Also writes as: Conn Bennett
Born: Established: 4 Aug 1904 Brisbane ; Died: 24 Aug 1951 Sydney
Brian Penton was born in Brisbane and attended several primary schools before entering Brisbane Grammar School in 1918. Leaving school at fourteen, Penton began his long career in journalism soon after on the staff of the Brisbane Courier. At nineteen he travelled to England and worked as a freelance journalist for eighteen months before returning to Australia to join the Sydney Morning Herald. But in 1929 Penton returned to England, acting as business manager for Jack Lindsay's Franfolico Press (1929-30) and working as a reporter for the Daily Express (1930-32). In 1933 Penton joined Sydney's Daily Telegraph, contributing the "Sydney Spy" column for several years and becoming editor in 1941. Penton was widely admired as an editor and was heavily involved in protests against government censorship during the 1940s.
In addition to his journalism, Penton published several books, including two polemical volumes that explore the state of Australian culture in the 1940s, their content reflected by the titles Advance Australia--Where? (1943) and Think--Or Be Damned (1941). Penton published two novels. The most widely admired is Landtakers (1934) which is a chronicle of a family in Queensland's early colonial period, the first volume of an unfinished trilogy. Manuscripts of two early unpublished novels, one entitled 'Outrageous Fortune', are held in the Fryer Library.
Penton began to suffer from ill-health in 1949. In 1951 his death from cancer influenced many public tributes that praised his contribution to Australian journalism.