Patrick White at Cambridge circa 1932

Patrick White spent his formative years as a young child and adult at Mt Wilson in the 1920s and 1930s

[Mt Wilson] was the one place in Australia [I] dreamed of returning to one day

In 2012, the Mt Wilson and Mt Irvine Historical Society will celebrate the centenary of Patrick White's 28 May 1912 birth date by holding a year-long exhibition at the Turkish Bath Museum at Mt Wilson.

Patrick White spent his formative years as a young child at Mt Wilson in the 1920s and 1930s; the exhibition will highlight the impact of both the Australian natural environment and the influence of working class and wealthy society individuals and families that were to strongly shape him for the remainder of his life.

The story of Patrick White and his family at Mt Wilson in the 1920s and 30s (the so-called 'Golden Age' of Hill Station life in Australia) is rich in historical interest, and yet, remains well hidden to most people.

The project aims to heighten awareness of the formative years of White's life in an easily accessible and understood manner. The exhibition has been specifically designed not to be an academic treatment of his literature, nor does it require an understanding or appreciation of White, or his works.

The goal is to foster a recognition of a vital influence on White that has previously been ignored, or misunderstood, for many years, despite the amount of research undertaken on the most famous and renowned Australian author.

The title of the exhibition is taken from the name White used as a ten-year old. His first published pieces were about Mt. Wilson. The Red Admiral was his favourite butterfly.

The exhibition details the influence of Mt Wilson on Patrick White as an individual and a writer of international acclaim.

Additionally, a 25 minute film of White, and his relationship to Mt Wilson, has been produced and will be shown at the exhibition. The film features interviews with three Mt Wilson residents, Peter Valder, Mary Reynolds and Libby Raines, who all give a unique insight into White as a child.

Dr Bernadette Brennan and Dr Susan Lever, two respected academics from the University of Sydney and the Association for the Study of Australian Literature, and David Marr, White's biographer, are also interviewed in the film and explore Mt Wilson's influence on White's works.

In the film, the well-known Radio National journalist and producer, Rachael Kohn, conducts the interviews and White's first published pieces are read by Huw Evans. Both Rachael and Huw are long time residents of Mt Wilson.

A copy of the DVD can be requested by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A donation to the Mt Wilson and Mt Irvine Historical Society to cover the costs of copying and mailing the DVD is suggested.