Happy birthday Dorothy Wall, creator of Blinky Bill

imageDorothy Wall, author, illustrator and creator of the much-loved children’s book, Blinky Bill, was born on 12 January 1894 in Wellington, New Zealand, and first migrated to Australia in 1914. She died on 21 January 1942 at her home in Cremorne and was buried in the Northern Suburbs Cemetery.

  • Her entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography states that, at one time, she was a resident in the Blue Mountains at Warrimoo. (I wonder if her homes are still standing and whether either has a plaque?)

imageIn 1985, Australia Post issued a commemorative stamp honouring the character Blinky Bill.

The text of Blinky Bill and its sequels are now out of copyright and are available for free download as ebooks from Project Gutenberg Australia:

I remember having Blinky Bill read to me as a child but, I confess, I can’t remember much of the story. (Mary Grant Bruce’s novels, which I read for myself, made a greater impression.)

Have you read any of Wall’s work. What did you think?

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Happy Birthday Ethel (Henry Handel) Richardson

henry handel richarson

Ethel Richardson by Rupert Bunny, 1920s nla.pic-an8136809

The Australian author, Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson – better known by her pen-name, Henry Handel Richardson – was born on this day, 3 January, in 1870.

In 1988 the Australian Dictionary of Biography published a piece on Richardson’s life by Dorothy Green, a version of which is now available online here. The piece is strangely dated in both language and values, with its references (emphasis?) on the achievements of the men in Richardson’s life and the defensive (dismissive?) references to speculation of ‘deviance’ in Richardson’s relationships with women. It does, however, mention the key events of her life, including her expatriate stays in Germany and England, her novels and her interest in music, so it still works as an introduction to the novelist.

Richardson died in 1945 and her novels, now out of copyright, have been made available free online as part of Project Gutenberg Australia.

Some have also been recorded and are available as Mp3s through Librivox.

Ethel would be 145 if she were still alive today.

  • Snowy River Man – rural romance

  • Country Secrets – anthology

  • By Her Side – romantic suspense

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