Dorothea Mackellar

By July 17, 2018 Education

Isobel Marion Dorothea Mackellar better know as Dorothea Mackellar was a famous Australian poet and fiction writer and was born on the 1st of July 1885 to father- physician and parliamentarian Sir Mackellar and mother- Marion Mackellar at Dunra, on Point Piper in Sydney. She grew up with two older brothers (Keith and Eric) and one brother (Malcolm) that was younger than her. Dorothea died at the age of sixty two after suffering an extended period of sickness. Dorothea’s poetry is regarded as bush poetry which was inspired by her experience on her brothers’ farms near Gunnedah, North-West New South Wales.

Dorothea got an education through home schooling because she travelled extensively with her parents. She became fluent in French, Spanish, German and Italian, because she had became fluent in these languages she was able to interpret for her family when her family and her went overseas. She also attended some lectures at the University of Sydney.

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Dorothea Mackellar was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her contribution to Australian literature. She died two weeks later after receiving this award and was buried with her father and family in Waverley Cemetery overlooking the open ocean. A memorial to Dorothea stands in ANDAC Park in Gunnedah and a federal electorate covers half of Sydney’s Northern Beaches and a street in Canberra suburb of Cook are named in honour of Dorothea. On Australia Day the 26th of January 1983 at statue was unveiled in Gunnedah to remember Dorothea Mackellar.

As well as the unveiling there was an exhibition of a series of 34 water colour paintings by Jean Isherwood illustrating Dorothea’s most famous poem, My Country. The watercolours were eventually put on permanent display in the Gunnedah Bicentennial Regional Gallery. Jean set about painting a series of oils based on the watercolours which were exhibited at the Artarmon Galleries in Sydney in 1986. In 1984, Gunnedah resident Mikie Maas created the ‘ Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards,’ which has grown into a nationwide poetry competion of all Australian school students.


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