Literary legend Ruth Park dies aged 93

Ruth Park, the author of classic Australian novels and children's books has died in Sydney, aged 93.
Born in Auckland in 1917, Park spent much of her childhood living in tent camps in remote regions as her father worked as a road and bridge builder. Park later reflected that this early exposure to nature influenced her sense of belonging in the adult world.

Park later attended the University of Auckland and became a journalist with the Auckland Star. She moved to Australia in 1942 and married Darcy Niland, a journalist and author most famously known for The Shiralee. Together they raised five children.

While Park made a living writing plays for ABC Radio she is best known for her popular novels and children's books. Her best-seller The Harp in the South was published in 1948. It told the story of an Irish Australian family living in the Surrey Hills slums during the depression. The novel received rave reviews and was translated into 37 languages. She went on to write Poor Man's Orange and Swords and Crowns and Rings (for which she won the Miles Franklin Literary Award).

In 1962, Park wrote her most famous children's book The Muddleheaded Wombat which led to a series of picture books. In 1980, her best known young adult novel Playing Beattie Bow was published.

Park had published two autobiographies: A Fence around the Cuckoo and Fishing in the Styx.

Ruth Park was one of the greatest authors in Australian history. Her books richly portrayed our social history and she made a great impact on the writing industry.