AustLit logo


NLA image of person
Ion L. Idriess Ion L. Idriess i(A27183 works by) (a.k.a. Jack Idriess; Ion Llewellyn Idriess; I. L. Idriess)
Also writes as: Gouger ; Up North ; Emucrest
Born: Established: 20 Sep 1889 Waverley, Bondi area, Sydney Eastern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales, ; Died: Ceased: 6 Jun 1979 Mona Vale, Northern Beaches area, Sydney Northeastern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,
Gender: Male
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.


Ion L. Idriess was educated in several New South Wales towns before attending the Broken Hill School of Mines. At the age of sixteen he began a twenty-five year period of travel around most regions of Australia, working in a variety of jobs, including miner, rabbit-exterminator, boundary-rider, rouseabout, opal miner, crocodile hunter and drover. He served at Gallipoli and in the Sinai and Palestine in World War I. He was badly wounded in 1918. After the war, he continued his nomadic lifestyle, but in 1928 he settled in Sydney to begin a career as a freelance writer.

Idriess contributed to the Bulletin's 'Aboriginalities' column and other journals under such pseudonyms as 'Gouger', 'Up North' and 'Emucrest' and had some success with earlier books such as his first, Madman's Island (1926); in 1931 he wrote his first best-seller, Lasseter's Last Ride, and Prospecting for Gold, a practical guide to gold mining. From this time until his last book appeared in 1969, he regularly published at least one book a year, providing tales of Australian adventure in a congenial and well-structured style. He also wrote several books for children about historical events in Australia. Many of Idriess's books, such as The Cattle King (1936) and Flynn of the Inland (1932) went through multiple printings. The Desert Column (1932), Drums of Mer (1933), Nemarluk (1941), and the collections The Yellow Joss (1934) and Forty Fathoms Deep (1937), are also notable. The success of Idriess's style influenced later authors such as Frank Clune and Colin Simpson (qq.v.).

Ion Idriess was awarded an OBE in 1968.

Most Referenced Works

Affiliation Notes

  • Idriess spent some time in the north of Western Australia and set a number of books in Western Australia.
Last amended 22 Jan 2015 12:05:31
Other mentions of "" in AustLit: