HerStory

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Judith Arundell WRIGHT

Also known as: McKinney

Born: 31 May 1915

Died: 25 June 2000

Special Achievements:

Judith Wright has published more than fifty books and was the first Australian poet to receive the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry (1992).  She has also received many other prizes and awards for poetry and literature - Australian and internationally.  In 1975, Judith was the first woman appointed to the Council of Australian National University as the Governor-General's nominee.

Additional Information:

During the 1950s and 60s Judith's fame as a poet grew, although she also wrote children's stories, books of criticism and Generations of Men, a novel about her grandparents who were early settlers in Queensland's Dawson Valley.  She had a deep awareness of environmental problems and the wrongs inflicted on Aboriginal people.  She was the founder and later president of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, and member of the National Parks Association of New South Wales and the South Coast Conservation Council.  She was a patron of many organisations including:  Campaign Against Nuclear Power (Queensland); Townsville Women's Shelter; Amnesty International (Victoria.); Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland and the National Forests Action Council (Victoria).  She was a friend and peer of Oodgeroo Noonuccal.

Judith fought for both the environment and for Aboriginal land rights until her death.  She has been called "the conscience of the nation" for her commitment to the environment and Aboriginal people.  Nevertheless, it is for her poetry that she is best remembered, poetry which has helped shape Australia's perception of itself as much as her tireless battles have helped it.


Resources

  • References

    Labi, Sharon.  Poet with a deep passion for the land.  The Advertiser.  June 27, 2000:11.


  • References

    Clarke, Patricia.  (2001, March).  In Love with a Man and a Mind:  Judith Wright’s relationship with Jack McKinney.  National Library News, 8-10.