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Author photo. Dorothea Mackellar dressed as one of the Graces for Mrs T.H. Kelly's Italian Red Cross Day tableaux at the Palace Theatre, 20 June 1918 / Glen Broughton

Dorothea Mackellar dressed as one of the Graces for Mrs T.H. Kelly's Italian Red Cross Day tableaux at the Palace Theatre, 20 June 1918 / Glen Broughton

Dorothea Mackellar (1885–1968)

Author of My country

Includes the names: Dorothy MacKellar

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Short biography
Isobel Marion "Dorothea" Mackellar was the third child and only daughter of Sir Charles Kinnaird Mackellar, a physician and Member of Parliament, and his wife Marion Buckland. The family was wealthy and provided governesses for Dorothea's education. She began to write at a young age. Dorothea travelled extensively with her parents, becoming fluent in French, Spanish, German and Italian, and attending some lectures at the University of Sydney. She was able to move freely between intellectual circles in Sydney and family friends in London. In 1908, while in London, she published the poem Core of My Heart, written a few years earlier, in the London Spectator. The second verse of the poem began with the line, "I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains. . ." The poem was re-titled My Country in Dorothea's first book, a collection called The Closed Door, and Other Verses (1911). Thanks to the patriotic fervor of World War I and its frequent inclusion in anthologies, the poem My Country became an Australian classic and has been memorized by generations of Australian schoolchildren. Dorothea's volume The Witch-Maid, and Other Verses appeared in 1914, and more collections of verse followed. Dorothea also wrote several novels, including two with Ruth Bedford, a childhood friend. She also translated little-known Spanish and German poets into English. Dorothea gave up writing in 1926, reportedly due to ill-health. In 1968, two weeks before her death, she was awarded the Order of the British Empire for her contributions to Australian literature.
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