Early History

 

In June 1938 an American writer, Hartley Grattan, visited

Perth. Katharine Susannah Prichard and John K Ewers

organised a dinner for him with eleven local writers, none

of whom knew about the others. Grattan suggested to

Jesse Hammond, the oldest writer present, that he urge

John K Ewers to form an organisation where writers could

meet and support each other. After discussions with

Henrietta Drake-Brockman, Gavin Casey and others,

the new Fellowhship of Australian Writers (WA) first met

in October 1938, with the aim of supporting Western

Australian writers and promoting Australian literature and

its creators. John K Ewers was elected as Foundation

President. Rather than create a separate group, the early

writers formed a Western Australian Section of the

Fellowship of Australian Writers, which had been founded

in Sydney in 1928.

 

Tom Collins House

 

Joseph Furphy wrote 'Such is Life' under his pen-name

Tom Collins. Furphy arrived in Fremantle in 1905 to help

his sons, Felix and Samuel, in the Furphy Foundry, Grey

Street, Fremantle. Furphy lived in Fremantle before

moving to Swanbourne in 1906. In 1907 he built a cottage

in Servetus Street, Swanbourne, now relocated to the

Allen Park Heritage Precinct. Known as Tom Collins House,

it has been the headquarters of the Fellowship of

Australian Writers WA since 1949.

 

Some Activities of the Fellowship Over the Years

 

These included monthly meetings with guest speakers on a wide range of topics of interest to writers, round table workshops to discuss members' writings and public reading of works by Western Australian writers. The Fellowship also entertained writers from overseas and interstate, met with community organisations such as the Good Neighbour Council and Adult Education, planned literary activities for the annual Festival of Perth and organised Children's Book Week.

Original desk of Joseph Furphy

in situ at Tom Collins House

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