Biography of Jack Davis

Jack Davis was an Australian poet and playwright who fought for Indigenous rights in Australia throughout his lengthy career as both an activist and an artist. He wrote many poems and plays throughout his career and is celebrated as an innovative theatrical voice, who infused compelling dramas with social and political critique.

Davis lived for a time on the Moore River Native Settlement in childhood, as well as the Brookton Aboriginal Reserve, and worked as a stockman and itinerant worker. These early life experiences exposed him to the racist systems and attitudes prevalent in Australia at the time. All the while, he began to work as a political organizer as well as a poet and playwright. His most famous poem is a tribute to John Pat, an Aboriginal boy who was killed by the West Australia Police. Throughout the 1960s, he became the director of the Aboriginal Centre and was the first chair of the Aboriginal Land Trust.

Davis' plays include Kullark, The Dreamers, No Sugar, Honeyspot, Moorli and the Leprechaun, Burungin, Plays from Black Australia, and In your Town. In 1977, he was awarded the British Empire Medal and was inducted into the Order of Australia in 1985. In 1989, the Australian government awarded him one of the very first Creative Fellowships, in honor of his exceptional contribution to the arts in Australia.

Study Guides on Works by Jack Davis

No Sugar is a play written by Jack Davis, published in 1986. It takes place during the Great Depression in Western Australia and follows an Aboriginal family, the Millimuras, as they navigate life on corrupt reservations and contend with the...