IDRIESS Ion Llewellyn
358, Trooper, 5th Light Horse, AIF, WW1
5975 New South Wales Command, Legion of Frontiersmen
Officer of the Order of the British Empire [Civil] For services to literature Officer of the Order of the British Empire Born 20 September 1889 Waverley, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Enlisted 26 April 1912 into the Legion of Frontiersmen, New South Wales Command Enlisted into the 5th Light Horse Regiment, AIF 26 October 1914 Wounded 29 July 1915 GSW Right knee Wounded 12 September 1915 bomb wound, arm Wounded 2 December 1917 GSW left leg, right arm Died 6 June 1979 Mona Vale, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Ion Idriess was born in Waverley, a suburb of Sydney. From his late teens, he worked in rural New South Wales, particularly in the Narrabri and Moree districts. He travelled extensively around the state, working in a variety of itinerant jobs including employment as a rabbit poisoner, boundary rider, drover, prospecting for gold as well as harvesting sandalwood. He also worked as a shearer and dingo shooter. While working as an opal miner at Lightning Ridge in about 1910, he wrote short pieces for The Bulletin about life on the opal fields. He was a prolific and influential Australian author. He wrote more than 50 books over 43 years between 1927 to 1969 – an average of one book every 10 months, and twice published three books in one year (1932 and 1940). His first book was Madman's Island, published in 1927 at the age of 38, and his last was written at the age of 79. Called Challenge of the North, it told of Idriess's ideas for developing the north of Australia
He later headed north, working in several tin mines around Cairns and Cooktown including his own claim. In 1913 he moved to Cape York where he lived with an aboriginal tribe, learning their customs and lifestyle.
With the outbreak of war, in 1914 he returned to Townsville and enlisted in the 5th Light Horse Regiment, AIF, as a trooper. He saw action in Palestine, Sinai and Turkey, being wounded at Beersheba and Gallipoli – where he acted as spotter for noted sniper Billy Sing.
After returning to Australia and recuperating from his wounds, he travelled to remote Cape York, and worked with pearlers and missionaries in the Torres Strait Islands and Papua New Guinea where he worked as a gold miner. Other ventures included buffalo shooting in the Northern Territory, and journeys to Central and Western Australia.
In 1928 Idriess settled in Sydney where he wrote as a freelance writer. His writing style drew on his experiences as a soldier, prospector, and bushman. He wrote on a multitude of topics, including travel, recollection, biography, history, anthropology and his own ideas on possible future events. His books were generally non-fiction, but written in a narrative, story style. Most of his books were published by Angus & Robertson. Idriess wrote from real life experiences using knowledge he had personally gained by travelling extensively and working at a variety of occupations. "Idriess was no stylist, but his writing was immediate, colourful, well paced and, despite the speed at which it was written, always well structured."
Although he generally wrote under his name, some early articles for The Bulletin were written under the pseudonym of "Gouger". When travelling, Idriess was known as "Jack".
BOOKS AND PUBLICATIONS
Madman's Island (1927).
*Madman's Island (1938).
Lasseter's Last Ride (1931).
*Flynn of the Inland (1932).
The Desert Column (1932).
*Men of the Jungle (1932).
Gold Dust and Ashes (1933).
Drums of Mer (1933).
The Yellow Joss (1934).
*Man Tracks (1935).
The Cattle King (1936).
*Forty Fathoms Deep (1937).
Over the Range (1937).
Lightning Ridge (1940).
Headhunters of the Coral Sea (1940).
The Great Trek (1940).
Nemarluk: King of the Wilds (1941). .
*The Great Boomerang (1941).
The Silent Service Action (1944).
Horrie the Wog-dog (1945).
In Crocodile Land (1946).
*Isles of Despair (1947).
The Opium Smugglers (1947).
*Stone of Destiny (1948).
One Wet Season (1949).
*The Wild White Man of Badu (1950).
Across the Nullarbor (1951).
Outlaws of the Leopolds (1952).
*The Red Chief (1953).
*The Nor'-Westers (1954).
The Vanished People (1955).
The Silver City (1956).
*Coral Sea Calling (1957).
Back o' Cairns (1958).
*The Tin Scratchers (1959).
The Wild North (1960).
Tracks of Destiny (1961).
My Mate Dick (1962).
Our Living Stone Age (1963).
Our Stone Age Mystery (1964).
Challenge of the North (1969).
Idriess wrote a number other books and pamphlets as well as having several collections of his works published.
The Mining and Prospecting series
A series of four titles which were basically "how-to" works, the first being commissioned by the Australian government as a means of opening up of the "outback" during the depression years.
Prospecting for Gold (1931)
Cyaniding for Gold (1939)
Fortunes in Minerals (1941)
Opals and Sapphires (1967)
Must Australia Fight? (1939).
Onward Australia (1945).
Gems from Ion Idriess (1949).
Ion Idriess's Greatest Stories (1986). A recent, two-volume set of six of the most popular titles.
Volume I: Flynn of the Inland, The Cattle King and Lasseter's Last Ride
Volume II: The Desert Column, Lightning Ridge and The Silver City.
The National Edition (1938, reissued 1941).
The Australian Guerilla series
Written as a set of specialist military handbooks for the Australian Army for the World War II.
Australian Guerilla – Shoot to Kill (1942).
Australian Guerilla – Sniping (1942).
Australian Guerilla – Guerilla Tactics (1942).
Australian Guerilla – Trapping the Jap (1943).
Australian Guerilla – Lurking Death (1943).
Australian Guerilla – The Scout (1943)