Born: Established: 24 Sep 1903 Dubbo Dubbo area Wellington - Dubbo - Narromine area Central West NSW New South Wales ; Died: Ceased: 10 Jul 1947 Sydney New South Wales
Born in Dubbo, Lennie Lower moved with his mother to Sydney after she separated from Lower's alcoholic father. After attending Darlinghurst Public School, Lower served in the army and the navy during the 1920s, but deserted both posts. He carried his swag through Queensland and New South Wales and began writing for a number of periodicals when he arrived in Sydney. In 1929 Lower married Phyllis Constance Salter who endured her husband's frequently chaotic personality.
During the 1930s Lower was a regular contributor to Frank Packer's Australian Women's Weekly and the Daily Telegraph, building a reputation as the funniest man in Australia. In 1930 Lower's widely admired comic novel, Here's Luck, was published. The novel's slapstick comedy and satire of Sydney-siders reflect many of the observations that Lower made in his articles. Several publications followed, but they mainly consisted of selections from Lower's newspaper contributions. Lower's novel remained in print for many years and collections of his newspaper contributions were published in the 1960s and 1980s.
Most of Lower's books are collected from his humour columns in Australian newspapers and magazines, such as the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, Women's Weekly and Smith's Weekly. His book Life and Things (1936), listed in Miller, has not been traced.
In 1940 Lower was sacked by Frank Packer for publicly insulting Noel Coward. Several versions of a confrontation between Lower and Coward have been recounted, but Lower's distaste of Coward's sexuality appears in all of them. He was immediately employed by Smith's Weekly where he remained for the rest of his life.
On his death, the Bulletin reported that Lower 'wrote with a spontaneity and a gutsy robustness that flung the most audacious twisting of words or the most execrable pun in the face of the critic and dared him not to grin'. Forty-five years later, in The Sea Coast of Bohemia, Peter Kirkpatrick declared Lower's 'sardonic masculinist attitude to relationships between the sexes may have dated, but [his] word-play is a post-structuralist critic's delight, with absurdities that hint at dark, uninhabitable spaces of the mind'.