Classic Australian Works Copyright Agency Ltd.

The authors selected for the Classic Australian Works project include many of Australia's most influential writers, among them award winners such as Dal Stivens, Peter Mathers and Martin Boyd. The works for the project were selected through the Editorial Board of AustLit as among the most important books for the study of Australian literature that were not available in print. The Classic Australian Works project ensures that these works are - and remain - available once more for study and enjoyment.

Photo of Jessica Anderson

Jessica Anderson was born in Brisbane in 1916 and has lived most of her life in Sydney. She started her career as a novelist later in life having previously written for newspapers and radio. She has won the Miles Franklin Award twice; for Tirra Lirra By the River in 1978, and for The Impersonators in 1980.

Photo of Bruce Beaver

Bruce Beaver was born in 1928. He wrote his first poem at 8 p.m. on the evening of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Unlike the event it wasn't memorable. However, he kept on writing. Letters to live poets is his fourth book of poems; he has recently completed his fifteenth. He has been called a confessional poet, probably because of a strong autobiographical tendency in his writing. Letters is generally acknowledged to be his best work.

Photo of Godfrey Blunden

Godfrey Blunden was born in Melbourne in 1906. A journalist for the Sydney Daily Telegraph, in 1942 he was sent to Europe to cover the war for Australian Consolidated Press. He spent several months in Russia, first in Moscow and then with the Red Army as it stopped the Germans at Stalingrad. That experience provided the basis for two post-war novels, A Room on the Route and The Time of the Assassins. Both were widely translated. He was in Paris for liberation and followed the Allied troops into Germany. After the war, he moved to the United States and started a family. He joined Time, staying for fourteen years, first as senior editor and then, in Paris, as foreign correspondent. He left in 1965 to concentrate on novels and non-fiction. He lived for some years in Paris where he died in 1996, a passionate Australian despite his years abroad.

Martin Boyd was born in 1893 in Lucerne, Switzerland during one of the periodic trips his artist parents made to England and Europe. During World War I, Martin served in the Royal Flying Corps and was profoundly affected by his war experiences. He was awarded the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal in 1956 for A Difficult Young Man (also in Classic Australian Works). Martin Boyd died in Rome, Italy, 1972, where he had lived for the previous fifteen years.

Rosa Cappiello was born in Naples, Italy, in 1942. She migrated to Australia in 1971 with no knowledge of English and no skills and worked in various manual occupations. She published her first novel, I semi negri (The Black Seeds) in 1977 in Italy. In 1982, she was writer-in-residence at the University of Wollongong. She currently lives in Naples.

Photo of Eleanor Dark

Eleanor O'Reilly was born in Sydney in 1901. In 1922, she married Eric Dark, a general practitioner, and the couple moved to Katoomba and lived there for the remainder of their lives, with occasional journeys away. Eleanor pursued her writing as time permitted, completing nine novels by the 1950s, including the classic work The Timeless Land. Varuna Writers Centre in Katoomba was formerly the Darks' home. Eleanor Dark died in 1985.

Photo of Xavier Herbert

Xavier Herbert was born in 1901 in Geraldton, Western Australia. Although he trained as a pharmacist and began studying medicine in Melbourne, in 1926 he gave up this professional focus, moving first to Sydney then travelling further north. He took up manual work and began writing in earnest. During a trip to the United Kingdom, he met Sadie Norden in 1931 and married her in 1933 after they had returned to Australia. Capricornia (1939) remains Herbert's most acclaimed work, being awarded both the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal and the Sesquicentenary Literature Prize. Poor Fellow My Country (1978) won the Miles Franklin Literary Award. Xavier died in Alice Springs in November 1984.

Photo of David Ireland

David Ireland was born at Lakemba, NSW, in 1927. After finishing school, he spent much of his working life in an oil refinery. His first novel, The Chantic Bird, was published in 1968. In 1981, he was made AO in 1981 and in 1985 awarded the Gold Medal of the Australian Literature Society. David has been winner of Miles Franklin Literary Award for: A Woman of the Future in 1979; The Glass Canoe in 1976; and The Unknown Industrial Prisoner in 1971.

Photo of Margaret Jones

Margaret Jones has worked as a foreign correspondent for Australian newspapers in Europe, North America and Asia. She opened a bureau for the Sydney Morning Herald in Beijing after the Whitlam Government established diplomatic relations in 1972, and has travelled extensively in the region. A former Foreign Editor and later Literary Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, she is the author of The Confucius Enigma and Thatcher's Kingdom, a study of British politics.

Photo of Peter Mathers

Peter Mathers was born in England in 1931 and came to Australia with his family as a child. From 1964 and 1967 he worked in Britain and Europe as a researcher. His first writing appeared in the early 1960s, with his novels being published in the 1960s and 1970s.

Photo of Ian Moffitt

Ian Moffitt was born in Sydney in 1926. He was a reporter, sub-editor, feature writer and foreign correspondent for Australian newspapers for more than 30 years before he began writing fiction fulltime. He worked for the South China Morning Post during the Chinese Civil War and it was his experience in Hong Kong and China that inspired The Retreat Of Radiance. His other novels are The Colour Man (published in the US as Presence Of Evil), Blue Angels, Death Adder Dreaming and Gilt Edge. He also wrote a collection of short stories, The Electric Jungle. He died in 2000.

