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Arthur W. Upfield Arthur W. Upfield i(A20562 works by) (a.k.a. Arthur Upfield; Arthur William Upfield)
Also writes as: Frederick Barmore
Born: Established: 1 Sep 1890 Gosport, Hampshire,
United Kingdom (UK),
Western Europe, Europe,
; Died: Ceased: 12 Feb 1964 Bowral, Mittagong - Bowral area, Southern Highlands - Southern Tablelands, Southeastern NSW, New South Wales,
Gender: Male
Arrived in Australia: 4 Nov 1911
Heritage: English
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Arthur Upfield was born in Gosport, England in 1890; this is confirmed by his birth certificate although the year of his birth is variously listed as between 1888 and 1892. He was registered under the name of William Arthur Upfield - his names were later reversed to avoid the diminutive 'little Bill'. His literary career started with articles for the press, including the London Daily Mail. He arrived in Adelaide during 1911, disembarking from RMS Orvieto on 4 November of that year; apart from AIF service during World War I, Upfield spent the next eighteen years roaming the outback, working as a mule-team driver, boundary-rider, opal-digger, shearer, seasonal fruit-picker and fencer. In 1928 he published his first novel, The House of Cain, the first of thirty-two novels. He left work on the No. 1 Rabbit-Proof Fence in August 1931 and moved to Perth to take up full-time writing. By September 1933 he was working for The Herald in Melbourne before income from books published by Angus and Robertson and Doubleday (USA) especially enabled him to become a full-time writer.

Upfield's mystery fiction was very popular, particularly in the United States of America, earning him the distinction of being admitted as a full member of the Mystery Writers' Guild of America. His outback settings, often on cattle or sheep stations or in small fictitious towns, and attention to Aboriginal customs and mateship achieved their greatest popularity in the series of novels that feature the half-caste Aboriginal detective Napoleon Bonaparte. The series was produced as a television series in the 1970s.

Beyond the Mirage, an unpublished autobiography, about Upfield's life till 1932-33, is held at the National Library of Australia (MS9590).

Most Referenced Works


  • See also the full Australian Dictionary of Biography Online entry for Arthur Upfield.

Known archival holdings

National Library of Australia (ACT)
University of Melbourne The University Library (VIC)
Albinski 225
Last amended 24 Jul 2008 14:41:37
Influence on:
Eccentric Minds : A Novel Graham Jackson , 2004 single work novel
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