Famous Australian Writers and Poets, 19th and 20th Centuries
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Famous Australian Writers and Poets, 19th and 20th Centuries

Profiles of Prominent and Australian writers and poets, and quotes from their famous books. Some authors included are Thomas Keneally, Peter Carey, Miles Franklin, Banjo Paterson, Henry Lawson, Patrick White, Elizabeth Jolley, and Christina Stead.

Prominent 19th and 20th centuries Australian writers and poets are featured, with quotes taken from their famous and best-selling books. 

Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson (1864-1941)

Quote: “He was hard and tough and wiry – just the sort that won’t die – There was courage in his quick impatient tread; And he bore the badge of gameness in his bright and fiery eye, And the proud and lofty carriage of his head.” ~ Banjo Paterson, The Man from Snowy River (1895)

Henry Lawson (1867-1922)

Quote: “So the days of the riding are over, The days of my tramping are done – I’m about as content as a rover Will ever be under the Sun; I write, after reading your letter – My mind with old memories rife – And I feel in a mood that had better Not meet the true eyes of the wife.” ~ Henry Lawson, Written Afterwards, Verses Popular and Humorous (1900)

Miles Franklin (1879-1954)

Quote: "I make no apologies for being egotestical. In this particular I attempt an improvement on other autobiographies. Other autobiographies weary one with excuses for their egotism." ~ Miles Franklin, My Brilliant Career (1901)

Norman Lindsay (1879-1969)

Quote: “The Society of Puddin’-Owners were up bright and early next morning, and had the billy on and tea made before six o’clock, which is the best part of the day, because the world has just had his face washed, and the air smells like Pears’ soap. ~ Norman Lindsay, The Magic Pudding (1918)

Christina Stead (1902-1983)

Quote: “...the thousand storms of her confined life would rise up before her, thinner illusions on the steam. She did not laugh at the words “a storm in a teacup”. Some raucous, cruel words about five cents misspent were as serious in a woman’s life as a debate on war appropriations in Congress.” ~ Christina Stead, The Man Who Love Children (1940)

Patrick White (1912-1990)

Quote: “Evenings, the others went out into the garden, where the dusk was full of hot laughter, and the fuchsias smouldered. The girls strolled through the long grass, coiled, and knit together by their words and arms, and the solid swirl of their skirts mowing the grass.” ~ Patrick White, The Aunt’s Story (1948)

Judith Wright (1915-2000)

Quote: “Nothing is as strange as love – love is like a foreign land. Yet its natives find their way natural as hand-in-hand. ~ Judith Wright, The Man Beneath the Tree, Five Senses (1963)

Dorothy Hewett (1923-2009)

Quote: “Our young men are hunters our old men make songs, and the words of our people are whiplashed with wrongs. In the tribes of our country they sing, and are proud of the Pilbarra men and the white man, McLeod.” ~ Dorothy Hewett, Clancy and Dooley and Don McLeod, Windmill Country (1968)  

Elizabeth Jolley (1923-2007)

“what have you brought me Hester? What have you brought me from the shop?” “I’ve brough Katherine, Father,” Miss Harper said. “I’ve brought Katherine, but she’s for me.” ~ Elizabeth Jolley, The Well (1986)

David Malouf (1934-)

Quote: “What is it in me, he thought, that we should be divided against  ourselves, wanting out life and at the same time afraid of it?” ~ David Malouf, The Conversations at Curlow Creek (1996)

Thomas Keneally (1935-)

Quote: “Fatal human malice is the staple of narrators, original sin the mother-fluid of historians. But it is a risky enterprise to have to write of virtue.” – Thomas Keneally, Schindler’s Ark (1982)

Colleen McCullough (1937-)

“The truth is cruel, yet there’s no escaping the truth forever, and if it hurts, one must simply ear the hurt.” ~ Colleen McCullough, An Indecent Obsession (1981)

David Williamson (1942-)

“It is wonderful to come into contact with someone who has a genuine and non-exploitative concern for the interests of women and other exploited minoritis.” ~ David Williamson, Angela, in Dead White Males (1995)

Helen Garner (1942-)

Quote: “But I know that between ‘being made to feel uncomfortable’ and ‘violence against women’ lies a vast range of male and female behaviours. If we deny this, we enfeeble language and drain it of meaning. We insult the suffering of women who have met real violence, and we distort the subtleties of human interaction into caricatures that can serve only as propaganda for war.” ~ Helen Garner, The First Stone (1995)  

Peter Carey (1943-)

Quote: “They would see the ramrod back, the tight lips, the pinched nose, the long stretched neck and never once, you can bet, guess that this was caused by Oscar Hopkins holding his breath, trying to stay still for two minutes when normally – what a fidgeter – he could manage a tenth of a second without scratching his ankle or crossing his leg.” ~ Peter Carey, Oscar and Lucinda (1988)

Tim Winton (1960-)

Quote: “Still you had to admit that it was nice to be without a body for a while; there was an addictive thrill in being of no age, no gender, with no past. It was an infinite sequence of opening portals, of menus and corridors that let you into brief, painless encounters, where what passed for life was a listless kind of browsing.” ~ Tim Winton, Dirt Music (2001)

Kate Grenville (1950-)

Quote: “I have lived, and have seen more dawns than most people, and more different expressions on the faces of ordinary men and women in the street. I have seen much, but would not claim to have seen everything. I would not mind another century or two, to see some more.” ~ Kate Grenville, Lilian’s Story (1985)


Image Credit:

Banjo Paterson, Australia's best loved bush poet and writer (Wiki Creative Commons)


Australian Author series from Fairfax publication, Feb 2003, collected by T. Asiado.   



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Comments (5)

I can't wait to check some of these out! I did not know Man From Snowy River was written by an Australian. Do you have a favorite on this list? I have read Colleen McCullough.

Hi Judith, Glad to hear from you. Yes, Banjo P is extremely famous in Oz for "Man from Snowy River." You can check at YouTube if you get the chance. I like McCullough's bestseller that became a famous movie, "The Thorn Birds." Also like M. Franklin's "My Brilliant Career" very popular amongst Aussies. Of the contemporary ones, I go for E. Jolley, and Helen Garner, whose simple conversational voice is something I really like. Cheers, Tel

Hi Judith - I forgot to mention one more. Christina Stead's "For Love Alone." Tel

Great and impressive research

Thanks Abdel-moniem. Best regards.