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Leslie Haylen Leslie Haylen i(A4781 works by) (a.k.a. Leslie Clement Haylen; Les Haylen; Oliver Goldfish)
Also writes as: Sutton Woodfield
Born: Established: 23 Sep 1899 Queanbeyan area, Canberra region (NSW), Southeastern NSW, New South Wales, ; Died: Ceased: 12 Sep 1977 Lewisham, Marrickville - Camperdown area, Sydney Southern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,
Gender: Male
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Leslie Haylen was a politician, playwright, novelist and journalist. The youngest of twelve children, he spent his early years on a small farm in rural New South Wales, before his family moved to Sydney. In 1918 he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force, and was discharged in 1919. He subsequently became a journalist in Wagga Wagga and Sydney, and married Sylvia Myrtle Rogers in 1927.

He joined the Australian Women's Weekly as news editor in 1933, and some of his work was published in that magazine before being published elsewhere. He worked for the Daily Telegraph but was sacked by Frank Packer when he gained pre-selection for the Australian Labor Party. Between 1943 and 1964 he served as the Labor member for the Federal seat of Parkes. In his maiden speech, he argued the case for a national theatre, and for greater financial resources for Australian artists and writers. Widely read, he was an energetic and witty debater in the House. His novel A for Artemis (1960), written under the pseudonym 'Sutton Woodfield', was a satire on politics and the press.

As a member of the ALP he led the first Parliamentary delegation to China after the Communist Party took over the country. He visited China again in 1957 at the height of the Cold War, writing Chinese Journey: The Republic Revisited on his return.

Haylen continued to write throughout a turbulent political career, and his varied experiences in war, journalism and politics significantly influenced his novels and plays. He was involved in the founding of the Fellowship of Australian Writers in New South Wales in 1928, and served two terms as its President between 1946-1947 and 1957-1958.

Most Referenced Works


  • Some authorities give Haylen's date of birth as 1898. His place of birth is given variously as Woodfield (near Queanbeyan) and Amungla, ACT.
  • See also the full Australian Dictionary of Biography Online entry for Leslie Clement (Les) Haylen, (1898-1977).
  • The September 1932 issue of The Home includes a brief reference to the forthcoming private screening of Two Minutes' Silence. The report states that, Two Minutes' Silence, written by Leslie Haylen, an Australian journalist, has just been completed by the Misses McDonagh at their Centennial Park Studio, Sydney. The Misses McDonagh, who have produced several silent films in the past, are enthusiastic on the production of their first talkie.' The film adaptation was based on Haylen's anti-war play which was staged in Sydney in 1930. (appears in the Sydney 'Personal and Social' column)
  • The February 1933 issue of The Home contains a brief report noting that there 'was a big crowd at the Prince Edward Theatre on January 15th to see the private screening of the talkie, Two Minutes' Silence, which was produced by the McDonagh Sisters at their studio in Centennial Park.' (content appears in the Sydney 'Personal and Social' column)
Last amended 4 Jul 2013 18:30:33
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