Judith Wright was born in Armidale, New South Wales the eldest child of Phillip Wright and his first wife Ethel, but spent most of her formative years in Brisbane and Sydney. Wright was of Cornish ancestry.After the early death of her mother, she lived with her aunt and then boarded at New England Girls’ School after her father’s remarriage in 1929. After graduating, Wright studied philosophy, English, Psychology and history at the University of Sydney. At the beginning of World War II she returned to her father’s station to help during the shortage of labour caused by the war.
Wright’s first book of poetry, The Moving Image, was published in 1946 while she was working at the University of Queensland as a research officer. At this time she also worked with Clem Christesen on the literary magazine Meanjin. In 1950 she moved to Mount Tamborine, Queensland, with the novelist and abstract philosopher Jack McKinney. Their daughter Judy was born in the same year. They married in 1962, although Jack was to live only until 1966. For the last three decades of her life, she lived in the New South Wales town of Braidwood.
With David Fleay, Kathleen McArthur and Brian Clouston, Judith Wright was a founding member and, from 1964 to 1976, President, of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland. She was the second Australian to receive the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, in 1992.
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