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James Martin Devaney, poet, novelist, journalist and teacher, was born on 31 May 1890 at Sandhurst, Victoria, fourth child of Patrick Devaney, a labourer from Ireland, and his native-born wife Mary, née Conroy. Educated at Bendigo and at St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill, Sydney, in 1904 James entered the college's Marist Brothers' juniorate. In 1915 he made his final vows and took the religious name Fabian Joseph. Trained as a teacher, from 1911 he successively served in schools in Sydney, South Australia and New Zealand. Brother Fabian contracted severe tuberculosis and returned to Sydney in 1919 to teach at Darlinghurst. His Superior so relentlessly opposed adequate medical treatment that, driven to the point of despair, Devaney left the Order in July 1921. He recuperated in a sanatorium near Rockhampton, Queensland, and at the Diamantina Hospital, Brisbane. On 29 November 1924 at the Church of Mary Immaculate, Annerley, he married his nurse Phyllis Norah de Winton; they were to remain childless. Living mostly in the Brisbane district, and at times in Sydney and at the Blue Mountains, Devaney established a career as a freelance journalist. Under the pen-name 'Fabian', from 1924 to 1943 he contributed a nature column to the Brisbane Courier (Courier-Mail from 1933) which was syndicated in other Queensland newspapers. He had a long association with the Catholic Leader as editor of its literary page and on occasions was acting-editor. His volumes of verse, Fabian (Melb..
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