The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke tells the story of Bill, a larrikin of the Little Lonsdale Street Push, who is introduced to a young woman by the name of Doreen. The book chronicles their courtship and marriage, detailing Bill's transformation from a violence-prone gang member to a contented husband and father.
Two film versions of The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke have been produced: a silent version in 1919 written and directed by Raymond Longford, and which featured Arthur Tauchert as Bill and Lottie Lyell as Doreen; and a "talkie" version in 1932, directed by F.W. Thring from a screenplay by C.J. Dennis.
In 1961, a musical called The Sentimental Bloke was produced in Canberra, and later in Melbourne and other cities. The music was by Albert Arlen, with lyrics by Arlen, Nancy Brown and Lloyd Thomson.
A television adaptation appeared in 1976, written and directed by Alan Burke and featuring Graeme Blundell as Bill.
A ballet version of Arlen's musical was choreographed by Robert Ray, with Albert Arlen's music freely arranged by John Lanchbery. This was presented by The Australian Ballet in 1985, and they presented it on their tour of the Soviet Union.