Australia's first national literary magazine, The Weekly Bulletin (later The Bulletin), not only described the bush, but also published bush writers. It was an influential publication which promoted a particular set of views – egalitarianism, unionism, and 'Australianism'. Both Lawson and Paterson saw the bush as central to 'identity', but in very different ways.
A debate about the real nature of Australian life, saw Lawson and Paterson write about their different perspectives on the Australian bush. This debate is, famously, known as the 1892-93 'Bulletin Debate'. In his poem Up The Country, Lawson claimed Paterson was a 'City Bushman' who romanticised the bush in poems such as The Man From Snowy River . Paterson countered with In Defense of the Bush by claiming that Lawson's view of the landscape was full of doom and gloom.
The argument was followed closely by the Bulletin's significant readership, reinforcing the bush as central to any discussion about national identity.
While Paterson was much more at ease with its wildness, Lawson saw the 'struggle' with the bush as central to our identity.