Gerald Murnane was born in Melbourne in 1939. From 1960 to 1973, he worked as a teacher and developed educational publications. He published his first novels in 1974. In 1980, he became a lecturer, whilst continuing to write. Murnane won the FAW Barbara Ramsden Award for Velvet Waters in 1991. He received the Patrick White Literary Award in 1999. He currently lives in Melbourne.

John Boyle O'Reilly, born in 1844 in Ireland, was a lifelong Irish nationalist. His enlistment in the British army was aimed to foment discontent amongst the troops. His ruse was discovered in 1866 and he was court-martialled and sentenced to death. This was later commuted to life imprisonment, then twenty years penal servitude in Western Australia. He arrived there in 1868 on the last convict transport sent to the Australian colonies. In 1869, he escaped on a whaling ship to become one of the United States of America's more significant immigrants. He settled in Boston where his achievements as political activist, part-owner and editor of The Pilot, an influential American Catholic newspaper, established him as lynchpin between establishment Boston and what was rapidly becoming a city of Irish Catholic immigrants. In 1876, he was instrumental in the escape of Irish prisoners from Fremantle gaol. He died in 1890 in the USA.

Brian Penton was born in Brisbane in 1904. After leaving school at fourteen, he began a career in journalism and engaged in intellectual discussion and debate of a bohemian nature. At one time, he was thrown down the steps of Jack Lindsay's Fanfrolico Press by P.R. ("Inky") Stephensen. He travelled to the United Kingdom a couple of times before settling in Sydney where he became editor of the Daily Telegraph in 1941. He wrote several books. Brian Penton died in Sydney in 1951.

Photo of Katharine Susannah Prichard

Katharine Susannah Prichard was born in Fiji, where her father was editor of the Fiji Times, in 1883, and grew up in Melbourne and Launceston. After matriculation, she was briefly a governess in Gippsland and Broken Hill before travelling back and forth to London. In 1919, she married Gallipoli veteran Hugo (Jim) Throssell, VC, whom she'd met in a London convalescent hospital, and settled in Perth. Jim Throssell killed himself in 1933. Katharine was a founding member of the Australian Communist Party in 1920. Her son, Ric, was born in 1922. Katharine was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1951. In addition to her many novels, Katharine also wrote short stories, drama, autobiography and poetry. She continued both political work and writing almost to her death in Perth in 1969.

Photo of John Rowe

John Rowe is a professional writer and has published six novels. He has also written a history of the Vietnam War titled: Vietnam, the Australian Experience, published by Time Life. A graduate of the Australian Military Academy, Duntroon, he was a professional army officer for 15 years. After leaving the Australian Army in 1968, John Rowe combined writing with business. He is now retired from business, but continues to write. His current projects are a film script and a book of poetry.

Photo of Georgia Savage

Georgia Savage was born in Tasmania and educated at Methodist Ladies College in Launceston, where she spent much of her time writing stories under the desk. At twenty-one she married a Carlton football star, who was also a poet. With their young son they lived in various country towns until Ron sustained a severe brain injury in an industrial accident. In the 1950's when he died, Georgia went back to work but spent her lunch hours and evenings writing her first novel The Tournament. In 1980 she moved to Southport in Queensland where she wrote The Estuary. Since then three other novels and several short stories have followed.

Henry Savery was born in 1791 in Somerset. He arrived in Hobart in 1825, having been sentenced to transportation for forgery. He might be completely unknown today had he not had a penchant for writing. Savery was released from servitude in 1832, having already published his major work. At Port Arthur, guides tell the story that he then sent for his wife, but she had an affair with a magistrate on the boat out, and returned to England, having been rejected by her husband. Savery was entrusted with banking work and tempted to re-offend. He appeared before the magistrate who had seduced his wife and was sent to the notorious penal settlement, Port Arthur, where he died in 1842

Dal Stivens was born in Blayney, NSW, in 1911. He served in the Army Education Service during World War II and, after the war, he worked for the Department of Information and later at Australia House in London. He was the foundation president of the Australian Society of Authors in 1963. Dal's work was first published in the Bulletin in the late 1930s. A Horse of Air won the Miles Franklin Award in 1970. In 1981 he received the Patrick White Award for contributions to Australian literature. He died in 1997.

Photo of Kylie Tennant

Kylie Tennant was born in Manly, NSW, in 1912. In 1932, she married Lewis Charles Rodd. Her first novel, Tiburon, won the S. H. Prior Memorial Prize in 1935. and further novels saw her develop her social-realist style. However, her work is much more complex than suggested by the term social realism, although she conducted first-hand research to give her novels authenticity, once even spending a week in gaol. Her best known novel is The Battlers (1941) which won the S.H. Prior Memorial Prize in 1940 and the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal in 1941. Other of her works embrace travel, biography, work for children and dramatic works. In 1980 Kylie Tennant was made AO. She died in 1988.