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Encouraged by P. R. Stephensen, who published one of his poems in his magazine The Publicist in 1937, he became associated with the Jindyworobak Movement in 1939 and in 1941 moved to Sydney and became involved in Australia First. He was a friend of Miles Franklin and Colin Thiele, and attracted favourable criticism from Xavier Herbert.
He took an active part in various national writers' bodies in Australia.
He was a strong critic of white Australians' treatment of Indigenous people. The Australian literary historian, Brian Clunes Ross has written,
"Ian Mudie in The Australian Dream (1943), revealed the delusory quality of the nationalist perception of Australia through its refusal to take into account the destruction of the natural environment and of Aboriginal culture… the Jindyworobaks… [were] often misrepresented by critics who claimed that the movement aimed to base Australian culture on Aboriginal culture. The Jindyworobaks were interested in Aborigines, and if white Australians are now able to recognise the grim impact of their civilisation on the Aboriginal inhabitants of the country, the Jindyworobaks are partly responsible…the Jindyworobaks… wanted to achieve a harmonious relationship between culture and the environment, and realised that Aboriginal culture embodied it. This was an example from which they could learn, not by imitation, but by coming to understand and accept the conditions which the environment imposes on them." (Australian Literature and Australian Culture)
After the Second World War Mudie was the recipient of a fellowship from the Commonwealth Literary Fund to conduct research into the paddlesteamers of the Murray-Darling river system and in 1961 published the book Riverboats. He also wrote a history of Admella, which in 1859 was wrecked off the south-east coast of South Australia, one of Australia's worst maritime disasters, and a new history of John McDouall Stuart's epic crossing of the Australian continent in 1861–1862.
- Corroboree to the Sun (1940)
- This Is Australia (1941)
- The Australian Dream (1943)
- Their Seven Stars Unseen (1943)
- Poems 1934—1944 (1945)
- The Blue Crane (1959)
- The North-Bound Rider (1963)
- Look, the Kingfisher (1970)
- Selected Poems 1934—1974 (1976)
- Poets at War: An anthology of Verse by Australian Servicemen (1944)
- The Jindyworobak Anthology (1946)
- Riverboats (1961)
- Wreck of the Admella (1966)
- The Heroic Journey of John McDouall Stuart (1968)
Ian was the grandson of well-known Anglican minister William Henry Mudie. His father, Henry Mayelston Mudie, was influential in the growth of the Savings Bank of South Australia. He married Renee Dunford Doble on 30 October 1934.
Note that his middle name is sometimes reported as "Mayelstone".
- Wilde, William H., Hooton, Joy and Andrews, Barry The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature Oxford University Press, Melbourne 2nd ed. ISBN 0 19 553381 X
- Butterss, Philip, 'Mudie, Ian Mayelston (1911–1976)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/mudie-ian-mayelston-11192/text19949, accessed 15 January 2012