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Jean Devanny Archive

Jean Devanny was a novelist and a prominent member of the Communist Party of Australia. She was concerned in her literary and political work with the position of women. She was born in New Zealand in 1894 and died in Townsville in 1962. In the 1930's Devanny was involved with the fellowship of Australian Writers and through contacts she made in that group joined the Communist Party. She became a prominent public speaker and organiser for the Communist Party, touring around Australia.

Her involvement with north Queensland included working as a maid on a sheepstation to get material for her novel Out of such fires and organising during the 1935 cane cutters strike which inspired her novel Sugar heaven.

She attended the Workers International Relief Conference in Berlin in 1931 after which she became interested in proletarian art forms and became involved with the Workers Art Guild and the New Theatre. Her commitment to literary form as well as to sound idealogical content brought her into conflict with the executive of the Communist Party. In 1941 she was expelled from the Communist Party, for 'political degeneracy'. She writes of this period in great detail. In 1944 she was invited to rejoin the Party. In February 1949 she resigned from the Communist Party. Tribune judged her novel 'Cindie' idealogically unsound and refused to run a critical review of it. Jean Devanny played a very active role in the literary circles of her time as her correspondence reveals.

Note: See volume 2, nos. 732-743, pp. 34-38 from Women in Australia an annotated guide to records ed. for The National Research Program by Kay Daniels, Mary Murnane and Anne Picot. In Reference Collection at R301.4120994 WOM T3 Vol. 2 C.A.

Archive Location: 80L-82L Additional material 173(a)L and 173(b)L

Series Listing

Personal Letters, 19?? - 1962

Karl Shapiro Poems


Business Correspondence

Personal Papers

Communist Material

Additional Material

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