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Jack Grant arrives in Western Australia in 1882, having been expelled from his public school and then sent down from an agricultural college. He experiences hunting, farming, gold mining, fights and his first love of women. His character is forged by the Australian landscape and its hard, no-nonsense people. From the young boy emerges a tough Lawrentian hero.
Lawrence and his wife Frieda, arrived in Australia in 1922 where they met the Quaker nurse Mollie Skinner. Skinner showed Lawrence her novel, "Black Swans". Lawrence advised her to drop this book and write about the first settlers in Australia. In 1923 Skinner sent Lawrence her novel, "The House of Ellis" which Lawrence completely rewrote and published as "The Boy in the Bush". Skinner gave her permission for the redrafting but is said to have wept at the new ending. "The Boy in the Bush" ‘perhaps gives us Lawrence’s response to Australia more purely than his own Australian novel Kangaroo.’