Frank WalfordFrank Walfordi(A24914 works by) Also writes as: Double-Yew; Leuroomba Born:Established:1882Balmain,Glebe - Leichhardt - Balmain area,Sydney Inner West,Sydney,New South Wales,;Died:Ceased:1969Katoomba,Blue Mountains,Sydney,New South Wales,
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Educated in Sydney, Frank Walford was adventurous in his youth, going to North Queensland as a buffalo hunter and crocodile shooter and living with Indigenous people to learn bush survival techniques. He sailed a schooner between Townsville and Broome with an Aboriginal crew. He settled in Katoomba in 1919 to work for the Blue Mountains Echo newspaper in which he published poetry by Eleanor Dark and Eric Lowe (qq.v.).
Walford was a prolific and successful writer, whose first three novels sold 20,000 copies overseas. Twisted Clay (1933) was 'an explosive novel of strange passions' according to the cover blurb. Walford claimed that it was applauded by the London Times as 'the best book ever written with a lunatic as a central character'. The book was banned in Australia for nearly thirty years. Walford also edited various small short-lived periodicals, including Walford's Weekly (1918). His short stories were frequently read on ABC radio and in 1942 he won 200 pounds in the Women's Weekly short story contest.
Walford was also active in the local community: he co-founded the Katoomba Chamber of Commerce in 1922; served as an alderman for thirty years and three terms as mayor; and supported the Boy Scout movement. He started the Blue Mountaineers, a climbing and bushwalking group, with Eleanor Dark (q.v.) and Eric Dark, Eric Lowe (q.v.) and Nina Lowe and Osmar White (q.v.). Their club extended to literary discussions and they built caves, under Walford's direction, that became writers' retreats and bases for expeditions. Walford was also friendly with Frank Hurley (q.v.), the photographer hero of Antarctica and New Guinea.
During the Second World War, Walford and Eric Dark joined the Volunteer Defence Corps and roamed the Blue Mountains together seeking out strategic locations for ammunition dumps and bases for guerrilla fighters. Walford left the Mountains to join the Guides and Reconnaissance Corps where he was commanded by William Charles Wentworth. Walford was influenced by Wentworth's anti-communist beliefs and on his return to Katoomba accused the local branch of the Labour Party of communist sympathies. He lost his friendship with the Darks as a result.
As well as fiction and poetry, Walford compiled a guidebook Wilson's New Walks and Sights : Katoomba and Leura, Blue Mountains, N.S.W. (1928). Legends of the Blue Mountains Valleys,by Jimmy Shepherd, retold by Frank Walford was edited with a commentary by Jim Smith and published in 2003.