Ion Idriess (1889—1979) is one of Australia's best-loved writers, with fifty-six books to his credit and millions of copies sold. When he returned from the First World War he wrote The Desert Column, about his experiences with the 5th Light Horse. Prospecting for Gold was his first major successful work; it immediately sold out and was reprinted constantly in the following years, as were many of his books. Idriess spent much of his life travelling throughout Australia, collecting material for his true-life stories, including Flynn of the Inland, The Red Chief and Nemarluk. He was awarded the O.B.E. in 1968 for his contribution to Australian literature.