Harry ‘Breaker’ Morant (above) 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 and Handcock were found guilty and executed by firing squad on February 27th 1902.
The Firing Squad Scene in “Breaker Morant” with Bryan Brown as Handcock and Edward Woodward as Morant.
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 counsel, – 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.
The Poetry of ‘Breaker’ Morant: from the Bulletin 1891-1903 1980, foreword by David McNicoll.