The official biography of Australian poet and writer Dorothea Mackellar, author of the celebrated poem ‘My Country.’
'I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains…’
Though many Australians know lines from Dorothea Mackellar’s classic poem ‘My Country’ by heart, very little has been written about the poet’s extraordinary life. From her childhood and youth in Sydney’s Point Piper, to discovering her love for the Australian landscape on the family farm in Gunnedah, Dorothea engaged with the intellectual elite of Sydney and abroad as she embarked on a decades-long literary career that saw her linked to some of the leading lights of her day.
A keen traveller, Dorothea ventured as far as Japan, Egypt and the Caribbean between longer stints in Europe. In the heart of literary London, she socialised with Joseph Conrad and Ezra Pound. At home, she counted among her friends Ether Turner, the famed war correspondent Charles Bean, and journalistic royalty in the form of the Fairfax family. Never before published letters and diaries reveal her unorthodox relationship with her best friend and collaborator Ruth Bedford.
Battling against a masculine tradition of Australian bush poetry led by Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson, Dorothea Mackellar boldly carved out a place for herself, leaving an indelible mark on the Australian imagination. Now, for the first time, the poet's unconventional life story is told – a hidden gem of Australian history, and a tale of one woman’s extraordinary passion for her poetry, her family and her country.