Famous Australian Poets

Find out more about the greatest Australian Poets, including Banjo Paterson, Henry Lawson, Karl Kruszelnicki, Oodgeroo Noonuccal and Judith Wright.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Australian Poets

 1 

Banjo Paterson
9
Birthdate: February 17, 1864
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Orange
Died: February 5, 1941

Remembered for the legendary poems Waltzing Matilda and The Man from Snowy River, Andrew Barton “Banjo” Paterson was an Australian bush poet who depicted rural life through his works. Initially a law clerk and a journalist, he later adopted the pseudonym Banjo, which was his favorite horse’s name.

 2 
Henry Lawson
(Writer)

Henry Lawson
3
Birthdate: June 17, 1867
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Grenfell
Died: September 2, 1922

Henry Lawson was an Australian bush poet and writer. Often referred to as Australia's greatest short story writer, Lawson is one of the best-known Australian fiction writers and poets of the colonial period. Also a nationalist, Henry Lawson contributed immensely to a popular Australian magazine named The Bulletin. In 1949, he was featured in an Australian postage stamp.

 3 

Karl Kruszelnicki
3
Birthdate: March 20, 1948
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Helsingborg, Sweden

Swedish-born Australian Karl Kruszelnicki, better known as Dr. Karl, was born to Holocaust survivors. The internationally renowned science commentator is a well-known radio and TV personality, who has won the Ig Nobel Prize and has been named a Living Treasure. He has also penned scores of books.

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 4 
Judith Wright
(Poet, Environmentalist, Campaigner for Aboriginal Land Rights)

Judith Wright
3
Birthdate: May 31, 1915
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Armidale, Australia
Died: June 25, 2000

Judith Wright was an Australian environmentalist, poet, and campaigner for Indigenous land rights. Wright is credited with founding one of the earliest environmental conservation movements in Australia. Best remembered for her poetry skills, Judith Wright won the prestigious Christopher Brennan Award in 1976. In 1991, she was honored with the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.

 5 
Mary Gilmore
(Journalist, Poet, Writer)

Mary Gilmore
4
Birthdate: August 16, 1865
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Goulburn
Died: December 3, 1962

Mary Gilmore was an Australian writer and journalist. She wrote both prose and poetry and is recognized for her tremendous contribution to Australian literature. As a young woman, she became a school teacher and held utopian socialist views. She eventually started writing and gained fame as an author and poet later in life. 

 6 
Oodgeroo Noonuccal
(Political activist, artist and educator, who campaigned for Aboriginal rights)

Oodgeroo Noonuccal
3
Birthdate: November 3, 1920
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: North Stradbroke Island, Australia
Died: September 16, 1993

Oodgeroo Noonuccal was an Aboriginal Australian poet, political activist, artist, and educator. She became the first Aboriginal Australian to publish a book of verse. She emerged as a prominent political activist in the 1960s and campaigned for aboriginal rights. She was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire and won many literary awards.

 7 
Steve Kilbey
(Poet, Painter, Singer, Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Record producer)

Steve Kilbey
4
Birthdate: September 13, 1954
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Welwyn Garden City

Steve Kilbey is an English-Australian singer-songwriter and bass guitarist best known for his association with the rock band The Church. He performs as a solo artist as well and has 14 solo albums to his name. A multi-talented personality, he is also a poet, painter, and music producer. As an artist, he has had at least two exhibits in US. 

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 8 
Les Murray
(poet, translator, writer, literary critic)

Les Murray
3
Birthdate: October 17, 1938
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Nabiac, New South Wales

Les Murray was an Australian poet, anthologist, and critic with a career spanning over four decades. He is regarded as "the leading Australian poet of his generation" and received numerous honors, including  Grace Leven Prize for Poetry and T. S. Eliot Prize. His works have been translated into multiple languages. He was known to be an unusually idealistic person. 

 9 

A. D. Hope
3
Birthdate: July 21, 1907
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cooma, Australia
Died: July 13, 2000

A. D. Hope was an Australian poet, essayist, and academic. He studied at the University of Oxford on a scholarship and returned to Australia, where he began working as a lecturer. As a writer, he earned both fame and notoriety for his scathing satire. He was a recipient of the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal, among other honors. 

 10 
David Malouf
(Writer Known for his 1993 novel Remembering Babylon)

David Malouf
3
Birthdate: March 20, 1934
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Brisbane, Australia

David Malouf is an Australian writer widely recognized as one of the country’s greatest writers. He graduated from the University of Queensland and taught for a while. He began writing seriously in the 1970s and became a well-known author within years. He received the Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature in 2016. 

