|Jean Devanny used north Queensland as the settting for|
novels such as Sugar Heaven, as well as travel memoirs
Yet it did. Jean was born in New Zealand in 1894 but died in Townsville, in tropical north Queensland, in 1962. She had been drawn there by what she described as a “recurrent yearning”. In the last two decades of her life she documented north Queensland in books and articles written as she wandered as “fancy” took her. These works – rich with “well-drawn” characters, voluptuously vivid, care-free, ribald and evocative descriptions – transport the reader from “limitless expanses of sugarcane” to “rangey jungle-clad mountains” to visions of sunshine that “lay like a bridal veil of gold on land and sea.” They are not devoid, though, of her customary critical and acerbic comment, or lacking political observation or instructive purpose.
|She was a friend and correspondent |
of many prominent female Australian authors
of the early-mid 20th century
The Special Collections of James Cook University has extensive archival holdings of material pertaining to Jean Devanny including manuscripts, personal papers and letters.
Devanny, Jean. Papers. James Cook University Special Collections.
Prichard, Katharine Susannah. 1944. “Foreword.” In By Tropic Sea and Jungle: Adventures in North Queensland, written by Jean Devanny, vii-viii. Sydney, Australia: Angus and Robertson.
Store, Ron. 1981. “Devanny, Jane (Jean) (1894-1962).” In Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra, Australia: Australian National University. http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/devanny-jane-jean-5968.
Bianka Vidonja Balanzategui
JCU PhD History Candidate