Australian National Heroes

The Australian National heroes are an integral part of Australia's history and culture and they represent the nation's identity. Some of the Famous National heroes of Australia are Daniel Henry Deniehy, Ned Kelly, Henry Lawson, “Banjo” Paterson and Jack Lang.

Daniel Henry Deniehy

  • Born on 16 August 1828 in Sydney, Daniel Henry Deniehy was a thorough republican patriot who led his life in accordance with his own principles.

His major goals in life which he worked hard to achieve were:
  • A genuine people's democracy
  • Make land available to the average citizen
  • Keep Australia free from Asianisation
  • Promote Australianism against imperialism
  • On 15 August, 1853 Daniel Deniehy made his first appearance “on the public stage” where he opposed William Wentworth's draft New South Wales Constitution, and spoke in favour of a widespread democracy.
  • In 1857, Deniehy was elected to the NSW Legislative Assembly. During his tenure he aimed to make land available to the working class. Also, in order to advocate greater democracy, he helped establish the New South Wales Electoral Reform League. While the policies of the Reform League became generally accepted, several undemocratic features remained.
  • Deniehy set up his own newspaper ‘ the Southern Cross' , after being defeated in the electoral contests. His paper aimed to assess public affairs, promote national sentiment, and work toward the federation of the colonies. However due to financial constraints his newspaper closed down on 11, August 1860.
  • Daniel Henry Deniehy died in Bathurst, 22 October, 1865.

In these times when there is fear of Australia losing its national identity by threats of foreign exploitation, Daniel Henry Deniehy remains an inspiration for Australian nationalists.

Ned Kelly-

  • Known as an Outlaw and folk hero, Ned Kelly had his first encounter with the law at the tender age of 14years when he was charged with beating up a Chinese man.
  • Ned was victimized by the police who proposed to shoot him without a trail which compelled him to become an outlaw. The account of the police harassment directed against Ned and his family and his consequent evasion of police arrest for years which turned him into a local folk hero has become common knowledge.
  • Ned Kelly's real date of birth is not known. On 11 November 1880 Ned was hung to death and this date remains an unforgettable day in the minds of Australians. It is the rebellious spirit of people like Ned Kelly which is a source of inspiration for Australian nationalists to fight against the traitors of the nation.

Henry Lawson-

  • Born on 17 June, 1867 on the Grenfell goldfields, Henry Lawson was one of the most renowned Australian writers whose poetry and short stories are widely read even today. His works sketch the progress of Australia's national unity.

Lawson's works also mirror his political ideologies which were:

  • The promotion of a republic
  • The belief in a European Australia
  • The desire for social justice.
  • These three major strands frequently appear in his writings. He wrote of a future where it was necessary to have revolutionary changes in order to attain freedom from the imperialist exploitation and power.
  • Until his death on 2 September 1922, Lawson continued his vast literary work. Revered as "The people's poet” and "the real voice of Australia", he was the first writer in Australia who was granted a state funeral.
  • While his works continue to be an integral part of Australia's national identity and culture, Henry Lawson remains an inspiration to Australian nationalists in their fight against the anti-Australian Establishment.

"Banjo" Paterson-

  • Also known as Bush Poet and Nationalist Patriot, Andrew Barton Paterson is famous for his poetry and stories which are admired even today. His writings are considered the best works of Australia's national culture which is said to evoke a strong affinity with the Australian community.
  • Born on 17 February 1864 in New South Wales near Orange, Paterson used the pseudo name of ‘The Banjo' to write for his magazines. He was an all rounder both in his studies as well as in sports. He had a deep affinity with horses and his alias too was derived from the name of the race horse his family owned.
  • Paterson's great sense of Australianism is reflected in many of his popular works like Clancy of the Overflow, Mulga Bill's Bicycle, The Road to Gundagai and The Geebung Polo Club. In the unfortunate Boer War, he became a war correspondent.
  • He joined the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) subsequent to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. He rose to the rank of major and in 1919 returned to Australia. His writings on the war had an essence of the sacrifices made by the Australian forces.
  • Many of Paterson's work capture beautifully the stark yet dazzling beauty of Australia and his concern over Asianisation is reflected in both his poetry and prose. He also wrote a warning for Australia's future lest personal freedom and independence is lost.
  • Andrew Barton Paterson died on 5th February, 1941 and left behind a timeless literary legacy of Australia and its culture and identity. His works remain an inspiration for other Australian national heroes or nationalist in their struggle against anti-Australian multiculturalists.

Jack Lang-

  • John Thomas Land, born in 21 December 1876, was an Australian nationalist and one of the pioneers in independent Australia.
  • Also known as "the Big Fella", John Lang was an important figure in New South Wales and Federal government and politics since 1913, the year in which he was elected as a Political Labor party member to the NSW Legislative Assembly.
  • In the general election of 1949, he was defeated as an independent member of the House of Representatives.
  • His first term as Treasurer in the NSW Labor government of 1920-21 and later as Premier and Treasurer of the State (twice - 1925-27 & 1930-32) brought about several significant innovations such as widows' pensions, child endowment, and increased workers' compensation rates among others.
  • Lang died on 27 September 1975. He defended the sovereignty of the Australian people and remains an inspiration to many Australian nationalists in their future struggles.


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