Jack Bennett


Mary Durack is one of Australia’s respected older authors. Born in 1913 into the pastoralist Durack family, she spent her early life in the Kimberley region of northwestern Australia. With her younger sister, the artist Elizabeth Durack, she helped to run the family company properties during the 1930s depression. Most of Mary Durack’s nonfictional and fictional writings refer to this Kimberley region, which contains some of Australia's most rugged outback country. She returns there regularly to renew contact with the land and the Aboriginal people who have shaped her perception of Australia. Her major works are the novel Keep Him, My Country (1955), the Durack family saga in Kings in Grass Castles (1959) and Sons in the Saddle (1983), and The Rock and the Sand (1969), a book about Christian missionaries in northwestern Australia. Jack Bennett, who chairs Australian Studies at the University of Oregon, was born and educated in Perth, Western Australia, and ran the School of the Air in Port Hedland, in northwestern Australia, in the late 1960s. He interviewed Mary Durack in Perth in February 1988.