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Sorenson, Edward Sylvester (Ed) (1869–1939)

by W. E. FitzHenry

Edward Sylvester Sorensen, who died last Tuesday at his home at Marrickville in his seventy-first year, was a regular contributor to many Australian newspapers and periodicals for more than 42 years, and was one of the now rapidly dwindling band of Australian writers who made literary history during the nineties of last century.

H. M. Green in his An Outline of Australian Literature (1930), said of Sorenson that he knew "outback life better than most." Certainly, few Australian authors, not even Henry Lawson or "Steele Rudd," had a more varied experience of bush-life than Sorenson.

E. S. Sorenson was born at a little settlement called Dryaaba, near Casino (New South Wales), on September 24, 1869. The qualities that endeared him to Australian editors were his vast and detailed knowledge of bushlore, and of outback people and places, his keen sense of observation, and the geniality of his writings.

He published seven books, the first in 1903 and the last in 1925. Quinton's Rouseabout is a collection of his earlier short stories and is a good sample of his confident craftsmanship in that field. The Squatter's Ward and Murty Brown, two novels, enjoyed wide popularity when first published and still make lively reading. Life in the Australian Bush, Friends and Foes in the Australian Bush, and Chips and Splinters are three books of vivid and informative sketches, which reveal how well Sorenson knew the bush and his crisp narrative style. Spotty the Bower Bird is a delightful book for youngsters that should be on every Australian child's bookshelf. His many light and pleasant verses and bush ballads were never published in book form.

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Citation details

W. E. FitzHenry, 'Sorenson, Edward Sylvester (Ed) (1869–1939)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/sorenson-edward-sylvester-ed-8584/text28420, accessed 25 November 2017.

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