Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Glen Phillips


This thesis undertakes an introductory biographical study of Australian writer, Nene Gare, and a critical reading of her work with special reference to The Fringe Dwellers. The author of this study has sought to establish the basis for that novel's positive literary reception. The research has been directed at correcting, in part, the comparative neglect of this writer. Nene Gare's life and work has been surveyed in the belief that this study will contribute to the current knowledge of twentieth-century Australian fiction writers as well as showing the critical reception to Nene Gare's work as a part of Australian writing from the 1940s to the 1980s. The methodology of the study has been to explore Nene Gares work from a biographical point of view, in particular as an example of a woman writer's experience in Australia during this period from 1940 to 1980. For instance, a biographer cannot ignore the social and historical context such as the woman writer's problems in the Sixties of balancing the roles of writing with those of wife and mother. However, it has not been possible to ignore larger social and historical issues such as the problem of racism in Australia which began to surface in the public consciousness and which Gare engaged with in The Fringe Dwellers and other fiction works. Nene Gare, like the author of this thesis is a product of Western Culture and could not adopt an Indigenous Australian way of looking at human history. This thesis, then, presents a reading of Gare's life and work which has endeavoured to demonstrate that she is quite appreciative of Indigenous Australian culture and history. She knew that this does not represent the Western Cultural way of looking at the present or the past in Australia. This thesis has traced Nene Gare's life from when she was a girl growing up in her birthplace of Adelaide, through her early adulthood, following her arrival in Western Australia in 1939, and then goes on to document her meeting with Frank Gare, and their subsequent marriage in 1941. The thesis also records Nene Gare's sojourn in Papua New Guinea, where, in 1946, she joined her husband, who was stationed there as a patrol officer on administrative duties in the Territories. Her later years in Perth, Carnarvon and Geraldton are also shown to have contributed to the background to Nene Gare's writing. Included in this work are critical interpretations, from a feminist/Marxist point of view of The Fringe Dwellers in particular. And details of Gare's general career as a writer. Certain readers views of The Fringe Dwellers are also reported. The latter part of Nene Gare's life has been chronicled up to her death in 1994. The thesis concludes with a confirmation of the significance of this, the first substantial study of the life and work of Nene Gare.