Colour, Light and the Complexity of Modernity: The Life and Work of Dorothea Mackellar.
Dorothea Mackellar was an early 20th Century Australian poet who wrote the poem "My Country". First published in 1908, the second verse contains words and phrases that are still repeated today. Words such as "sunburnt country"; "land of sweeping plains"; "droughts and flooding rains" and “wide brown land” are often heard or read in everyday speech and writing. Yet little is known of her life and literary output and the wider corpus of her poetry and fiction has passed into obscurity. My thesis aims to redress this neglect: to describe and analyse her poetry thematically and to show it was far from being just the work of an old-fashioned nationalist. Dorothea Mackellar’s lyrics were vibrant, lively and showed a burgeoning appreciation of global contemporary literary trends — including modernism. An accurate and holistic account of Mackellar’s life is also absent from the limited record : this thesis will examine key aspects of the poet’s life too, through the prism of her verse.
I successfully completed my M.Ed. (Teacher-Librarianship) at Charles Sturt in 2005. This was my first foray into online learning and I have to say it was every bit as engaging as studying on-campus elsewhere for my B.A./Dip.Ed. and Honours in Australian Literature. For my Honours I compared the careers of four prominent women in the arts: two painters and two poets – one of whom was Dorothea Mackellar. I chose C.S.U. to complete my Doctorate to focus solely on this important literary contributor to Australian culture. My earlier experience at Charles Sturt ensured I felt confident studying off-campus, even though I live in country Victoria!
Australian Poetry Journal Vol.5, Issue 1, 2015 ‘About Town’