Dame famous for her local hospitality


Dame Mary Durack.
Dame Mary Durack.

This bush setting suited her well, given her love of the Kimberley region of WA, from which she drew inspiration.

Dame Durack was a gifted writer and historian whose books have become Australian classics.

She lived in the same house, in the suburb that is now called Dalkeith, until her death in 1994.

Despite travelling extensively, especially to Broome and the Kimberley region, she always returned to Nedlands.

Dame Durack was famed for her hospitality.

Her daughter Patsy Millett, who still lives on the same family property, said the house was always filled with writers, poets and artists.

It was something of a salon of the arts, and her mother was a generous host.

“Anyone who was anyone came to visit; one of her great friends Barry Humphries was a regular visitor to our house,” Mrs Millett said.

“It was a very small community back then.

“My mother knew everyone and everyone knew her. She held a yearly neighbourhood party early in the new year. New neighbours (were) welcomed, people moving on farewelled and my mother always composed a special verse for the occasion.”

Dame Durack was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for her services to literature on December 31, 1977.

On June 12, 1989 she was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia in recognition of her service to the community and literature.