The Drover's Wife

The Drover's Wife Study Guide

"The Drover's Wife" is one of Lawson's most famous short stories. Set in the Australian bush, it is the tale of a woman facing off against a snake in order to protect herself and her children. The character's stoicism and quiet heroism, as well as the naturalistic depiction of the wild, hostile bush, have cemented the story's critical and popular approbation.

The story was first published in the magazine The Bulletin on July 23rd 1892, then included in Lawson's collection Short Stories in Prose and Verse (1894). It has been included in many anthologies and short story collections over the years.

Lawson's story has been adapted for various media. In 1968, the Australian Broadcasting Commission adapted it for the radio. Leah Purcell turned the story into a play in 2016. In 1945, Australian artist Russell Drysdale painted a work entitled The Drover's Wife, featuring a woman standing in the foreground of the picture plane with a man, wagon, and horses in the background. The landscape is barren, painted in ochres and grays. Other Australian fiction writers, including Barbara Jefferis and Damien Broderick, have been inspired by the piece and have written their own variations.