D'Arcy Francis Niland
(20 October 1917 – 29 March 1967) was an Australian
novelist and short story writer, best known for The Shiralee
Life and writing career
Niland was born in the rural town of Glen Innes, New South Wales
, into a large Irish-Catholic family, in 1917. The baby was named by his father after the Australian boxer Les Darcy
(1895–1917), but Niland changed the spelling to D'Arcy as an adult.
Niland left school at 14 and for a time (at age 16) worked in Sydney as a copy-boy for The Sun
newspaper, hoping to become a reporter. The Depression
ended this avenue of employment, however, and for some years he travelled the country, finding work in a wide variety of occupations. He married the New Zealand
-born journalist and budding author Ruth Park
After their marriage, Niland and Park travelled through the outback of Australia for a time before settling in Surry Hills
, then a tough working-class suburb of Sydney
, where they earned a living writing full-time and garnering critical praise for their works. Eventually, their marriage produced five children.
Between 1949 and 1952, Niland won many prizes for his short stories and novels and, three years later, achieved international fame with the novel The Shiralee
. This was followed by Call Me When the Cross Turns Over
(1957) and four more novels. He also wrote radio and television plays, and hundreds of short stories, some of which were collected and published in four volumes from 1961 to 1966.
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