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Edwin Henry Murrant Edwin Henry Murrant i(A60674 works by)
Also writes as: Breaker Morant ; The Breaker ; H. Morant
Born: Established: 9 Dec 1864 Bridgwater, Somerset,
United Kingdom (UK),
Western Europe, Europe,
; Died: Ceased: 27 Feb 1902 Pretoria,
South Africa,
Southern Africa, Africa,

Gender: Male
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Harry 'Breaker' Morant was born in England. He arrived in Townsville, Queensland, in 1883 and proceeded to work on cattle stations where he built a reputation as a fearless horse-breaker.

Beginning in 1891, he published many poems in the Bulletin. He is most famous for his death by firing-squad at Pretoria, South Africa, in 1902. Morant enlisted in the South Australian Mounted Rifles and joined the Bushveldt Carbineers during the Boer War. After the death and mutilation of a close friend, Morant took revenge on a group of Boer soldiers and a missionary. He was court-martialled and executed with another Australian, P. J. Handcock. Despite his guilt, Morant was elevated to the status of folk hero, seen by many as a pawn in the political bargains made by the English and German government. His poetry was also elevated, enhanced by his public image. A collection of Morant's Bulletin poetry was published in 1980.

Beginning with George R. Witton's Scapegoats of the Empire (1907), many studies have been conducted on the lives and events surrounding Morant's execution. In 1973 Kit Denton wrote a sympathetic fictional account, The Breaker, later revising his opinion of Morant in Closed File (1983). The widely-admired film, Breaker Morant, was released in 1980.

Most Referenced Works


  • There is some uncertainty relating to Morant's birth name/place/date. Morant's own account of his origins were that he was the son of Admiral Sir George Digby Morant, born 9 December 1865, Bideford, Devon (County), England. But sources (ADB, DNB, OX) suggest that it is more probable he was born Edwin Henry Murrant at Bridgwater, Somerset, England (1864?). (Sources: Australian Dictionary of BiographyDictionary of National BiographyThe Oxford Companion to Australian Literature)

    • Author listed as Henry Horland Morant, by J. H. Hornibrook Bibliography of Queensland Verse (1953).

    • See also the full Australian Dictionary of Biography Online entry for Harry Harbord (Breaker) Morant, (1864-1902).

Last amended 22 Oct 2020 08:47:39
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