Dominic Paul McGuire (1903–1978) was educated at Adelaide’s Christian Brothers College and the University of Adelaide.

He married Frances Margaret Cheadle (1900–1995) in 1927. Margaret had worked as a research biochemist at the University of Adelaide but moved to London for literary work with Paul in 1928. In England they were influenced by the counter-cultural circle of the writers around GK Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc, and a Catholic militancy grounded in scriptural reflection as advocated by Joseph Cardijn, the Belgian priest who founded the Young Christian Worker movement.

They returned to Adelaide in 1932, heralded as successful authors, particularly on the strength of Paul’s poetry, and with the Dominican priest James O’Dougherty, founded the Catholic Guild for Social Studies to raise awareness of Catholic social teaching. They contributed to English-language literature on Catholic Action and continued to write, moving towards more conservative politics in reaction to the Spanish Civil War and Cold War concerns about ‘atheistic materialism’.

Detective novels paid the bills, while a blend of history and public comment attracted the attention of decision-makers in the United States and Australia. Drawn into public life in the 1950s as adviser to Prime Minister RG Menzies, and director of the Call to the People of Australia for spiritual renewal, Paul became Australian delegate to the United Nations (1953–54), minister to Italy (1954–57) and ambassador (1957–59).  

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