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Dorothea MACKELLAR - Australian Poet - born 1 July 1885

Journal by ngairedith

Dorothea MacKellat OBE was born on the 1st July 1885 which makes today her 126th birthday ...
She died 14 January 1968

She was born in Sydney, the only daughter of noted physician and parliamentarian Sir Charles Mackellar, (Charles was born in Sydney, the only son of Dr Frank Mackellar (a physician from Dundee, Scotland), and his wife Isabella, ROBERTSON (widow of William McGarvie)

Although raised in a professional urban family, Dorothea's poetry is usually regarded as quintessential bush poetry, inspired by her experience on her brothers' farms near Gunnedah, North-West New South Wales.

Her best-known poem is * My Country, written at age 19 while homesick in England and first published in the London Spectator in 1908 under the title Core of My Heart. The second stanza of this poem is amongst the most well-known in Australia. Four volumes of her collected verse were published:
The Closed Door (published in 1911, contained the first appearance of My Country under its present name)
The Witch Maid, and Other Verses (1914)
Dreamharbour (1923); and
Fancy Dress (1926)

In addition to writing poems, Mackellar also wrote novels, one by herself, Outlaw's Luck (1913) and at least two in collaboration with Ruth Bedford. These are The Little Blue Devil (1912) and Two's Company (1914). According to Dale Spender, little has been written or is yet known about the circumstances behind this collaboration.

In the New Year's Day Honours of 1968, Dorothea Mackellar was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her contribution to Australian literature. She died two weeks later.

She is buried with her father and family in Waverley Cemetery overlooking the open ocean.

A memorial to Mackellar stands in ANZAC Park in Gunnedah. A federal electorate covering half of Sydney's Northern Beaches and a street in the Canberra suburb of Cook are named in her honour. (The Canberra suburb of McKellar was not named after her, but is often assumed to have been.)


* MY COUNTRY
- by Dorothea Mackellar
- written in 1958

LISTEN to Dorothea read the first verse

The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded lanes.
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins,
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I lover her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!

A stark white ring-barked forest
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes,
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the warm dark soil

Core of my heart, my country !
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold-
Over the thisty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land-
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand-
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thought will fly

Surnames: MACKELLAR MCGARVIE ROBERTSON
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by ngairedith Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2011-06-30 17:14:53

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