AustLit logo
NLA image of person
Cassandra Pybus Cassandra Pybus i(A12250 works by)
Born: Established: 1947 ;
Gender: Female
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.


Cassandra Pybus completed her PhD on history and social change in the work of C Vann Woodward and Robert Penn Warren at the University of Sydney in 1978. She worked as an academic and policy adviser to government before becoming a full-time writer in 1985. During the 1990s, Pybus wrote a number of highly-acclaimed (and sometimes controversial) books, including Gross Moral Turpitude (1993), The White Rajah (1996) and The Devil and James McAuley (2000). In addition to these books, she also wrote two volumes of autobiography, Till Apples Grow on an Orange Tree (1998) and Raven Road (2001). In 2006 Pybus published Black Founders: The Unknown Story of Australia's First Black Settlers which was shortlisted for the Community Relations Commission Prize in the 2006 New South Wales Premier's Awards.

In addition to her own works, Pybus has been involved in magazine publishing as editor of the literary magazine Island (1989-1994) and founding editor of the electronic forum, Australian Humanities Review (1996- ). Since 2000, she has worked as a research fellow at several institutions, including the University of Tasmania and the Georgetown University. In 2007, her book, Black Founders : The Unknown Story of Australia's First Black Settlers (2006) was shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier's History Awards, Australian History Prize.

Most Referenced Works


  • With Hamish Maxwell Stewart (q.v.), Pybus published American Citizens, British Slaves : Yankee Political Prisoners in an Australian Penal Colony 1839-1850 (MUP, 2002), which deals with the history of American citizens sent as convicts to Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land).

Personal Awards

2017 recipient Australian Centre Literary Awards Peter Blazey Fellowship for work towards a biography of Trugannini
2005 Literature Board Grants Grants for Established Writers $50,000 for non-fiction.
Centenary Medal For outstanding contribution to Tasmanian and Australian literature and education

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon The Devil and James McAuley St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1999 Z337532 1999 single work criticism Focuses on McAuley as a 'political ideologist and cold war warrior' rather than as a poet and critic and concentrates on his involvement, during the war, with A. A. Conlon's Directorate of Research and Civil Affairs and, post-war, with the Democratic Labor Party, the Australian Association for Cultural Freedom and the journal Quadrant. Attempts to explain two important forces in McAuley's life - his religious conversion and his passionate opposition to communism - in terms of a profound belief in the devil . Attributes the former to his encounter, in New Guinea, with Catholic Archbishop Alain de Boismenu, whose story of the nun and mystic Marie-Therese Noblet , believed to be possessed by the devil., made a profound impact on McAuley. Views his political stance as that of a Catholic convert who projected 'his own deep personal torment onto the Devil and Communist agents in the service of the Devil'. (Dust-jacket)
2000 winner Festival Awards for Literature (SA) National Non-Fiction Award
y separately published work icon Gross Moral Turpitude : The Orr Case Reconsidered Port Melbourne : Heinemann Australia , 1993 Z1252278 1993 single work non-fiction
1993 winner Colin Roderick Award
Last amended 11 Sep 2019 17:28:07
Other mentions of "" in AustLit: