Plaster hand | State Library of New South Wales
Cast of Henry Lawson's right hand

Henry Lawson’s hand, c.1922
Nelson Illingworth (attrib.)
Plaster cast, gilded
R 298

Henry Lawson (1867–1922) was one of Australia’s best-known short story writers and poets. His first published work, ‘A Song of the Republic’ appeared in the Bulletin in 1887, and, during a career spanning over 30 years, he also tried his hand at journalism, writing pieces for the Republican, Boomerang and Worker.

The Mitchell Library holds a rich collection of Lawson’s manuscripts and memorabilia, including this gilded plaster cast of Lawson’s right hand. The cast, which had once been in the possession of journalist and poet Muir Holburn, is attributed to Sydney sculptor Nelson Illingworth. It is believed to have been made from a mould, taken from Lawson after his death, for the bust of Lawson which is now in the National Gallery of Victoria’s collection.

The Library also holds other Lawson memorabilia, including his hat, pen, pipe, tobacco, pencil and walking stick.