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The Australia Council for the Arts wishes to acknowledge the passing of philanthropist Mick Dark and express its deepest sympathy to his family and to the wider Varuna community, who will be saddened by this loss.

Michael (Mick) Dark was born in 1929 to Eleanor Dark, one of Australia’s most notable writers, and Dr Eric Dark. It was Mick who decided that Varuna, their family home in Katoomba, should become a gift to Australian literature in memory of his parents.  In 1989 the Eleanor Dark Foundation was formed and Mick gave the property to the Foundation.

Mick was the Life President of the Varuna Board and played an active role in the continuing life of Varuna, the Writers’ House until his death in Katoomba on Saturday.

Due to this extraordinary act of philanthropy, Varuna has become one of Australia’s most eminent residential programs for writers.  It has been the breeding ground for many of Australia’s most successful books and the nursery for developing some of the country’s best talent. Varuna is currently one of the Australia Council’s multi-year funded organisations.

To find out more about Varuna and the Dark family, go to:

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Brianna Roberts


(02) 9215 9030


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