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The Drover's Wife: Hardship of Life in the Outback
The short-story "The Drover's Wife" is written by Henry Lawson, Australia's most famous short-story writer and poet. "The Drover's Wife" is probably Lawson's best-known work, and was first published in the collection entitled "While the Billy Boils" in 1892. Lawson was deeply interested in the effects of the harsh Australian outback on people's lives, having himself spent 18 months in the bush. This was expressed in a number of so-called "bush ballads" and stories, "The Drover's Wife" being one of them.
This short-story has the Australian bush or outback as its setting. This is revealed in the two first paragraphs, where the author makes a short and precise description of the little house and the surrounding landscape. To tell the time of the story is, however, more difficult. The text gives us only a few clues to when it might have happened. The most obvious one is, "The drought of 18 - ruined him". First I thought that 18 meant 1918, but considering that the short-story was written in 1892, this must be wrong. The year referred to is most probably 1818.
The main conflict in "The Drover's Wife" is perhaps not so evident as we may think. At first it is quite easy to imagine that there is a conflict between the bush woman and the snake. The reason for that is that the snake is a threat to the woman. If she does not kill it, the snake can bite one of the children, which will be a disaster since it is nineteen miles to the nearest neighbor. The child would be dead before they could get help.
However, this conflict is only a consequence of the main conflict, which is mentioned in a sentence early in the text, "The drover, an ex-squatter, is away with sheep. His wife and children are left here alone." The main problem is that the wife is left alone to deal with the hardships of life in the Australian bush. In my opinion Lawson uses the incident with the snake to uncover the bush woman's struggles against the outback.
The point of view used in "The Drover's Wife" is the Third person Limited voice. Lawson has told the story form the bush woman's perspective. That allows us to see into her thoughts and feelings. Since the woman is the main character as well, we are given a complete and realistic portrait of a woman's life in the bush.
Throughout the short-story we get a very good characterization of the woman, mainly via retrospective thoughts. We learn that she is a gaunt and sun-browned woman, and that her life in the bush started when she married a squatter at the age of 18. As a girl-wife she had hated the lonely life in the outback, but as time passed by, she grew used to it. When the drought forced her husband to go droving, she had been left alone with the children and the problems a life in the bush would bring. Her struggles have been many. Once she had to fight a bush fire threatening to burn down her house. Another time a mad bullock had besieged the house for a day. Then there was a flood which had ruined a very important dam. In addition to this she regularly must defend herself against dishonest sundowners and swagmen passing by her house.
Every time her husband returns, the woman is very happy. However, she does not gush or make a fuss about it. She usually gets him something good to eat, and tidies up the children. The bushwoman loves her children above all, but has no time to show it. The children have a very harsh impression of her. Still, in the last sentence we see proof of her love for them, "And she hugs him to her worn-out breast and kisses him; and they sit thus together while the sickly daylight breaks over the bush."
Even though the bush puts the woman on daily trials, she has not lost her keen sense of the ridiculous. Once she sat down in order to "have a good cry," she saw the cat rubbing itself against her dress, "crying too". That gave her a good laugh. The harsh life in the outback has made her tough and very strong. It gives her few pleasures and has fulfilled none of her day-dreams. But nevertheless, the bushwoman seems quite content with her lot.
It seems to me that Henry Lawson did not have a very deep and underlying intention when writing "The Drover's Wife. I think he only wants to tell us how small and defenseless people, and especially women, become in their encounter with the hardship of the Australian outback.
Nonetheless, to write a bush-story from a woman's perspective was quite unusual for Australian writing of the period. Lawson also claimed that the central character in "The Drover's Wife" was modeled on his aunt. This makes me think that he maybe wanted to start a discussion on the bush women’s cruel situation. However, I do not support this idea. I think Henry Lawson simply wanted to write a wonderful story, portraying the hardship of life in the Australian outback from a woman's point of view.How to Cite this Page
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Sheep droving through the town of Warialda in northern New South Wales
A drover in Australia is a person, typically an experienced stockman. who moves animals, usually sheep or cattle, "on the hoof" over long distances. Reasons for droving include:
The first droving over a significant distance occurred in 1836 when 300 cattle were moved by Joseph Hawdon in 26 days from the Murrumbidgee River to Melbourne. a distance of about 480 km. As droving skills were developed, more and more challenging assignments were undertaken. In 1863, boss drover George Gregory took 8000 sheep from near Rockhampton to the Northern Territory border, some 2100 km, taking seven months. In 1881, Nat Buchanan, regarded by many as the greatest drover of all, took 20,000 cattle from St George in Southern Queensland to the Daly River. not far south of Darwin. a distance of 3200 km. Drovers were sometimes on the road for as long as two years. The drovers who covered very long distances, often through remote areas, became known as “overlanders ” .
