Harry 'Breaker' Morant was born in the United Kingdom - in 1865 by his own account but in 1864 according to later research, possibly under the name Edwin Henry Murrant. He left England in April 1883 bound for Queensland where he married Daisy May O'Dwyer (later known more famously as Daisy Bates) - and quickly divorced - and took to droving and horse-breaking; hence the nickname. In the late 1890s he enlisted with the South Australian Mounted Rifles to fight in the Boer War in South Africa. Along with P.J. Handcock, Morant was court-martialled for executing several Boer prisoners and a German missionary. He was found guilty and executed by firing squad on February 27th 1902. The story of his trial and execution was told in the 1979 film "Breaker Morant" with Edward Woodward as Morant, Bryan Brown as Handcock, along with Jack Thompson as the defending council, - the film was directed by Bruce Beresford. Morant was one of the 'back-block' bards of the 1890s and published the bulk of his work in The Bulletin magazine.
Morant published no collections of his work during his lifetime.
The Poetry of 'Breaker' Morant: from the Bulletin 1891-1903 1980, foreword by David McNicoll
Bushman and Buccaneer, Harry Morant 1902, by Frank Fox
Scapegoats of Empire 1907, by George R. Witton
Breaker Morant 1962, by F.M. Cutlack
The Breaker 1973, by Kit Denton
Closed File 1983, by Kit Denton
Shoot Straight, You Bastards! 2002, by Nick Bleszynski
This page and its contents are copyright ©2002 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.Return to Larrikin Literature Page.
Last modified: September 11, 2002.