Adam Lindsay Gordon
5
Birthdate: October 19, 1833
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Faial Island, Portugal
Died: June 24, 1870

Adam Lindsay Gordon was a British-Australian poet, police officer, and politician. He attended the Royal Grammar School Worcester as a boy. At the behest of his father, he became a police officer, also dabbling in politics later on. He gained a reputation as a poet as well. His personal life was deeply troubled and he shot himself in 1870. 

 12 
Jack Davis
(Poet, Playwright)

Jack Davis
3
Birthdate: March 11, 1917
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Perth, Australia
Died: March 17, 2000

 13 

Kenneth Slessor
2
Birthdate: March 27, 1901
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Orange, Australia
Died: June 30, 1971

Kenneth Slessor was an Australian poet and journalist who worked as an official war correspondent in World War II. He was known for imbibing modernist influences into Australian poetry. One of the leading Australian poets of his era, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to literature. 

 14 

Charles Gavan Duffy
3
Birthdate: April 12, 1816
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Monaghan Town, County Monaghan, Ireland
Died: February 9, 1903

Charles Gavan Duffy was an Irish poet and journalist active during the late 19th-century. He studied at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution and began his journalistic career soon after under the guidance of political activist and journalist Charles Hamilton Teeling. Later in life, he moved to Australia and became the 8th Premier of Victoria.

 15 

Dorothy Hewett
2
Birthdate: May 21, 1923
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Perth, Australia
Died: August 1, 2002

Dorothy Hewett was an Australian feminist poet, novelist, and playwright, often credited to be one of Australia's best-loved and most respected writers. She studied English at the University of Western Australia (UWA) and wrote for a Communist newspaper under a pseudonym. Over time, she established herself as a prominent author of feminist literature. She received the Christopher Brennan Award.

 16 
Pam Brown
(Writer, Poet, Performer)

Pam Brown
3
Birthdate: 1948 AD
Birthplace: Seymour, Australia

Pam Brown is an Australian poet and writer. A multi-talented woman, she worked in many jobs as a silkscreen printer, postal worker, and bookseller when young. Later on, she taught writing, multi-media studies, and film-making to students. She has also worked as a librarian. She is a recipient of the ALS Gold Medal, among other honors. 

 17 

Peter Porter
3
Birthdate: February 16, 1929
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Brisbane, Australia
Died: April 23, 2010

Peter Porter was a British-based Australian poet. Born in Australia, he had a difficult early life. He later moved to the United Kingdom, where he was able to establish himself in a successful writing career. He was made a Royal Society of Literature Companion of Literature in 2007.  The Peter Porter Poetry Prize is named in his honor. 

 18 
Marcus Clarke
(Novelist)

Marcus Clarke
2
Birthdate: April 24, 1846
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kensington, London, England
Died: August 2, 1881

Marcus Clarke was a 19th-century English-born Australian novelist, journalist, poet, editor,  and playwright. His novel For the Term of His Natural Life is considered a classic of Australian literature and has been adapted into many plays and films. He became a major literary figure at a young age but was plagued by numerous issues, leading to his early death.  

 19 

Henry Kendall
3
Birthdate: April 18, 1839
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New South Wales, Australia
Died: August 1, 1882

After losing his father at age 2, Henry Kendall was raised on a farm by his mother. The Australian bush poet is remembered for his depictions of nature in works such as Leaves from Australian Forests. Throughout his life, he continued to switch from one job to another.

 20 

James McAuley
3
Birthdate: October 12, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lakemba, Australia
Died: October 15, 1976

Poet James McAuley was known for his technical prowess in his works. Apart from teaching English at the University of Tasmania, he had also served in the army and edited a literary journal. He had also once got a bunch of nonsense poems published as modernist poetry as a joke.

 21 

Douglas Stewart
3
Birthdate: May 6, 1913
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Eltham, New Zealand
Died: February 11, 1985

Douglas Stewart was a 20th-century Australian poet, writer, essayist, and editor. He served as the literary editor of the Australian magazine, The Bulletin, for two decades. He published 13 collections of poetry and numerous short stories, essays, and articles in his prolific career. He also edited several poetry anthologies. He received the Grace Leven Prize for Poetry in 1967. 

