Both Australia and Arthur W. Upfield (1890-1964) matured together. At the start of the last century, Upfield emigrated to Australia as that nation was gaining independence and identity. The Gallipoli campaign changed both, and both spent the next decades in pursuit of identity, he wandering, Australia finding its own unique place among nations.

Arthur W. Upfield lived a life many might envy: unsuccessful student, immigrant (1911), walker, horse breaker and camel driver, soldier, Bushman, fence rider, journalist, intelligence officer, explorer, novelist, swordfisherman, and creator of bi-racial Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte, “Bony”, in novels rivaling the popularity of Sherlock Holmes. Caught between two worlds, like his fictional character, Upfield was thoroughly English and yet also an Australian nationalist describing Outback Australia to the world through his part Aboriginal character. Famous novelists including Tony Hillerman and Stan Jones, to name only two, found a detective model in “Bony”.

Australia developed quickly after the Second World War, and Upfield, too, was successful after years of tea, chops and damper, chasing “rabbit, ‘roo and dog”. As Australia developed, Upfield’s Bush, his “Australia Proper”, slowly succumbed to modernization. After the war, Upfield left the Bush to become a successful writer eventually to be published in a wide range of languages and selling books in the millions of copies.

The biography relies on letters, papers, and public documents of the period, in Australia, England and America, many unexplored before now, in order to understand the story of his life and that of his true homeland, Australia.

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