The most famous Outback stock routes were the Murranji Track, the Birdsville Track. and the Canning Stock Route. The Canning was regarded as the loneliest, the most difficult, and the most dangerous.
Cattle were expected to cover about ten miles (16 km) a day, sheep about six miles (10 km). Occasionally mobs of horses were moved by drovers. One famous overlander even claimed be had droved [some say “droved”, some say “driven”] a swarm of bees from Ballarat to the Murrumbidgee !
Traditional droving could not have been done without horses. Apart from the stock horses used during the day’s travel, there were packhorses. and the all-important night-horses. The “horse tailer” is the team member responsible for the welfare of the horses.
A good night-horse was highly prized for its night vision, and its ability to bring animals under control when a “rush” or stampede occurred at night. A rush can be started by a sudden noise such as a dingo call, a bolt of lightning, sparks from a fire, or even a bush rat gnawing on a tender part of a hoof. Drovers tell vivid stories of the totally chaotic conditions that occur when several hundred cattle start a charge at night. If they head towards the drovers’ camp, the best option may be to climb a sturdy tree (very fast). Many drovers have been trampled to death in a rush, sometimes still in their swags. But a good night-horse can be given its head, and will gradually wheel the leading cattle around until the mob is moving in a circle, and calm can be restored.
The gradual introduction of railways from about the 1860s made some droving work unnecessary. However, the work of the overlanders and drovers in general fell away rapidly in the 1960s as trucking of animals became the norm. Road trains carrying large number of animals are today a common sight in rural and Outback areas. But during times of drought. taking animals onto the “long paddock”, the fenced stock route between properties often shared with a public road, is common practice even today, and droving skills – with some modern aids – are still required.
Localised droving was common in the Kosciuszko National Park and Alpine National Park and High Plains areas, until the areas became National Parks. The drovers would often bring cattle from the lower pastures to the fresh green pastures for the summer months. During the summer months many of the drovers would often stay in mountain huts like Daveys Hut. Whites River Hut and Mawsons Hut .
An idealised image of the droving life is described in the poem Clancy of the Overflow . and more realistically depicted in the historical film The Overlanders  .
It may be surprising to some that women have been noted as exceptional drovers. One such was Edna Zigenbine . who took over a droving job from her sick father, and subsequently became a boss drover on the lonely northern stock routes.
Harry Redford established a reputation as an accomplished drover when he stole 1000 cattle from Bowen Downs Station near Longreach in Queensland in 1870 and drove them through very difficult country into South Australia. along a route now known as the Strzelecki Track .Droving in popular culture
Much literature has been written about droving, particularly balladic poetry.
The narrator describes the drover's wife as a "gaunt, sun-browned bushwoman." The story is set in the Outback of Australia, hence the term "bushwoman." Life in the bush is hard, so she has to be strong in body and will. When her son spots a snake, she doesn't panic; instead she makes a safe place for herself and her children until she knows the snake is gone. Although her husband has been away for 6 months, she isn't afraid or worried that he won't return. A drover's job takes him away for months at a time, and she's used to being alone. She must be educated because she reads the Young Ladies' Journal; we know she dreams of a different life because she enjoys looking at the fashions.
She has faced fires and floods and sickness and other problems all on her own, but the narrator says she seems to be content with her life:
She seems contented with her lot. She loves her children, but has no time to show it. She seems harsh to them. Her surroundings are not favourable to the development of the “womanly” or sentimental side of nature.
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Drover's wife is a gaunt and sun-browned bush-woman. She is mother of four ragged children. She is very caring and sensitive as she always deals with the problems to save her family and children. She is protective as she always protect everyone like her children, chickens and her animals too. She is a brave women as she never gives up from the problem in her daily life.
