Australian Biography: Frank Hardy


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1993, 27 Minutes.

Born in Southern Cross, Victoria in 1917, Frank Hardy was brought up in Bacchus Marsh, the Benson's Valley of his short stories. Leaving school at 13, he worked as a fruit-picker, road ganger, seaman, grocer and cartoonist.

After experiencing the effects of the Depression, he joined the Communist Party of Australia. In 1942 he enlisted in the army and was sent to the Northern Territory.

During the late 1940s Hardy collected material for his most famous and controversial novel Power Without Glory, a fictionalised story of political corruption centred around the life of Melbourne businessman and Australian Labor Party power-broker, John Wren. Its publication lead to one of Australia's most famous defamation trials. In 1950 Hardy was charged with libel by John Wren's wife and after nine months of court proceedings, he was finally acquitted. This experience was to form the basis of another book, The Hard Way. 

Power Without Glory became his best-known work and was made into a successful ABC-TV mini-series in 1976. His other novels are The Four-Legged Lottery, The Outcasts of Foolgarah, But the Dead are Many, Who Shot George Kirkland? and The Obsession of Oscar Oswald.  

Frank Hardy died in 1994 at the age of 76. The interview for Australian Biography was his last.

A Film Australia National Interest Program. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

NB The Australian Biography series (1-11) are only available for sale within the territories of Australia and New Zealand.



Director: Frank Heimans

Year: 1993

Running Time: 27 Minutes

Classification: PG. Consumer advice: Low level coarse language, Adult themes.

Curriculum Links: Australian Curriculum: English Senior Secondary - Australian Identity; Creative Writing; Australian History; English; English Literature; 20th Century Politics; SOSE.


Australian Biography: Zelda D’Aprano

SKU 199104605
Brand Film Australia

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