 22 

Randolph Stow
3
Birthdate: November 28, 1935
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Geraldton, Australia
Died: May 29, 2010

Randolph Stow was an Australian-born writer, novelist, and poet. After completing his studies, he taught English at various universities while simultaneously pursuing a writing career. His best-known work, The Girl Green as Elderflower, is believed to be closely linked to his life. He was homosexual and struggled with his sexuality in an era when the LGBTQAI+ community was shunned. 

 23 
Mudrooroo
(Novelist)

Mudrooroo
2
Birthdate: August 21, 1938
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Narrogin, Australia
Died: January 20, 2019

Colin Johnson, better known as Mudrooroo, had been raised in an orphanage and was later imprisoned for burglary. After beginning to write in prison, he spent some time as a monk in India. Best known for bestsellers such as Wild Cat Falling, he focused on Aboriginal characters and their issues.

 24 

Max Harris
1
Birthdate: April 13, 1921
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Adelaide, Australia
Died: January 13, 1995

Max Harris was an Australian poet, columnist, critic, publisher, and bookseller. He began writing poetry as a child and was already known as a poet by the time he started studying at the University of Adelaide. He co-founded a literary journal called Angry Penguins that promoted surrealism and progressive poetry. He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia. 

 

Rosemary de Brissac Dobson
2
Birthdate: June 18, 1920
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Sydney, Australia
Died: June 27, 2012

Rosemary de Brissac Dobson had begun writing poetry at age 7. The Australian poet and anthologist had initially been an Angus and Robertson editor. She later won prestigious awards and honors such as the Patrick White Literary Award and the Officer of the Order of Australia.

 26 
Joseph Furphy
(Novelist)

Joseph Furphy
2
Birthdate: September 26, 1843
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Yering, Australia
Died: September 13, 1912

Son of Irish immigrants, Joseph Furphy aka Tom Collins moved from place to place before settling down to write Such Is Life: Being Certain Extracts From The Diary of Tom Collins. The work, now considered an Australian classic, was the only book to be published in his lifetime. His other works, which include a book of poems, were published posthumously.

 27 
Martin Boyd
(Writer)

Martin Boyd
2
Birthdate: June 10, 1893
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lucerne, Switzerland
Died: June 3, 1972

Martin Boyd was part of the famous Beckett–Boyd family of Australia, which defined much of the country’s culture, including literature. He initially served in the army and then began writing using the pseudonym Martin Mills. He is best remembered for his Australian saga The Montforts.

 28 
Vance Palmer
(Novelist)

Vance Palmer
2
Birthdate: August 28, 1885
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bundaberg, Australia
Died: July 15, 1959

Vance Palmer was an Australian novelist, dramatist, essayist, and critic. He loved to write from a young age and studied contemporary writing at the School of Arts. Later on, he married Nettie Higgins and they began to publish short stories, poetry, and criticism together. Palmer’s best-known work is The Legend of the Nineties. 

 29 

Geoffrey Dutton
2
Birthdate: August 2, 1922
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Anlaby, Australia
Died: September 17, 1998

Geoffrey Dutton was an Australian author and historian. He studied at the University of Adelaide, where he started writing for the avant-garde journal Angry Penguins. He went on to have a prolific career, during which he wrote or edited over 200 books across a range of genres. He was a co-founder of the paperback publishing company Sun Books. 

Christopher Brennan
2
Birthdate: November 1, 1870
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Haymarket, Australia
Died: October 5, 1932

Christopher Brennan was an Australian poet, scholar, and literary critic. He studied at the University of Sydney and won a traveling scholarship to Berlin. This trip inspired him to become a poet. He later pursued an academic career while simultaneously composing poetry. He inspired many writers of his generation. The Christopher Brennan Award is named in his honor.

 31 
Ada Cambridge
(Australian-English writer)

Ada Cambridge
3
Birthdate: November 21, 1844
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: St Germans
Died: July 19, 1926

Ada Cambridge was an English-born Australian writer best known for her novels Materfamilias and Path and Goal. She wrote three volumes of poetry and more than 25 works of fiction. Several of her novels were serialized in newspapers. She became a famous writer and was chosen to be the first president of the Women Writers Club. 

