Australian poet, Les Murray, passes away aged 80

Regarded as one of the leading Australian poets of his generation, Les Murray has passed away at his nursing home in Taree, New South Wales. He was 80 years old.

Early life and education

Born in Nabiac in 1938, Murray had a rather tumultuous upbringing. His mother died when he was just a teenager and he was forced to care for his father after he collapsed shortly after. He studied at the University of Sydney where he completed a Bachelor of Arts degree and started working at the Australian National University as a professional translator.


Murray began to focus on writing poetry as a full-time occupation in 1971. By this stage, he was married and had travelled throughout Europe, living in Wales and Scotland during this time. Throughout his poetry career, he published approximately 30 volumes of poetry. Much of his work focused on the history of Australia, specifically the area in which he grew up – the north coast region of NSW. Some of his greatest work included Waiting for the Past, On Bunyah and Killing the Black Dog. A collection of his finest works was released in 2018.


Murray received an Order of Australia and was listed as one of Australia’s 100 National Living Treasures. He also won the Petrarch Prize in 1995 and the highly acclaimed T.S. Eliot Prize in 1996. Despite such achievements, he was always quite uneasy with receiving awards.

Murray passed away peacefully and is survived by his wife and five children.

Christian Woods
Christian Woods
Christian is a morning reporter and technology columnist for Best in Australia. Christian has worked in the media since 2000, in a range of locations. He joined Best in Australia in 2018, and began working in Melbourne in 2019.
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