Manning Clark's six-volume series, A History of Australia, is one of the masterpieces of Australian writing. It is also one of the most passionately debated visions of Australian history, in which the struggle to realise an Australian nation is played out on an epic scale.
Born in Sydney in 1915, Manning Clark won scholarships to Melbourne Grammar School and the University of Melbourne. He later attended Balliol College, Oxford, and in the early 1940s taught history at schools in England and Australia. He was then senior lecturer at the University of Melbourne, and later Professor of History in the School of General Studies, Australian National University. In 1972 he became the first Professor of Australian History. He held honorary doctorates awarded by the Universities of Melbourne, Newcastle and Sydney. In June 1975 Clark was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in recognition of his monumental A History of Australia. He was named Australian of the Year for 1980. Manning Clark died in May 1991.