Mary DurackPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Glenn Day

The sculpture "The Storyteller" commemorates wrtiter and historian, Dame Mary Durack.

Dame Mary lived in the house on Bellevue Avenue in Nedlands until her death in 1994. Despite travelling extensively, especially to Broome and the Kimberley region, she always returned to Nedlands. She raised six children in the area, wrote all her books here, and her garden housed a storage room in which she kept all her archives until they were moved to the Battye Library in 2006.

Dame Mary’s family were pioneers in the settlement of the Kimberley region, owning vast cattle stations – in the 1920s her family firm controlled more than 7 million acres in that region.  While those vast holdings weren’t to last – in 1950 the family stations were sold off – Dame Mary committed to writing her family’s history. 

In her books "Kings in Grass Castles" and "Sons in the Saddle" she documented the early settlement of the Kimberley region by the Durack family.  "Kings in Grass Castles" in particular, published in 1959, gave the family's story a place in the imagination of Australia.

She also wrote fiction, plays and children’s books. Dame Mary wrote a column for The West Australian during 1937–38 for women and children in rural areas. She and her sister, the artist Elizabeth Durack, collaborated on a number of her children’s books and short stories. Dame Mary was also a gifted artist in her own right and illustrated some of her earlier works.

Mary Durack was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for her services to literature on 31 December 1977. On 12 June 1989 she was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), in recognition of her service to the community and literature.  She died on 16 December 1994, and is buried at the Argyle Homestead Museum in the Kimberley, in the place she called ‘her spirit country’.



Address:Great Eastern Highway & Bolton Avenue, Burswood Park, Burswood, 6100
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -31.963611
Long: 115.895278
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
View Google Map


Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:People
Monument Designer:Joan Walsh Smith & Charles Smith


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1996
Front Inscription


The subject matter and inspiration for this work is Dame Mary Durack, renowed chronicler of Australian history, engaged in a dialogue with her "young self" as a child.

As the adult figure she takes the role of an ancestor passing on the family history.  The two `Marys`, child and adult, share a sense of purpose : their attention is riveted to each other and the volume they hold, ` The Swan River Saga`.

In this play and in her book `To Be Heirs Forever` Dame Mary captured the essence of life in Perth in colonial days.

Source: MA,ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
Proudly sponsored by UBC Web Design