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Noel Norman

Noel Wilson Norman (1901–81), writer, was born of parents with long, upper-class Tasmanian antecedents. The rebellious youth's crucial experience was to travel into outback Australia in 1917. He returned thither often in fact, and still more in imagination. That locus inspired most of the thirteen novels Norman published (as 'Louis Kaye' and through the London house of Wright & Brown) between 1931 and 1938. Influenced by Jack London and similar radicals/realists, his writing appeared also in the USA, even with the Saturday Evening Post.

Aborigines had a central place in Norman's work; he read the anthropology of Baldwin Spencer, and yearned to write a masterpiece so informed. Further anticipating Jindyworobak nationalism, in 1933 he deplored the failure of Australian artists and writers to confront 'our plains and desert country'. Norman's base for 35 years was the out-quarter of a home in Hobart's suburban Lindisfarne, but later he married and spent much wealth in land development.

Further reading: M Roe, 'N.W. Norman (1901 81)', JAS 36, 1993.

Michael Roe