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y separately published work icon My Brother Jack : A Novel single work   novel  
Is part of Meredith Trilogy George Johnston , 1964 series - author (number 1 in series)
Issue Details: First known date: 1964... 1964 My Brother Jack : A Novel
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''The thing I am trying to get at is what made Jack different from me. Different all through our lives, I mean, and in a special sense, not just older or nobler or braver or less clever.'

'David and Jack Meredith grow up in a patriotic suburban Melbourne household during the First World War, and go on to lead lives that could not be more different. Through the story of the two brothers, George Johnston created an enduring exploration of two Australian myths: that of the man who loses his soul as he gains worldly success, and that of the tough, honest Aussie battler, whose greatest ambition is to serve his country during the war. Acknowledged as one of the true Australian classics, My Brother Jack is a deeply satisfying, complex and moving literary masterpiece. ' (Publication summary)


form y separately published work icon My Brother Jack Charmian Clift , ( dir. Gil Brealey ) Australia : Australian Broadcasting Commission , 1965 Z896636 1965 series - publisher film/TV

An historical drama series set largely in the suburbs of Melbourne between the 1920s and World War II, much of the film's action centres on the lives of young Davey, his older brother Jack, and their family.


  • Also published in large print, braille and sound recording formats. Study notes also available.
  • The fictional printing company 'Klebendorf and Hardt' where David Meredith is apprenticed is modelled on the firm of Troedel and Cooper, where George Johnston was an apprentice in the 1930s.


* Contents derived from the Sydney, New South Wales,:Collins , 1987 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Introduction : My Brother Jack, Garry Kinnane , single work criticism (p. xiii-xix)
* Contents derived from the Pymble, Turramurra - Pymble - St Ives area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,:Angus and Robertson , 1990 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Introduction, Brian Matthews , single work criticism
Matthews looks at the theme of death and life in the novel and its embodiment in the characters of David and Jack Meredith.
(p. v-xv)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Other Formats

Works about this Work

Uluru : a Rock That Plagues Australia’s Conscience Paul Daley , 2021 single work column
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 24 May 2021;

'Mark McKenna’s short, elegant book Return to Uluru gazes inwards to the continental interior, metaphor for a nation’s yearning.'

In Transit : Migration and Memory in the Writings of Martin Johnston and Dimitris Tsaloumas Julian Tompkin , 2019 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 19 no. 1 2019;

'In August 1964 Martin Johnston boarded the Ellinis in the port of Piraeus, destined for Sydney, Australia, bringing to an end his 14-year estrangement from the land of his birth. Johnston, who had lived abroad most of his life in England and Greece, would return as a literal migrant to his own country. It was a theme that would prove fecund and deeply allegorical for the then 17-year-old son of authors George Johnston and Charmian Clift, later manifesting in his poetic works such as In Transit: a sprawling 14-part paean to Johnston’s immutable sense of displacement.

'A little over a decade before, in 1952, Greek poet Dimitris Tsaloumas would complete the same metamorphic journey, fleeing his Dodecanese homeland and arriving in Melbourne, Australia where he would take up the uneasy mantle of Australia’s Hellenic poet in exile. Despite parabolic overtures of assimilation, paradoxical themes of longing and dislocation pockmark Tsaloumas’s vast canon, tethering an uneasy union between his two divergent worlds both ancient and contemporary; familiar and profoundly alien.

'This essay explores the lives and comparative themes of exile in the works of both Johnston and Tsaloumas—writers who both identified as Xenos, a Greek word that translates as both ‘guest’ and ‘stranger’—and investigates the often incorporeal, irredeemable and contradictory natures of nostalgia and belonging.' (Publication abstract)

Exile’s Return : Change Was in the Air Andrew Taylor , 2019 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 19 no. 1 2019;
'In September 1963 I boarded the ship, the Fairsky, in Port Melbourne, and waved goodbye to my parents and my girlfriend. I was 23 years old and leaving Australia for the first time. The Fairsky was one of many ships that had served in the Second World War and then been repurposed in the immediate post-war years. In this case, she had served for both the USA and Royal navies, firstly as USS Barnes and then as HMS Attacker, before being converted initially for use as a cargo carrier (the Castel Forte), and eventually undergoing another major refit for passenger use in 1957, from which she re-emerged as Fairsky.' (Introduction)
y separately published work icon Hydra Sue Smith , Kensington : NewSouth Publishing , 2019 16668898 2019 single work drama

'They were writers, dreamers and free spirits. In the 1950s, Australian authors Charmian Clift and George Johnston fled halfway across the world to the idyllic Greek island of Hydra, determined to carve out a bohemian living as artists.

'As they revel in their picturesque community, far off the world’s literary map, inspiration for the great Australian work strikes. But a many-headed monster of jealousy, infidelity, illness and alcoholism also rises from the crystal blue waters of their sun-kissed island home.

