Updated: Apr 1, 2022
Judith Arundell Wright, born on 31st May 1915, came from a prominent pastoralist family. She was an Australian poet, environmentalist, militant conservationist, and campaigner for Aboriginal land rights. She grew up on the family property near Armidale, New South Wales, and was educated at first by correspondence and then at New England Girls School and the University of Sydney. On graduating from university, Wright traveled in Europe. After working as a stenographer in Sydney, she returned home to ‘Wallamumbi’ at the outbreak of World War II, to help run the property. At this time she began writing her first mature poems. Judith’s husband, McKinney’s philosophy which sees humans as the symbolizing animals, structuring an unknown ‘manifold’ according to inherent, archetypal principles significantly influenced Wright’s work.
Judith Wright’s earliest volume of verse, The Moving Image, and Woman to Man (the first published when she was thirty-one) was received with vast enthusiasm by Australian critics and fellow writers and placed her at the forefront of Australian poets. Other collections of poetry include The Gateway, The Two Fries, The Other Half, Magpies, Shadow, Hunting Snake, among others. In 1966, she published The Nature of Love, her first collection of short stories, through Sun Press, Melbourne. Wright was nominated for the 1967 Nobel Prize for Literature.
Her work is noted for its keen focus on the Australian environment. Her poems have been translated into several languages, including Italian, Japanese and Russian. She started to lose her hearing in her mid-20s, and she became completely deaf by 1992. Judith Wright died in Canberra on 25 June 2000, aged 85. In 2009 as part of the Q150 celebrations, Judith Wright was announced as one of the Q 150 Icons of Queensland for her role as an “Influential Artists”.