City v Country
in The Bulletin

The Debate

In 1892 Henry Lawson, Banjo Paterson and others engaged in a lively poetic debate in The Bulletin. Although the language was strong and the sentiments somewhat fierce, it was conducted in good humour and there's no doubt that the protagonists enjoyed every moment of it - and the paper enjoyed the circulation boost.

The Poems

I've collected the original poems as published in The Bulletin (with the assistance of the staff at the National Library). Some of these have been revised by the authors at a later date, and I've been able to find them online - so you can see what has been changed, sometimes for the better.

Publication Date Author Original Later Version
9 July 1892 Henry Lawson Borderland Up the Country
23 July 1892 Banjo Paterson In Defence of the Bush In Defence of the Bush
30 July 1892 Edward Dyson The Fact of the Matter The Fact of the Matter
6 August 1892 Henry Lawson In Answer to "Banjo" and Otherwise The City Bushman
20 August 1892 H.H.C.C. - probably
Henry Lawson
The Overflow of Clancy The Overflow of Clancy
27 August 1892 Francis Kenna Banjo, of the Overflow Banjo, of the Overflow
1 October 1892 Banjo Paterson In Answer to Various Bards An Answer to Various Bards
8 October 1892 Henry Lawson The Poets of the Tomb The Poets of the Tomb

There's another poem of Paterson's - not strictly part of the sequence, but along the same lines. A Voice from the Town was published in The Bulletin on 20 October 1894, in response to A Voice fom the Bush, which is believed to be written by Mowbray Morris in 1871.

Kerry Webb
July 2013