Bernard Cronin


A load of timber at Marrawah, 1931 (AOT, PH30/1/9218)

Bernard Charles Cronin (18841968), novelist, was born in England and came to Australia in 1890. After winning a scholarship to Dookie Agricultural College, he worked as a jackeroo in Victoria before moving to a cattle farm in north-western Tasmania. This experience and setting furnished the series of novels that began with The Coastlanders (1918). Tasmanian places in his fiction include Burnie, the hardwood timber country outside Marrawah in Timber Wolves (1920), and Trowutta in the story 'Hoodoo Jo'. Back on the mainland, Cronin worked as a journalist, then as a publicity censor in the Second World War. While some subsequent novels were set in northern Australia, he returned to Tasmania's north-west in Sow's Ear (1933), the tale of a bitter forced marriage in a claustrophobic rural community.

Further reading: P Pierce (ed), The Oxford literary guide to Australia, Melbourne, 1987.

Peter Pierce