|Born||21 March 1917
Southern Cross, Victoria, Australia
|Died||28 January 1994
North Carlton, Victoria, Australia
Francis Joseph Hardy, or Frank, (21 March 1917 – 28 January 1994) was an Australian left-wing novelist and writer best known for his controversial novel Power Without Glory. He also was a political activist bringing the plight of Aboriginal Australians to international attention with the publication of his book, The Unlucky Australians, in 1968. He ran unsuccessfully for the Australian parliament twice.
Frank Hardy, the fifth of the eight children of Thomas and Winifred Hardy, was born on 21 March 1917 at Southern Cross in western Victoria and later moved with his family to Bacchus Marsh, west of Melbourne. His mother, Winifred, was a Roman Catholic – his father, Thomas, an atheist of Welsh and English descent. In 1931 Hardy left school, aged 14, and embarked upon a series of manual jobs. According to Hardy biographer Pauline Armstrong, "his first job was as a messenger and bottlewasher at the local chemist's shop" and then Hardy worked at the local grocer. He later also did manual work "in and around Bacchus Marsh in the milk factory, digging potatoes, picking tomatoes and fruit".
There is some debate among Hardy's biographers about the relative extent Hardy personally suffered from hardships during the 1930s depression. Hardy claimed himself that he left home when he was 13 because "his dad couldn't get the dole" with him at home. However, Jim Hardy, Frank's eldest brother, wrote to the Melbourne Herald on 6 November 1983 to rebut this assertion, claiming that Frank had never had to leave home – further noting that their "father never lost a day's work in his life". According to biographer Jenny Hocking [page needed] in a more recent biography, Tom Hardy indeed did lose his job at a milk factory at the start of the Great Depression, and the family had had to move into a small rented house in Lerderderg Street.
In 1937 Radio Times published a selection of his cartoons.
In 1940 Hardy married Rosslyn Couper and they had three children, Frances, Alan and Shirley. From 1954 they made their home in Sydney.
Communist Party of Australia
Because of his experiences during the Depression, Hardy joined the Communist Party of Australia in 1939. Hardy stood unsuccessfully twice as a CPA candidate for public office: in 1953 as a Senate candidate for Victoria, and in 1955 for the seat of Mackellar (NSW) in the House of Representatives.
Hardy also stood unsuccessfully for the National Committee of the CPA in 1955 and again in 1967.
Australian Army service
According to Pauline Armstrong, Hardy enlisted in the Australian armed forces on 10 May 1943. He was later posted to Mataranka in the Northern Territory which was under "perpetual anticipation" of attack from the Japanese. Initially editing and writing a unit newspaper for the Australian army, he was employed as an artist for the army journal, Salt. Later his short stories A stranger in the camp and The man from Clinkapella won competitions and his work was accepted by Coast to Coast and the Guardian. Many of his early stories were written under the pseudonym Ross Franklyn.
He continued to work in journalism for most of his life. Although he opposed the foundation of the Australian Society of Authors for political reasons in 1963, he later joined the Society and served on its Management Committee. He played an active role in assisting the Gurindji people in the Gurindji strike in the mid to late 1960s. The documentary film The Unlucky Australians featured Frank Hardy and the Gurindji people and was made by director producer John Goldschmidt and transmitted on the ITV Network in the UK by Associated television.
Power Without Glory
His most famous work, Power Without Glory, was initially published in 1950 by Hardy himself with the assistance of Communist Party members. The novel was a fictionalised version of the life of a Melbourne businessman, John Wren, and was set in the fictitious Melbourne suburb of Carringbush (based on the actual suburb Collingwood).
In 1950, Hardy was arrested for criminal libel and had to defend Power Without Glory in a celebrated case shortly after its publication. Prosecutors alleged that Power Without Glory criminally libelled John Wren's wife by implication that she had engaged in an extramarital affair. Hardy was acquitted and it was the last criminal libel case launched in Victoria; all subsequent libel cases were civil. Hardy detailed the case in his book The Hard Way.
Power Without Glory was filmed by the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) in 1976 in a 26 episode television mini-series adapted by Howard Griffiths and Cliff Green.
Hardy also wrote plays, including Who was Henry Larsen (first performed 1984) and Faces in the Street (first performed 1988, published 1990), which were both based on Henry Lawson.
Frank Hardy died at his home in North Carlton, a suburb of Melbourne, from a heart attack on 28 January 1994, aged 76. His cremated remains were interred at Fawkner Memorial Park.
His granddaughter, Marieke Hardy, is a writer in Melbourne.
- Power Without Glory, 1950. Reprint 2000 ISBN 0-522-84888-5
- Journey into the future, 1952
- The Four Legged Lottery 1958 ISBN 0-00-614501-9
- The Hard Way: The Story Behind Power without Glory, 1961. ISBN 0-00-614471-3
- Legends from Benson's Valley, 1963. ISBN 0-14-007504-6
- The Yarns of Billy Borker, 1965.
- Billy Borker Yarns Again, 1967.
- The Unlucky Australians, 1968. 1972 ISBN 0-7260-0012-4
- Outcasts of Foolgarah, 1971, ISBN 0-85887-000-2
- But the Dead Are Many: A Novel in Fugue Form, 1975, ISBN 0-370-10570-2
- The Needy and the Greedy: Humorous Stories of the Racetrack, 1975.
- The Obsession of Oscar Oswald, 1983, ISBN 0-9592104-1-5
- Who Shot George Kirkland? : A Novel About the Nature of Truth, 1981.
- Warrant of Distress, 1983.
- The Loser Now Will Be Later to Win, 1985.
- Mary Lives!, 1992 ISBN 0-86819-350-X .
Books about Frank Hardy
- Frank Hardy Politics Literature Life, Jenny Hocking, Lothian Books, South Melbourne: 2005; ISBN 0-7344-0836-6
- Frank Hardy and the Literature of Commitment, edited by Paul Adams & Christopher Lee is (The Vulgar Press, North Carlton, Victoria: 2003)
- Frank Hardy and the Making of Power without Glory, Pauline Armstrong (Melbourne University Press); ISBN 0-522-84888-5
- The Stranger From Melbourne: Frank Hardy – A Literary Biography 1944 – 1975, Paul Adams, University of Western Australia Press: 1999 ISBN 1-876268-23-9
- Hocking, Jenny. Frank Hardy: Politics, Literature, Life South Melbourne: Lothian Books: 2005; ISBN 0-7344-0836-6
- Armstrong, Pauline. Frank Hardy and the Making of Power Without Glory. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. ISBN 0-522-84888-5
- Adams, Paul. The Stranger From Melbourne: Frank Hardy – A Literary Biography 1944–1975. University of Western Australia Press: 1999; ISBN 1-876268-23-9
- See interview "Hardy declares war on poverty" in The Herald (Melbourne) of 7 October 1983
- Knox, David (6 February 2008). "Mary Hardy, the tragic clown". Retrieved 6 July 2009.
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