In 1902 Lawson wrote: '"The Union Buries Its Dead" is simply an unornimented (sic) description of a funeral I took part in Bourk (sic) N.S.W.- it is true in every detail- even to the paragraph re the drowning of a man named Tyson having appeared in a Sydney Daily.'
William Wood, writing from Paraguay in 1931, recalled knowing Lawson during his stay in Bourke: 'I was present, with other Union officials, at the funeral described by Henry in "The Union Buries Its Dead" and still remember many of the details so humorously described... The cemetery was a good step from town and many of the mourners developed a strong thirst long before the first pub was met on the way back.'.
The text mentions the drowned Union Member's name as James Tyson, though this is "only the name he went by." James Tyson (1819–1898), a squatter, was reputed to be the wealthiest and meanest man in the whole continent.