

Download the workbook below:

Paterson Vs Lawson Classical Literature Study Guide and Unit (PDF)




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