Lois Krok is the great niece of Captain William Randell of SA paddle steamer fame. Both her parents were South Australians; her mother, Ruth Carey, ran a private school in Mitcham. Both parents moved independently to WA. They married in Perth and raised five children there, although with frequent visits "home". Lois was the youngest child. She was seven or eight years old when she decided she was going to be a writer, but with seven people and a cat and a dog in a small cottage there was literally no table space for writing. She built herself a secret hide-out in an old shed in the back garden, with a packing case for a desk. She would sit there for hours with her dog, churning out stories, poems and plays, and it was there that she wrote her first novel.
She went to boarding school and then to the University of Western Australia. She studied Arts and became a teacher. She taught at Toorak College, Melbourne, and wrote numerous stories and articles, "all of which were quickly rejected". Still wanting to be a writer, she left teaching and took a typing job in the ABC School Broadcasts Dept where she spent her days typing radio scripts and incidentally learning how to write them. She was given a contract to write a weekly nature study script for broadcasting in Victorian schools.
When she had saved a little money she set out to work her way around the world. In Canada she managed to sell a few manuscripts about life in Australia. In 1950 Lois married Trevor Krok, a mechanical engineer. When her two daughters reached school age, she completed an American writing course by correspondence, and over the years her writing output slowly built up. Her first full-time writing position was as Writer-in-Residence at Mt Gravatt TAFE in Brisbane (1974-78), where she was employed to write stories for an experimental reading series using the results of an exhaustive research into child language. She also had stories published in the Teachers' Guide for Expressways in the 1980s. (For a list of her Mount Gravatt Reading Books see Muir/White vol 2, p 257). Lois moved to SA and has continued writing and publishing with Jacaranda, Rigby and Macmillan. In the mid 1980s she and her husband spent a year in Papua New Guinea.
As well as the awards listed separately, Krok also received awards for "Betsy" (1st prize Circular Head Arts Festival 1979)and "Dorothy's Eighth Birthday" (1st prize McGregor Literary Competition, Toowoomba 1980).
For information about this author's works for children not included in AustLit, see Australian Children's Books by Marcie Muir and Kerry White (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1992-2003).