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Sir Samuel McCaughey

Henry Lawsons Cottage


Enjoyed an enlightening couple of days in Leeton.

Leeton is a town in the Riverina region of New South Wales, Australia. Leeton is situated approximately 550 km west of Sydney and 450 km north of Melbourne in the productive Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area

Leeton and Yanco exist due to the activity of a wealthy Irish landholder.

Samuel McCaughey, who on his property ‘North Yanko’, demonstrated that irrigation was possible. He built dams and re-directed water on his own land to show politicians that it could be done. His influence led the government to commence constructing a giant irrigation scheme in 1906, and in 1912 the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA) was officially opened.

I did not realise that Henry Lawson spent some time here, drying out.

Farm 418, Daalbata Road Leeton. For many years Lawson had suffered from depression and alcoholism. He was at times destitute and had been subject to stays in gaols and mental institutions.

Over the next 20 months Henry Lawson produced around 30 poems and 10 prose sketches. Not all related directly to Leeton and some were not published but among them some important pieces, including "Leeton Town" and "A Letter from Leeton" were produced. The latter, published as a book distributed to soldiers at the Front, was credited by a government report as having attracted settlers to the MIA after World War I.

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