 32 

Anna Wickham
2
Birthdate: 1884 AD
Birthplace: Wimbledon, London, England
Died: 1947 AD

 33 

David Campbell
1
Birthdate: July 16, 1915
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New South Wales, Australia
Died: July 29, 1979

David Campbell was an Australian poet. He studied at Jesus College, Cambridge, where his passion for writing developed. He became a popular poet and writer in the 1940s and wrote over 15 volumes of prose and poetry. He was lifelong friends with fellow poet Douglas Stewart. Besides poetry, he was also a talented rugby union player who played for England. 

 34 
Hal Porter
(Novelist)

Hal Porter
2
Birthdate: February 16, 1911
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Albert Park, Australia
Died: September 29, 1984

Hal Porter emerged as a writer during the WWII with a collection of short stories. However, it took him few more years to establish himself as a successful author, publishing his best work, a memoir entitled The Watcher on the Cast Iron Balcony, in 1963.  Also a successful poet and novelist he was made an AM for service to literature.

 35 

Charles Harpur
2
Birthdate: January 23, 1813
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Windsor, Australia
Died: June 10, 1868

Initially a postal clerk and then a teacher, Charles Harpur would often cut out poems written by him and collect them in a scrapbook, to be published later. His poetry depicted the untamed natural beauty of Australia. The Bush-Rangers, his second book, contains some of his best poems.

 36 

Bernard O'Dowd
2
Birthdate: April 11, 1866
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Beaufort, Australia
Died: September 1, 1953

Born to Irish immigrants in Australia, Bernard O'Dowd became a head teacher at 17. He lost his teaching job for his radical views and was branded a heretic, but unperturbed, he opened his own school. A talented poet, he had also worked as a lawyer, a journalist, and a librarian.

 37 
George Howe
(Poet, printer, and editor of the first Australian newspaper, the Sydney Gazette)

George Howe
1
Birthdate: 1769 AD
Birthplace: Saint Kitts
Died: May 11, 1821

 38 

R. D. Fitzgerald
1
Birthdate: February 22, 1902
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hunters Hill, New South Wales, Australia
Died: May 24, 1987

R. D. Fitzgerald had dropped out of university to become a surveyor in Fiji. During World War II, he was engaged in engineering surveys. His poetic works, such as Moonlight Acre, showcase his technical finesse. He spent much of his later life working as a lecturer and a reviewer.

 39 
Hugh McCrae
(Writer)

Hugh McCrae
1
Birthdate: October 4, 1876
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia
Died: February 17, 1958

Though he had initially aspired to be an architect, Hugh McCrae later stepped into freelance journalism. He also experimented as an actor but later found success in poetry. His works such as Idyllia and Forests of Pan showcased his romanticism. He was also a skilled memoirist.

 40 

Bruce Beaver
0
Birthdate: February 14, 1928
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Manly, Australia
Died: February 17, 2004

After working at a number of odd jobs, such as working as a cow farmer and a fruit-picker, Bruce Beaver eventually became a full-time freelance journalist. At 17, he was treated for manic depression. He is remembered for his award-winning poetry collection Letters to Live Poets.

 41 

Michael Thwaites
2
Birthdate: May 30, 1915
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brisbane, Australia
Died: November 1, 2005

The only Australian to win the prestigious Newdigate Prize for poetry at the University of Oxford, Michael Thwaites had also worked for the navy and the Australian intelligence services, and also taught English. He remains best known for his works such as The Jervis Bay and Message to My Grandson.

William Baylebridge
0
Birthdate: December 12, 1883
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Brisbane, Australia
Died: May 7, 1942

William Baylebridge aka Charles William Blocksidge was one of leading Australian writers of his time. Beginning his career with a booklet of verse entitled Songs o’ the South at the age of twenty-five, he went on to publish fifteen more books, containing poems and short stories, among which the best known are Love Redeemed, This Vital Flesh and Anzac Muster.

 43 

Georges LeBar
0
Birthdate: January 24, 1973
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Perth, Australia
Better known as American drag queen RuPaul Charles’s husband, Georges LeBar is an accomplished painter who has held many exhibitions. He also owns a ranch in Wyoming and had met RuPaul at a nightclub. The camera-shy Australian initially worked in the fashion industry and has also penned two books.

 44 

Frank Wilmot
0
Birthdate: April 6, 1881
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Collingwood, Australia
Died: February 22, 1942

Son of an ironmonger, Frank Wilmot is remembered as one of the most innovative modern Australian poets. A tall, slim man, he worked at the Cole's Book Arcade for 35 years. Writing under the pseudonym Furnley Maurice, he created masterpieces such as To God: from the Weary Nations.