Australian Literature

Literature in Australia emerged in the second half of the nineteenth century, and three novels are considered to be fundamental during the period. These are: Geoffrey Hamlyn (1859) by Henry Kingsley, For the Term of His Natural Life (1874) by Marcus Clarke, and Robbery under Arms (1888) by Rolfe Boldrewood. In these three books you can find out about the lives of the forst settlers in Australia.

Some important events of the times of the settlement in the land were accounted for in a series of ballads known as "bush ballads" or songs or poems of the wild country. Adam L. Gordon, Henry Lawson, and A.B. Patterson are the most representative. A. B. Patterson wrote the so famous tune Waltzing Matilda, which would eventually become the popular national song of Australia. Listen to the song here.

Patrick White


Patrick White was probably the most famous writer in Australia.  He was born in 1912 to Australian parents, who were living in Knightsbridge, London at the time. He died in 1990 Soon after, his family returned to Australia, where he grew up. However, he would spend time in England and time in Australia until his parents decided to send him to a boarding school Cheltenham College. He later attended King’s College, Cambridge where he studied French and German literature. While he was still studying at Cambridge, he published The Ploughman and Other Poems, and wrote a play that was performed by an amateur group.

This is a list of his works:


  • Happy Valley 1939
  • The Living and the Dead 1941
  • The Aunt's Story 1948
  • The Tree of Man 1955
  • Voss 1957
  • Riders in the Chariot 1961
  • The Solid Mandala, 1966
  • The Vivisector 1970
  • The Eye of the Storm 1973
  • A Fringe of Leaves 1976
  • The Twyborn Affair 1979
  • Memoirs of Many in One 1986 - despite the title, a novel
  • The Burnt Ones 1964 - a collection of short stories
  • The Cockatoos 1974 - a collection of short stories
  • Flaws in the Glass 1981 - a memoir
  • Signal Driver a Morality Play for the Times 1982
  • Netherwood 1983
  • Shepherd on The Rocks 1987


 Joseph Furphy  Tom Collins

Jospeh Furphy was born in 1842 and died in 1912. One of his most famous works was Such Is Life which he wrote in 1903 under the name Tom Collins. This book is composed by extracts from the diary of a government official, Tom Collins. It is a combination of many assorted ways of writing; this characteristic has been the reason why poeple call it the most unusual book in Australian literature.

Some other writers are: Henry handel Richardson or Ethel Florence Richardson (1870-1946)

Miles Frankin (1879-1954)

Martin Boyd (1893-1972)

Xavier Herbert (1901-1984)

Christina Stead (1902-1983)

Morris West (1916-1999)

Thomas Keneally 1935

Colin Johnson 1938  also called Mudrooroo Narogin or Mudrooroo Nyoongah

Thomas Keneally

Thomas Keneally is another renowned writer of the twentieth century. He was born in 1935 in Sydney, where he attended several schools in New South Wales north coast. Later in life, he started theological studies for the Catholic priesthood, but he dropped out of school in 1960 to begin wiritng and teaching. His best-known work is Schindler's Ark, book he wrote in 1982 and made him win the British Booker Prize. This master piece was used by Steven Spielberg to produce the film Schindler's List in 1993.


  • The Place at Whitton 1964
  • The Fear 1965
  • Bring Larks and Heroes 1967
  • Three Cheers for the Paraclete 1968
  • The Survivor 1969
  • A Dutiful Daughter 1971
  • The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith 1972
  • Blood Red, Sister Rose 1974
  • Gossip from the Forest 1975
  • Season in Purgatory 1976
  • A Victim of the Aurora 1977
  • Confederates 1979
  • Passenger 1979
  • The Cut-Rate Kingdom 1980
  • Schindler's Ark 1982 (later published as Schindler's List as a tie-in with the Spielberg film of that name)
  • A Family Madness 1985
  • The Playmaker 1987
  • By the Line 1989
  • Towards Asmara 1989
  • Flying Hero Class 1991
  • Woman of the Inner Sea 1993
  • Jacko 1993
  • A River Town 1995
  • Bettany's Book 2000
  • An Angel in Australia 2002 (aka Office of Innocence)
  • The Tyrant's Novel 2003

In addition to the above, Keneally has also written the following novels under the pseudonym of "William Coyle":

  • Act of Grace 1988
  • Chief of Staff 1991


  • Halloran's Little Boat 1968 - an adaptation of Bring Larks and Heroes.
  • Childermas 1968
  • An Awful Rose 1972
  • Bullie's House 1981
  • In addition Our Country's Good, by Timberlake Wertenbaker, 1989, is an adaptation of The Playmaker.

Ned Kelly and the City of Bees 1978


  • Moses the Lawgiver 1975
  • Outback 1983
  • Australia: Beyond the Dreamtime 1987
  • The Place Where Souls Are Born: A Journey to the Southwest 1992
  • Now and In Time To Be: Ireland and the Irish 1992
  • The Eureka Stockade 1993, by Raffaello Carboni, introduced by Tom Keneally
  • Memoirs from a Young Republic 1993
  • The Utility Player: the Des Hasler Story 1993
  • Our Republic 1995
  • Homebush Boy - A Memoir 1995 (autobiography)
  • The Great Shame 1998
  • American Scoundrel 2002
  • Lincoln 2003
  • The Commonwealth of Thieves 2005

Silver City 1984 - directed by Sophia Turkiewicz.

Other Written Work
Through Other Eyes 2002 - introduction by Thomas Keneally.

Film Adaptations
The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith 1978 - directed by Fred Schepisi, from a screenplay by Thomas Keneally and Fred Schepisi, based on the novel of the same name.
Schindler's List 1993 - directed by Stephen Spielberg, from a screenplay by Steven Zaillian, based on Schindler's Ark.

Acting Resume
The Devil's Playground 1976
The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith 1978

God or Politics: Tom Keneally in Eritrea 1990