Born in England, A. J. Dawson served an apprenticeship in the Loch line of sailing ships. He abondoned his ship in Melbourne and stayed in Australia and the South Seas for a few years. He eventually returned to England and settled down to press work in London. During his editorship of the Standard of Empire (1908-1913) he advocated a policy of imperialism which won favour in the Dominions. Dawson revisisted Australia from 1912 to 1914 where he completed his novel The Record of Nicholas Freydon, published anonymously in 1914. Returning to England before the outbreak of the First World War, he soon enlisted, and after being gassed in Thiepval Wood towards the end of 1916, he was transferred to Home Service. From 1919 to 1921 he acted as director of information to the Bombay Government before retiring to the south of England. Dawson wrote more than twenty fictional works and a number of non-fiction, with topics ranging from war memoirs to books on life boats and the care of dogs. Several of his novels and stories have Australian settings. (Source: E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature I, 447-448)
A note in the Free-Lance's 'Bohemia' column states: 'A. J. Dawson, who poses as an Australian story-writer in London, is bringing out a new yarn called "The Beachcomber," the scene of which is laid in the Australian bush, which Dawson is alleged to know well from rough experience. He is 30, and claims to have been on a back blocks journal in Queensland for some years.' 1.3 (7 May 1896): 10
Note: M&M and ECB incorrectly list A Soldier of the Future (1908) as being written by A. J. Dawson. The author was, in fact, William James Dawson.