To celebrate Children’s Book Week, we are featuring notable Australian children’s authors who have unique manuscript collections at the State Library of New South Wales.
Ethel Turner (25 January 1873 – 8 April 1958) was an English-born Australian novelist and children’s literature writer. Her best-known work is her first novel, Seven Little Australians (1894), which is widely considered a classic of Australian children’s literature.
The book is about a family of seven children growing up in Australia and together with its sequels The Family at Misrule (1895) and Little Mother Meg (1902) deal with the lives of the Woolcot family, particularly with its seven mischievous and rebellious children, in 1880s Australia.
Seven Little Australians was originally Six Pickles, one more child was added to become seven. The manuscripts reflect these changes, are written on scraps of paper and the reworking of the text can be seen in various stages.
By the time of her death in 1958, Ethel Turner had published 27 novels as well as numerous short stories and poems.