Dorothea Mackellar’s Country

Day 252 of Colourisation Project – January 14

Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.

Born in 1885, Dorothea Mackellar was an Australian poet and fiction writer, best remembered for her iconic poem, My Country. Ingrained into the Australian psyche by a nationalistic education system, most people over the age of 50 would be able to recite at least the second stanza of My Country.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

Described by literary historian, H G Green as a ‘lyrist of colour and light’ in love with the Australian landscape, Mackellar’s reputation as a leading Australian poet rests largely on this one poem written in 1904.

Widely regarded as a statement of our nation’s connection to the land, it was written by a very homesick Mackellar on a visit to England, when she was only 19 years old. First published in 1908 in the London Spectator Magazine, it was originally titled Core of My Heart, and was directly inspired by Mackellar’s experience of life on the land, and her love of the Gunnedah district in New South Wales.

In 1968, Dorothea Mackellar was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her contribution to Australian literature. She died two weeks later on this day, 14 January in 1968, at the age of 83.

Copyright prevents me from reprinting the poem in its entirety, however you can listen to a reading of the poem in this video below.

Who better to recite Mackellar’s famous poem than the legendary poet herself, Dorothea Mackellar!



NOTE: Today’s photo shows Dorothea Mackellar, aged 33, dressed as one of the Graces for Mrs T.H. Kelly’s Italian Red Cross Day tableaux at the Palace Theatre, 20 June 1918.

This entry was posted in Australia, Colorization, Colourisation, Literature, Photography, Women, Women in Literature and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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