Barbara Hanrahan local artist

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Barbara Janice Hanrahan (1939-1991), writer and artist, was born on 6 September 1939 in Adelaide, only child of South Australian-born William Maurice (Bob) Hanrahan (d. 1940), labourer, and his wife Rhonda (Ronda) Gwenlythian, née Goodridge, commercial artist.

Barbara was raised by her mother, her grandmother Iris Goodridge, and her great-aunt Reece Nobes in the working-class suburb of Thebarton. She was educated at Thebarton Technical School, Adelaide Teachers’ College, and the South Australian School of Arts and Crafts (later the South Australian School of Art).

Several of her prints are on display in the Hamra Centre Library.

The death of her grandmother in 1968 prompted nostalgia for her Adelaide childhood, resulting in the memoir The Scent of Eucalyptus (1973).

Barbara went on to write 14 more books:

  • Sea Green (1974)
  • The Albatross Muff (1977)
  • Where the Queens All Strayed (1978)
  • The Peach Groves (1979),
  • The Frangipani Gardens (1980)
  • Dove (1982)
  • Kewpie Doll (1984)
  • Annie Magdalene (1985)
  • Dream People (1987)
  • A Chelsea Girl (1988)
  • Flawless Jade (1989)
  • Iris in Her Garden (1991)
  • Michael and Me and the Sun (1992)
  • Good Night, Mr Moon (1992).

Borrow these books from the specially curated Barbara Hanrahan Collection in our library collection.

Happiest when making prints, she created more than 400 works, which are held in most major Australian galleries. The Barbara Hanrahan Fellowship for South Australian writers was established in her memory and a building at the University of South Australia’s City West Campus was named after her.

Learn more through the Barbara Janice Hanrahan Biography.

The Scent of Eucalyptus

Barbara Hanrahan writes of her childhood and early years in growing up in Rose Street, Thebarton and describes the people and places of the era.

A blend of fantasy and realism, it is a powerful, lyrical story of a child's rites of passage through a world where the family home, its garden, and the three women who preside over it, are vital and compelling participants in the shaping of a child's rituals of discovery and awareness.

This book is available to borrow or download the ebook from the West Torrens library.


Index to Barbara Hanrahans’ The Scent of Eucalyptus

This little book was compiled in the first instance for my own reference, following my usual habit of analysing and making notes on the books that I read. The recent interest which has been aroused in the work of Barbara Hanrahan has inspired the preparation of these notes in the form of a booklet so that the material may be made available to a wider public.

Barbara Hanrahan has written of her childhood and early years in Thebarton in The Scent of Eucalyptus, her style being literary, with a happy unconcern about factual accuracy, which one might expect (?) in an autobiography or a history. This is not to say that hers is not a good book. It is a masterpiece of style, of evocation; it is magic, it is life, it is Barbara. And it may be enjoyed for all these things. But the questions will always persist. What was the real name of this one or that one? Were the police barracks at the end of Rose Street? People will want to know that answers to these and other questions. A few answers will be found in this booklet.

I, too, lived in Rose Street. Barbara calls me "The Professor," and describes my spastic brother, Donald, in some­what unflattering terms. (I should perhaps add that Donald laughed when he read what Barbara had said about him, and was not in the least offended.) This index is for those readers who want to know a bit more than Barbara has told them. It does not claim to be a work of scholarship. It is nothing more than scattered note s. I hope readers of The Scent of Eucalyptus will find this useful. - GLEN RALPH

Download Index to Barbara Hanrahans The Scent of Eucalyptus


The Scent of Eucalyptus Walk: an historical walk of Barbara Hanrahan's Thebarton

An update of a booklet compiled in 1994 by the Friends of the Thebarton Library, Thebarton Historical Society & University of South Australia, follow this walk to visit places which were important to Barbara as she grew up in the 1940's and early 1950's.

The walk seeks to give you an impression of how the suburbs of Thebarton and Mile End would have appeared in those days. Discover for yourself what is the scent of Eucalyptus.

Download The Scent of Eucalyptus Walk, update 2021