Dorothy Auchterlonie Green bigraphy, stories - Australianwriter and academic

Dorothy Auchterlonie Green : biography

28 May 1915 - 21 February 1991

Dorothy Auchterlonie AO (also known as Dorothy Green) (28 May 1915 – 21 February 1991) was an English-born Australian academic, literary critic and poet.


Auchterlonie was born in Sunderland, County Durham in England. In 1927 when she was 12 years old, her family moved to Australia.

Educated in both England and Australia, Auchterlonie went on to study at the University of Sydney, where she completed a first-class honours and then an M.A. in English. During her time there Auchterlonie became a member of an elite group that included the brilliant and flamboyant poet James McAuley, Joan Fraser (who wrote under the pseudonym Amy Witting), Harold Stewart, Oliver Somerville, Alan Crawford and Ronald Dunlop. James McAuley and Harold Stewart were later to become notorious for perpetrating the Ern Malley hoax. The group was described by Peter Coleman in his book on James McAuley, as the 'sourly brilliant literary circle', an oblique reference to Thomas de Quincey.

In 1944, Auchterlonie married literary historian and critic, H. M. Green (1881–1962), who was then the Librarian at the University of Sydney.

Auchterlonie worked as an ABC broadcaster and journalist in Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra from 1942 to 1949, and in 1955 became co-principal of a Queensland school. In 1961 she became the first female lecturer at Monash University, lecturing in literature. Her teaching career included positions at both the Australian National University and the Australian Defence Force Academy.

During her academic career (1961–1987) she threw herself into championing Australian literature and publishing literary criticism to re establish authors she felt were undervalued, notably Martin Boyd, E. L. Grant Watson,Green, Dorothy ‘The Daimon and the Fringe-Dweller: The Novels of Grant Watson’ Meanjin Quarterly Vol. 30 no. 3, Spring 1971 Patrick White, ‘Henry Handel Richardson’, Christopher Brennan, Christina Stead and Kylie Tennant. In 1963, after publisher Angus & Robertson had approached her for an abridgement suitable for students, she began to revise her husband H. M. Green’s massive History of Australian Literature, republished in two volumes in 1985. Her major study of Henry Handel Richardson, Ulysses Bound was published in 1973 and revised in 1986.Oxford Companion to Australian Literature Wilde, Hooton, Andrews, Oxford University Press, Melbourne 1994 From 1970 she had begun researching a major biography of writer and biologist E. L. Grant Watson, which led to the publication of Descent of Spirit in 1990, but at her death in 1991 the project remained uncompleted.

Along with supporting environmental causes and volunteer work for the Australian Council of Churches, she was also prominent in campaigning with an ADFA colleague, David Headon, in speeches and writing against nuclear arms. She visited Moscow in 1987 as one of nine Australian delegates invited to a peace forum by the USSR Government.McDonald, Willa Warrior for Peace: Dorothy Auchterlonie Green Australian Scholarly Publishing 2010

In 1991 a collection of Auchterlonie's writings and papers was purchased by the National Library of Australia. Additional papers and documents are held in the Australian Defence Force Academy Library, Canberra.



Auchterlonie was awarded an Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 1984 and was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1998 for her services to literature, teaching and writing.

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