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.
Son of a wool-merchant, Paul Wenz was educated in Paris at the Ecole Alsacienne where he began an enduring friendship with Andre Gide. With a number of spinning mills to supply, Wenz's father had wool-buying agencies in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. Paul Wenz visited Australia in 1892 while on a long tour of the family wool interests and spent two years working as a jackeroo in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. After working in New Zealand and South America, he returned to France in 1897, but was back in Australia as a settler by 1898. He purchased a property on the Lachlan River between Forbes and Cowra, New South Wales, pursuing a successful career as a grazier while overseeing his family's wool-buying agencies.
In 1900, the French magazine L'Illustration began publishing Wenz's short stories set in Australia and the Pacific Islands. Many of these stories were collected in volumes published in France, beginning with L'Autre Bout du Monde (1905). His only book in English was Diary of a New Chum (1908), a collection of sketches in novella form published in Melbourne. After serving as a liaison officer for British and Australian troops in France during World War I, he published several novels, beginning with L'homme du soleil couchant (1923) which had been serialised in the Revue de Paris in 1915. His final book, L'Echarde (1931) was a fanciful memoir of his childhood. Wenz became increasingly active in Australia's literary scene, but he was unable to find support to publish translations of his works in Australia. He died of pneumonia in 1939 and was buried in the Forbes cemetery.