MARTIN, Mrs Catherine Edith Macauley (1847-1937)

MARTIN, Mrs Catherine Edith Macauley (1847-1937)
was born in the Island of Skye in 1847 or early in 1848. Her father, whose name was Mackay, brought her to South Australia when a child, and in 1874 she was living at Mount Gambier. In that year she published at Melbourne a volume of poems The Explorers and other Poems, by M. C., the verse of a well-educated woman, though seldom or never rising into poetry. She came to Adelaide and did journalistic work, including a serial story, Bohemian Born. For a period she was a clerk in the education department. In 1890 she published anonymously An Australian Girl, a novel which was favourably reviewed and in 1891 went into a second edition. This was followed in 1892 by The Silent Sea, published under the pseudonym of "Mrs Alick MacLeod". In 1906 appeared The Old Roof Tree: Letters of Isbel to her Half-brother, a series of essays in letter-form. Some are supposed to be written from London, others from a cathedral town, while others describe a tour on the continent. In 1923 appeared The Incredible Journey, the story of an aboriginal woman's journey across desert country to recover her son. Mrs Martin died at Adelaide on 15 March 1937 in her ninetieth year. She married Frederick Martin who predeceased her.
Mrs Martin was never as well known as she deserved to be, partly because her work was always published anonymously or under a pseudonym. An Australian Girl is an interesting book written by a woman of thoughtful and philosophic mind, and The Incredible Journey, with its sympathetic appreciation of the point of view of the aborigines, is among the best books of its kind in Australian literature.
Information from H. Rutherford Purnell, the Public Library of South Australia; Catherine Helen Spence, An Autobiography, p. 55; Death notice. The Advertiser, Adelaide, 17 March 1937.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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