1 September 2023 admin-Cheryl

Honouring Henry Lawson

Commemorative plaque unveiling

I had an amazing experience on the 1st August. I was deep in the Norwegian countryside at an interesting old house, and I unveiled a plaque. It must surely be a unique occasion – a Kiwi / Aussie unveiling a plaque for the grandfather of a major Australian author in Norway? The plaque was on the house where Peder Larsen was born. He was grandfather to Henry Lawson (Peder’s son, Niels Larsen, changed the family name to Lawson when he arrived in Australia), and the Henry Lawson Society of Norway and various interested locals arranged for a plaque. I was delighted to be asked to unveil it, and my tour group were all part of the audience. It was a sunny morning, and all made for a very special occasion indeed. I also received a fabulous medallion of Henry Lawson, with printed on it the words: “I was born to write of the things that are.”

The Austre Moland History Team has described the event here, with pictures.

We went from the house at Austre Moland to Faervik, which had been home to Niels Hertzberg Larsen. Today it is a community centre and there’s a fine silhouette of Henry Lawson on the outside wall. Inside there’s a display of Henry Lawson on postage stamps, on the $10 Australian banknote, and a copy of his birth certificate. Here we listened to a fascinating talk on Henry Lawson and the Critics, given by Kari Mentyjaervi, a Norwegian woman who had written a thesis on Lawson, and heard a wonderful recitation of Lawson poems by Tore Tunold who, as a young man, had worked on the Snowy Mountains scheme and there learned Australian bush poetry by heart. He also did a fabulous rendition of Banjo Paterson’s The Man from Snowy River and there were not many dry eyes in the room. A truly magical visit!

I felt so honoured to be representing literary Australia in such a special ceremony. Tell me your thoughts by leaving a comment.

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Featured image- Commemorative plaque unveiling at Flaten gård, Susannah Fullerton

Comments (7)

  1. Deborah Burns

    Well done! Exciting to be part of this historical unveiling. Have you read ‘That Mad Louisa’ by Richard Handley? The story of Henry’s mother, a leader in women’s rights, and insight also into the life of Henry Lawson. It was a fascinating biography.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      No, I have not read it, so thanks for the recommendation. She was a really intersting woman.

  2. Elizabeth Beck

    Congratulations Susannah on representing our Nation on the unveiling of Henry Lawsons plaque
    A great honour
    Interesting to learn of the background of his family
    Thank you

  3. Anne Williams

    Our resident historian, Beverley Earnshaw, saw your newsletter and asked if I had been at the unveiling. Ofcourse I was there and took photos!
    She has asked me to write about it for inclusion in our bi monthly Newsletter so I hope I can write an appropriate article. It was such a unique occasion on our Scandi tour, like so many others, just a wonderful time away, thanks Susannah and ASA.

  4. Michael Taylor

    Congratulations Susannah!
    A real honour.
    We were part of your tour to Scandanavia in 2018 and the wonderful recitation of Aussie bush poems by Tore was indeed a highlight of that tour.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Yes, it was a magic moment on that tour, wasn’t it. So looking forward to trvelling with you both again very soon!

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