Biography of Edward George Dyson

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Edward Dyson in 1927
Edward George Dyson (4 March 1865 – 22 August 1931) was an Australian journalist, poet, playwright and short story writer. He was the elder brother of illustrators Will Dyson and Ambrose Dyson.

Early life

He was born at Morrisons near Ballarat in March 1865. His father, George Dyson, arrived in Australia in 1852 and after working on various diggings became a mining engineer. His mother, Jane, née Mayall, came from 'a life of refinement in England'. The family led a roving life during Dyson's childhood, moving successively to Alfredton, Bendigo, Ballarat and Alfredton again.

At 12 he began to work as an assistant to a travelling draper, During his teens he worked in various jobs 'below and on top' at Ballarat, Clunes, Bungaree, Lefroy (Tasmania), Smeaton and Gordon. About 1883 the family settled in South Melbourne.

Writing career

At 19, he began writing verse and, a few years later, embarked on a life of freelance journalism which lasted until his death. In 1896 he published a volume of poems, Rhymes from the Mines and, in 1898, the first collection of his short stories, Below and On Top.

His first real success came in 1889 when his short story A Golden Shanty was used as the title-piece in the Bulletin's Christmas anthology. His play, The Golden Shanty was first performed in Sydney on 30 August 1913.

In 1901, his first long story, The Gold-stealers, was published in London, which was followed by In the Roaring Fifties in 1906. In the same year appeared Fact'ry 'Ands, a series of more or less connected sketches dealing with factory life in Melbourne in a vein of humour. Various other stories and collections of stories were published in the Bookstall Series and will be found listed in Miller's bibliography of Australian Literature.

Another volume of verse, Hello, Soldier!, appeared in 1919. Dyson did an enormous amount of work for many years until he broke down under the strain and died after a long illness on 22 August 1931. His wife Dorothy (née Boyes), whom he married in 1914, survived him with their one daughter aged 14.



  • In the Roaring Fifties (1906)
  • The Missing Link (1908)
  • Tommy Minogue (1908)
  • Tommy the Hawker and Snifter His Dog (1911)
  • Loves of Lancelot (1914)
  • The Escapades of Ann (1919)
  • The Grey Goose Comedy Company (1922)

Short Story collections

  • Below and On Top (1898)
  • Fact'ry 'Ands (1906)
  • Benno and Some of the Push: Being Further 'Fact'ry 'Ands' Stories (1911)
  • The Golden Shanty (1911)
  • Spats' Fact'ry : More Fact'ry 'Ands (1914)

Poetry collections

  • Rhymes from the Mines and Other Lines (1896)
  • 'Hello, Soldier!': Khaki Verse (1919)

Major poems

  • "The Worked-Out Mine" (1889)
  • "The Trucker" (1890)
  • "Cleaning Up" (1892)
  • "Struck it at Last" (1892)
  • "The Old Whim Horse" (1892)
  • "When the Bell Blew Up" (1893)
  • "The Rescue" (1894)
  • "Peter Simson's Farm" (1896)
  • "A Friendly Game of Football" (1896)
  • "Men of Australia" (1898)
  • "At the Football Match: Last Saturday" (1897)
  • "The Letters of the Dead" (1915)
  • "Hello, Soldier!" (1918)

Selected works

  • "The Fact of the Matter" (1892) – part of The Bulletin Debate

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Vain Hope
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Sometimes, to solace my sad heart, I say,
Though late it be, though lily-time be past,
Though all the summer skies be overcast,
Haply I will go down to her, some day,
And cast my rests of life before her feet,
That she may have her will of me, being so sweet
And none gainsay!


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