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UNIT 2: EULOGY/AUSTRALIA
By Milika Wong 11R3
NOVEMBER 18, 2013
TEACHER: MRS SMITH
Lady Sarah Ashley speaking of Drover's death
I stand before you today as a wife mourning her husband. Hugh Jackman also known as Drover was born on the 12[th] of January 1897, in Western Australia. He was the only child of Jake and Mary. They lived in a town called Derby in Western Australia, and later moved to Darwin where Drover grew up and lived his formative years, this was the place he found himself successful. I acknowledge that I am not the only one feeling this grief and pain for the loss of a beloved family or friend. Life.
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our utmost condolences. This husband of mine, was a well-known man as he fought for our country. Not only was he known for that but also many other things.
At the end of every day, as he rests from his labors, every man asks himself, "Have I made my spouse and children proud? Did I make their worlds at least a little bit better?" Ever a caring husband and father, this is the way Hugh Jackman lived his life. Drover always said "The only thing you really own is a story, just make it a good one." Well, Drover you certainly lived a good story. Those are words of wisdom that I will always cherish. He was the most giving person I've ever known and judging from the nodding heads, it seems that many of you agree. He devoted many hours into his hard work and was known for being ready with a helping hand and always having a positive attitude.
Although he came from simple beginnings, Drover worked his way through college and had a long successful career. Hard-work and determination.
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Essay Many Voices of Australia - the Drovers Wife (letter Form) and over other 25,000+ free term papers, essays and research papers examples are available on the website!
Autor: people • July 21, 2011 • Essay • 736 Words (3 Pages) • 1,104 Views
How are you? I am glad that you're studying this topic too. In this topic you get to look at all the different voices in Australia and the main three voices are the colonial, Aboriginal and multicultural voices. We mainly focused on 'The Drover's Wife' by Henry Lawson and 'Dancing on the Carpet' by Christine Harris. Each author uses a storyline, language techniques, experiences and themes to convey the different voices shown in each text.
'The Drover's Wife' by Henry Lawson, which gives us a colonial voice, portrayed the difficulty of living in the Australian bush; one had to be strong in order to survive. The introduction gives us the image of an isolated, dry and lifeless bushland, and the tension was only raised when the snake appeared. The woman's dog tried to get the snake but it escaped so she stayed up to protect her children all night long. The danger of the snake reminded her of the tough challenges she had faced alone in the past and we learn about her experiences by the flash backs of her life. The vermin appeared again and this time the woman kills it.
The woman had gone through a lot of harsh experiences which she confronted alone. She protected her children from a deadly serpent and this shows the theme, protecting the younger generation. She fought a flood alone, drenched in the pouring rain, and she also fought a bush fire which threatened to burn her out. These two experiences show two themes, Australian Bush because of the natural disasters, and bravery, because her actions prove that she is brave in handling situations.
Other themes are the love for the family and responsibility. The theme of love for the family is present throughout the story. The woman loves her family and she is prepared to be on her own to take care of her children. Similarly Tommy, the oldest child, loves his family and wants to protect them. Responsibility is shown through the actions and behaviors of the woman, as she is a responsible mother and wife.
The language techniques used in this story is a mixture of colonial and colloquial language. Tommy uses a lot of slangs, for example, he said, "Shet up you little -! D'yer want to be bit with the snake?" this is an everyday slang that is used even today. He also said "Mother, I won't never go drovin'; blast if I do!" and nowadays people don't say that but during the colonial times people do. Onomatopoeia is also used, for example 'thud, thud'. These techniques make the reader's experience the event in the story better.
'Dancing on the Carpet' by Christine Harris, gives us a multicultural voice. The introduction shows us the two main voices of the story, Miki, a Japanese exchange student, and Joe, an Italian Australian. Miki experienced the Australian society and she fell in love with Joe. We learn
2. ˜There is no such thing as a typical Australian.' What variety have you seen in the portrayal of Australians in the texts you studied this term? Were there any common qualities amongst them?
By studying the texts given in class there is no such thing as a typical Australian. There are many differences between the character's we see in texts such as ˜The one day of the year', ˜The drovers wife', and ˜Nice coloured girls. In ˜The one day of the year we see a suburban Australian family who are trying to deal with the differences amongst them. In ˜The drovers wife' we also see and Australian family who deal with living in the outback.
˜The one day of the year' written by Alan Seymour focuses on an Australian family who are dealing with the differences between one another. This text clearly demonstrates the different characters we see in Australian society. Alf is the main character of the play. He is a middle aged man who believes passionately in tradition. As he spent some of his life serving in WW2 it is still a big part of his life and looks forward to the one day of the year that he can celebrate the war. His son Hughie has a different view of celebrating the war and believes that it is a waste of time celebrating the waste of good lives. Hughie's girlfriend, Jan has a different background to that of Hughie's family. She was brought up in a wealthy upper-class family. She agrees with Hughie's ideas of celebrating ANZAC day. The family seen in ˜The One Day of the Year' has a variety of characters, who are quite different from one another.
˜The drovers wife' written by Henry Lawson shows an Australian family who live in the isolation of the outback. The wife of the drover spends most of her time looking after the children and doing household chores. Her husband is often away tendThis Essay is Approved by Our Editor Essays Related to The typical Australian
English Comparison Essay Essay, Research Paper
Traditional bush stories have always been a part of Australia’s history; involving many types of characters like Drovers and Shearers, just to name a couple.
Many writers have portrayed these traditional bush characters in different ways!
The two bush stories “The Drovers Wife” and “The Graziers Wife” are set in two different time eras and written by two authors from totally different time periods.
Both of the main characters in each of the bush stories are quite similar in certain ways yet very different! This essay will compare their personalities their lifestyle and lives in general.
“The Drover’s Wife” is a very traditional bush story, which mainly focuses a young wife of a Drover who usually lives alone with her three young children on their property deep in the bush. Her husband, “a drover, an ex-squatter, is away with sheep .”
“The Drover’s Wife” is a tough, strong-willed woman who is devoted to her husband, her children and their farm. The only thing she does for recreation and excitement is read the “Young Ladies’ Journal”. The whole family, (two parents and four children) live in a “two roomed house made of bark.” A recent drought has forced her husband to “sacrifice the remnant of his flock and go droving again .”
She doesn’t seem to regret the life she has but often she speaks fondly about her “girlish hopes and aspirations, which have long been dead. ”
During the story a dangerous, venomous snake slips under the house and being the devoted other she piles her four children on top of a table and sacrifices a whole nights sleep to keep watch for the snake.
‘The Graziers Wife’ is also a very similar bush story written by Christobel Mattingley except it is set around the middle of the 20th Century, about 1960s, 1970’s.
While The Drover’s Wife had to live without her husband, ‘The Grazier’s Wife’ has her husband by her side to work with and to help on the far. Like ‘The Drover’s Wife’ she also has four children and lives in the harsh environment of the outback. Even though she has her husband to help, protect and solve many problems she has many dilemmas of her own!
Unlike, ‘The Drover’s Wife’ she has the problem of giving the family adequate nutritional and interesting food, other than “beef and oranges .”
While ‘The Grazier’s Wife’ has lived in the city while she was growing up, ‘The Drover’s wife’ is a true bush girl who has always been in the bush while she was growing up!
On their farm they have a terrible weed afflicting the cattle forcing them at times to get rid some of their cattle to put them out of their misery.
‘The Drover’s wife’ resembles ‘The Grazier’s Wife’ as the rest of their livestock had to be sold because of a drought leaving them with none or very little stock.
Both the women have their own sources of recreation and excitement, whether it is reading a magazine, horse riding or tennis. They all have their own methods of relaxation to get away from the tough lifestyle of working and living on a farm.
Even though both women suffer the harsh effects of the sun, as seen through their “parched skin ” they don’t really have any regrets or longing to go and live in the city.
‘The Drover’s wife’ seems to be younger than ‘The Grazier’s Wife’ even though she has experienced some pretty tough struggles. The younger wife seems to display more affection to her children. This is in contrast to ‘The Grazier’s Wife’ who doesn’t seem to speak of her children with any affection! Also compared to ‘The Drover’s Wife’ she is very concerned or thinks about the material luxuries she used to enjoy when they lived in the city, for example, she compared her most recent anniversary to her tenth anniversary where ‘her husband had taken her on a cruise to Singapore .’
Both these bush stories represent traditional bush characters in their own way.
‘The Drover’s Wife’ written by Henry Lawson is more traditional in speech and mannerisms and he shows bush life to be extremely tough emotionally for the young wife and physically with her large family. The more modern bush story written by Christobel Matting ley also portrays bush life to be harsh and depicts characters with enough determination to survive these conditions. When comparing these two women together ‘The Drover’s Wife’ seems to be tougher even though she is younger she has more experience of surviving tough times without her husband rather than other.
The characters in the modern bush story are definitely different to those characters in the tradition story.