'Award-winning Sue Smith weaves the original writings of two of Australia’s literary icons into a moving relationship drama. She conjures the passion and intensity of the near mythical ‘King and Queen of Hydra’ as they follow their dream, only to end up in a Greek tragedy of their own making.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Dreams of Hydra Susan Lever , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: Inside Story , October 2016;
Untitled Neil Jillett , 1964 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 10 May 2003; (p. 5)

— Review of My Brother Jack : A Novel George Johnston , 1964 single work novel
Book Review: 'My Brother Jack' Daryl Douglas , 1964 single work review
— Appears in: North , October no. 3 1964; (p. 16)

— Review of My Brother Jack : A Novel George Johnston , 1964 single work novel
A Review of "My Brother Jack" F. H. Mares , 1975 extract review (Recent Novels)
— Appears in: Australian Postwar Novelists : Selected Critical Essays 1975; (p. 52-56)

— Review of My Brother Jack : A Novel George Johnston , 1964 single work novel
Between Two Wars Joyce Burnard , 1964 single work review
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 18 April vol. 86 no. 4391 1964; (p. 48)

— Review of Martin Place : A Novel D. H. Crick , 1963 single work novel ; Be Ready with Bells and Drums Elizabeth Kata , 1961 single work novel ; My Brother Jack : A Novel George Johnston , 1964 single work novel
Two Ways of Writing a Novel Harry Payne Heseltine , 1964 single work review
— Appears in: Meanjin Quarterly , June vol. 23 no. 2 1964; (p. 220-221)

— Review of Summer Peter Cowan , 1964 single work novel ; My Brother Jack : A Novel George Johnston , 1964 single work novel
The Suburbs: A Dream or Nightmare? James Button , 2004 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 21 August 2004; (p. 4)
The author re-read My Brother Jack and realises ' much it defines a prevailing Australian intellectual and artistic attitude to suburbia.'
(Source: The Age, (Insight), 21 August 2004 p.4)
The Magic of Journalism in George Johnston's Fiction David Conley , 2002 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Studies in Journalism , no. 10-11 2002; (p. 106-134)
About 200 Australian journalists have written novels in the past two centuries. None has achieved wider popular acclaim than the dual Miles Franklin Award winner, George Johnston. In 1995 his novel My Brother Jack (1964) was named one of the 20th century's twelve most influential Australian books. In 1984, it was voted, by a wide margin, the best novel published in Australia since 1945. Yet Johnston's critical recognition has been comparatively sparse and there has been no detailed examination of how his journalism influenced his fiction. This article argues that Johnston's training and experience in journalism informed and enabled his fiction, thereby helping to shape Australia's national identity. Privileged by journalism's much misunderstood magic, his search for meaning in that identity helped to shape his own identity. In addressing that misunderstanding, this paper calls for a new interdisciplinary partnership between scholars in literature and journalism so that the journalistic inheritance in so many novels can be more comprehensively examined. (Author's abstract)
My Brother Jack : George Johnston (1912-1970) Jane Gleeson-White , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Classics : Fifty Great Writers and Their Celebrated Works 2007; (p. 172-176)
y separately published work icon Between the City and the Bush: Suburbia in the Contemporary Australian Novel Nathanael O'Reilly , Kalamazoo : 2008 Z1612172 2008 single work thesis 'Australia's most important national narratives take place in the bush, the outback, and overseas. The dominant representations of Australia, both within the nation and abroad, focus on the outback, the bush and the cities. However, Australia is one of the most suburban societies in the world, and has been since the mid-nineteenth-century. Nevertheless, Australian novels are rarely set in suburbia. Between the City and the Bush examines representations of suburbia in contemporary Australian novels. Focusing on the relationship between colonialism, the physical development of suburbia and the anti-suburban intellectual tradition, my chapters address a number of issues, including immigration, environmental degradation, Indigenous rights, non-indigenous belonging, alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, sexuality, religion and spirituality, and the role of the artist in society. This dissertation outlines the history of the anti-suburban intellectual tradition within Australia, the connections between the British, American and Australian anti-suburban intellectual traditions, and the effect of the anti-suburban tradition on Australian literature and Australian literary criticism, before proceeding to analyze eleven novels. This project examines novels published between 1961 and 2005, demonstrating the establishment, development and perpetuation of the anti-suburban tradition in the Australian novel. The second and third chapters argue against the dominant critical perception of Patrick White's canonical novels Riders in the Chariot (1961) and The Solid Mandala (1966) as anti-suburban, contending that White's novels present suburbia ambivalently, including both celebratory and disparaging representations. I demonstrate that the anti-suburban tradition in the Australian novel was established by George Johnston with his classic novel My Brother Jack (1964), and show that the anti-suburban tradition was perpetuated throughout the following four decades by David Malouf, Tim Winton, Melissa Lucashenko and A.L. McCann. In the final two chapters, I argue that Gerald Murnane and Peter Carey reject the anti-suburban tradition and utilize suburbia as a setting for fictional experimentation and intensive engagement with social issues, demonstrating that suburbia, the site in which most Australian live, contains a wealth of subjects for novelists' (author's abstract).
Jack and George : Who Owns a Life? Chester Eagle , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Well in the Shadow : A Writer's Journey through Australian Literature 2010; (p. 12-29)

'A discussion of George Johnston's My Brother Jack in the light of two interviews with Jack and Pat Johnston on 29/7/1980 and 20/8/1980.' (Author's note.)

(Note: These interview tapes are held by the National Library of Australia; an abbreviated version of the interviews appears in Helix (1982).)

Last amended 28 Apr 2020 15:27:54