Biography Frank Dalby Davison

Frank Dalby Davison

photo of Frank Dalby Davison
  • Time Period1893 - 1970
  • Place
  • CountryAustralia

Poet Biography

Frank Dalby Davison,was also known as John Sandes plus other pseudonyms. He was born Frederick Douglas Davison in Hawthorn, Melbourne, on 23 June 1893. He was educated at Caulfield State School,but left at the age of 12 to work as a farm labourer. He travelled to United States, Canada and the West Indies. He served with the British Army in France during World War I and in 1915 married Agnes (Kay) Ede, they had one son and a daughter.

He bagan writing full time during the depression and won the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal for his novel Man-shy in 1931. He was extremely concerned and disturbed by the destruction of the Australian Natural environment and this led to his writing his stories ; Blue coast caravan (1935), ‘The wasteland’ (1935), and Children of the dark people (1936). He was awarded a Commonwealth Literary Fund Fellowship in 1939-1940.

Davison saw literature as a means by which people might be helped to know themselves and their society as a necessary prelude to reforms. He made political commentary through his writings "to reveal the Australian situation and to promote liberal democratic values." He was active in the Fellowship of Australian Writers and formed a close working relationship with Marjorie Barnard and Flora Eldershaw. In 1938 he was appointed M.B.E. for his services to literature.

In 1944 Frank Dalby Davison remarried and moved back to Melbourne. There he wrote his very popular novel, Dusty , about the conflicts of conforming and rebelling in both the animal and human worlds. Dusty was made into a movie in 1983.

The Davisons bought a farm outside Melbourne and Frank Davison spent the next 22 years producing his massive opus, The White Thorntree - published just two years before his death in 1970.