My Brother Jack

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My Brother Jack
Mybrotherjack 1.jpg
First edition
Author George Johnston
Cover artist Sydney Nolan[1]
Country Australia
Language English
Publisher Collins
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 384 pp
Followed by Clean Straw for Nothing 

My Brother Jack is a classic Australian novel by writer George Johnston. It is part of a trilogy centering on the character of David Meredith. The other books in the trilogy are Clean Straw for Nothing and A Cartload of Clay. Its text is commonly studied for many English Literature subjects in Australia.


This semi-autobiographical novel follows the narrator, David Meredith, through his childhood and adolescence in interwar Melbourne through to adulthood and his journalism career during World War II. The novel constantly contrasts him with his older and more "typically Australian", brother, Jack.

The book chronicles the life of an average Australian bloke in interwar Australian society. Jack Meredith is a liked and tough man, uneducated but hardworking and decent, who grew up suffering during the Great Depression. His younger brother has a successful and prominent career as journalist, although the narrator's personal life is empty, unlike that of his more physical, less intellectual, more "Aussie" brother Jack.

Jack is a post-colonial archetype of Australian men: a type that has largely disappeared from reality with the modernisation of Australia however the image lingers and continues to influence the national psyche. The novel describes the "Aussie bloke" – physical, unintellectual – and his place in interwar Australian history with affection and a certain respect.

The book was made into an Australian TV series (2001).

Awards and nominations

It won the Miles Franklin Award in 1964.

Television series

1965 TV series

The book was serialised for ABC in 1965 by Charmian Clift, who was also Johnston's wife.[2][3]


2001 TV series

It was adapted again in 2001 by John Alsop and Sue Smith. The cast included William McInnes, Angie Milliken, Claudia Karvan and Jack Thompson, with Simon Lyndon, Matt Day as the brothers and Ross Ward from Ballarat.


  1. ^ Australian Bookcovers #114 - My Brother Jack by George Johnston, By Perry Middlemiss on May 20, 2008 6:43 AM. Retrieved 2012-01-14.
  2. ^ ""MY BROTHER JACK"". The Australian Women's Weekly. 22 September 1965. p. 18. Retrieved 19 December 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ "Prize novel now a TV serial". The Canberra Times. 16 August 1965. p. 1 Section: TELEVISION and radio GUIDE. Retrieved 5 February 2016 – via National Library of Australia.

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Careful, He Might Hear You
Miles Franklin Award recipient
Succeeded by
The Slow Natives

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