Frank Hardy was born in 1917 to a working-class Catholic family near Warrnambool, Victoria and left school at 13. He found his most formative education in the miseries of unemployment and poverty during the Great Depression. Having joined the army in 1940, one of Hardy's sergeants is reported to have said: 'If you write down some the stories you tell on beer nights you'd make a fortune.' The rest is history. A communist since the age of 17, a pot stirring advocate of worker's rights and Aboriginal welfare, a dedicated punter, Frank Hardy picked a winner when he discovered he could write. His novels and plays include Power Without Glory, his first novel, The Hard Way, The Four Legged Lottery, The Yarns of Billy Borker, The Unlucky Australians, The Outcasts of Foolparah, But The Dead Are Many, Who Shot George Kirkland, Mary Lives, Faces in the Street and Great Australian Legends. He died in 1994, aged 76, with a form guide in his lap.