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Daughter of Bettina Mendl. 'Phyllis McDuff was born in the outback, in Hillston, western New South Wales. Her early years included extensive family travel through Europe, Africa and Asia. She was educated at; Brigidine College in Randwick, Sydney University, the University of New England and the University of Queensland. She now lives on the outskirts of Brisbane, Queensland in Logan City.' (Source: Phyllis McDuff website)

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A Story Dreamt Long Ago : A Memoir Reader's Digest Encounters : Real Life Reading , 2003 single work biography

'Whispered voices in the hallways of her childhood. A hastily packed suitcase. A masked ball that ends early. A mother who will not reveal her past. A daughter's search for the truth...When Bettina Mendl arrived in Australia in 1939 from Vienna she was on the run. In her homeland of Austria she was wanted by Hitler's SS, and in Australia she was an enemy alien. Fearing internment, she had to become invisible so she literally went bush-to the red dust of the Australian outback.There Bettina met and fell in love with Joe McDuff, station manager and salt-of-the-earth bushman. After Joe rescued Bettina from certain death from a spider bite and exposure, romance bloomed and they settled into a loving marriage and life in the bush. Their two young daughters, Phyllis and Dawn, grew up completely unspoilt and blissfully aware of their mother's aristocratic past. When the Second World War finally came to an end, Bettina was called back to Austria to try to reclaim what remained of her vast estate and family lands. While Bettina and Joe had a wonderful life, they wanted to secure their daughters' futures. Unable to bear an extended separation from her family, Bettina packed up Joe and the girls and took them to Austria for the first time. Thus began a fairytale whirlwind of exotic travel, beautiful clothes, mansions and five-star hotels, glamorous parties, famous faces and luxury for the McDuffs-especially for Phyllis and Dawn, who were used to going barefoot and had no awareness of the extent of their mother's vast family fortune. Bettina's life before the war had always been a mystery to her children, and she refused to talk about it as they grew up. But as her life drew to a close, her eldest daughter Phyllis began a quest to uncover the truth. From the unravelling of a secret coded message to a connection with Picasso and a British spy, A Story Dreamt Long Ago follows Phyllis's astonishing journey of discovery, a journey which revealed Bettina's hidden past and her untold courage. (Source: Angus & Robertson Bookworld website)

2004 shortlisted Kibble Literary Awards Nita May Dobbie Award
2003 Austria Prize for Services to German Literature jointly awarded by the Austrian Consulate, University of Sydney and Macquarie University.
Again-again "you gave your wake up words to the people with no dreaming", Moongalba: Poems in Honour of Oodgeroo , 2000 single work poetry
2000 inaugural winner Elanora Award poetry
Last amended 13 Sep 2016 12:06:25
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