Barry Hill (Australian writer)

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Barry Hill
Melbourne, Victoria
Years active1966-
Notable awards1990 Anne Elder Award; 1991 New South Wales Premier's Literary Award - Non-Fiction; 1994 New South Wales Premier's Literary Award - Poetry; 2004 National Biography Award

Barry Hill (born 1943) is an Australian historian, writer, and academic.[1]

He has written poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and libretti. He is known for his biography of anthropologist Ted Strehlow, called Broken Song: T G H Strehlow and Aboriginal Possession, published in 2002.

Early life and education[edit]

Hill was born in Melbourne.[2]

He studied at the University of Melbourne, gaining his Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Education (BEd) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and from there went to London, where he gained his Master of Arts (MA) degree from the University of London.[1]

Writing career[edit]

Hill has worked in both Melbourne and London. In London he worked for the Times Literary Supplement.[1]

In 1975 Hill became a full-time writer. As of 2008 he was poetry editor of The Australian newspaper.[2]


Hill was part of the cast in the first public performance of Kenneth G. Ross's important Australian play Breaker Morant: A Play in Two Acts, presented by the Melbourne Theatre Company at the Melbourne Athenaeum on 2 February 1978.[3]

Performance works[edit]

Hill has produced performance works for radio, including Desert Canticles, that premiered on ABC Radio on 5 February 2001.[4][5] Hill is quoted as saying the piece was inspired by the following:

"Desert Canticles arises out of a marriage, a decade of travelling, and some years writing the literary biography of T.G.H. Strehlow out of Central Australia. I was writing my own poems out of love and the landscape, while trying to fathom Strehlow's great achievement in Songs of Central Australia. So the notion of translation as a metaphor for relationship – with place, with others, and with songs of different cultures (Hebraic, Buddhist, and Aboriginal) became a natural one upon which to thread a radio work."[4]


Personal life[edit]

(As of 2006) Hill is married to Rose Bygrave, a member of the band Goanna.[15]


  • Raft: Poems 1983–1990 (Penguin, 1990)
  • Ghosting William Buckley (Heinemann, 1993)
  • The Inland Sea (Salt Publishing, 2001)
  • Necessity: Poems 1996–2006 (soi3 modern poets, 2007)
  • As We Draw Ourselves (Five Islands Press, 2008)
  • Lines for Birds (UWA, 2011)
  • Naked Clay (Shearsman, 2012)
  • Kind Fire (Arcadia, 2020)
Short stories
  • The Schools (Penguin, 1977)
  • Near the Refinery (McPhee Gribble, 1980)
  • The Best Picture (McPhee Gribble, 1988)
  • Sitting In (Heinemann, 1991)
  • The Rock: Travelling to Uluru (Allen & Unwin, 1994)
  • The Enduring Rip: A History of Queenscliffe (MUP, 2004)
  • The Mood We're In: circa Australia Day 2004. Overland 77.
  • Broken Song: T G H Strehlow and Aboriginal Possession (Knopf-Random House 2002)
  • The Dark (Southern Cross University – University Library Lismore collection, 1999)[16]
  • Desert Canticles, Veronica Dobson (performer), Elena Kats-Chernin (composer) (Australian Music Centre, 2001)
  • Song of Songs, music by Andrew Schultz (Australian Music Centre)
  • Love Strong as Death: a New Song of Songs, composer Andrew Schultz, performed at 'The Studio', The Sydney Opera House, May 2004[2]
Political philosophy
  • Peacemongers 2014


  1. ^ a b c "Austlit — Barry Hill". Austlit. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  2. ^ a b c "Dr Barry Hill, ARC Postdoctoral Research Fellow, English Literary Studies". University of Melbourne, Faculty of Arts – School of Culture and Communication. Archived from the original on 20 July 2008. Retrieved 12 July 2008.
  3. ^ ""Aussie drama"". The Australian Jewish News, 27 January 1978, p12. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  4. ^ a b "The Listening Room, February 2001". ABC Classic FM. Archived from the original on 18 May 2008. Retrieved 12 July 2008.
  5. ^ "Desert Canticles". Music Australia. Retrieved 12 July 2008.
  6. ^ "Austlit — Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction (1989-1991)". Austlit. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  7. ^ "Austlit — New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards". Austlit. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  8. ^ "Austlit — The Nettie Palmer Prize for Non-Fiction (2002-2005)". Austlit. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  9. ^ "Austlit — Literary Scholarship (2004-2010)". Austlit. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  10. ^ "The Alfred Deakin Prize for an Essay Advancing Public Debate: Winner 2004". State Library of Victoria. Archived from the original on 12 August 2008. Retrieved 12 July 2008.
  11. ^ ""National Biography Award – Past Winners"". State Library of NSW. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  12. ^ "Winners of the Tasmanian Bicentenary History Prizes". 2004 Bicentenary of Tasmania, Department of Tourism, Parks, Heritage and the Arts. Archived from the original on 19 July 2008. Retrieved 12 July 2008.
  13. ^ ""Victoria Community History Awards – Best Print / Publication"". .. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  14. ^ Flood, Alison (1 October 2012). "Jorie Graham takes 2012 Forward prize". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 April 2024.
  15. ^ "Writers' Weekly Wrap". Australian Literature Diary. 11 March 2006. Retrieved 12 July 2008.
  16. ^ "Barry Hill, books and texts". Music Australia. Retrieved 12 July 2008.


Further reading[edit]

  • Wallace-Crabb, Chris (June 2011). "'Free as the hawks above us' : art in the happenstance of the organic". Australian Book Review (332): 46–47. Review of Lines for birds.