Born: Established: 24 Apr 1910 Waverley ; Died: 23 Feb 1987 Lane Cove
Frank O'Grady was one of eight children born in Waverley, Sydney to John Edward O'Grady and Margaret nee Gleeson, both of Irish descent. His oldest brother was the writer John O'Grady (q.v.). Their father quit his job as editor of the New South Wales Agricultural Gazette and moved the family to a remote New England farm. The nearest school was at Tamworth, ten miles away, hindering the education of the O'Grady children. Drought caused his family to leave the land and constrained the parents' capacity to finance the children's studies.
Frank O'Grady married Doris Byrne in 1936. He enlisted in the Australian Army on the 22 December 1941 and on discharge on 12 September 1945 was a part-time member of the Volunteer Defence Corps. In his forties O'Grady published three sagas of pioneering life in western New South Wales. He was working for the Sydney City Council when he published a first novel. A note attached to a copy of The Golden Valley (15.1.1958) in the Fryer Library, University of Queensland, sent to Father Hayes in Queensland, indicated that 'Mr. O'Grady gets his living writing books & I hear he is doing well.' David Carter in 'O'Grady, John see 'Culotta, Nino': Popular Authorship, Duplicity and Celebrity', (Australian Literary Studies 21.4 (2004): 61) argues that 'On the evidence of [John] O'Grady's correspondence, however, Frank represented an entirely negative model, a kind of literariness and respectability against which O'Grady's own persona would be formed.' In 1958 John O'Grady wrote: 'Why do all these budding novelists make their characters speak like somebody out of Scott, and Dickens or Ethel M. Dell. (That brother of mine please note.) My mother writes that she has read my 'book'. It is terrible. All that swearing!...Why don't you write decent books like Frank?'
(Source: John Hetherington 'John O'Grady Nino Culotta's Prisoner' in Forty-Two Faces (1962): 97-102; The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature (1994): 590).