Artists - Ethel Turner
Photograph P1/Turner, Ethel
Author Ethel Turner (1870-1958) wrote Seven Little Australians at Inglewood in Lindfield (now Woodlands, Killara) in 1893, after her family moved from the city suburb of Paddington to rural Lindfield in 1891. Ethel initially objected to the move, recording in her diary:
'We have decided to go to Lindfield. I named it the Sepulchre but Mother objected so I shall call it the Catacombs. It will be like being buried alive to live in a quiet little country place after the bustle and excitement of town life' (5 Sept 1891).
However, she soon 'liked the place awfully. It is a pretty square house with a long balcony and verandah, honeysuckle and white roses creeping up' (29 Sept 1891). The garden was full of roses and they had an orchard. The suburban bushland surrounds quickly became important in her stories. On her 21st birthday, Ethel wrote in her diary, 'Seven L. Aust. – sketched it out.' (24 January 1893)
Turner was very prolific during her time in Lindfield, writing three novels as well as newspaper articles and short stories between 1891 and 1894. The Library holds Ethel Turner’s original manuscript of Seven Little Australians, which has been in print continuously since it was published in 1894.
Meg, Pip, Nell, Judy, Bunty, Baby, Gwendoline, Meg Judy Nell Madge paties
Seven Six Six Pickles
"A nice tea for a fellow to sit down to" no I’ll ask if we can have some jam Pip jam or cake, nothing but stingy bread and butter."
"Well Pip you ate all that tin of raspberry at breakfast, & mother says she really –
"Oh dry up Meg, I know all about it, pass us
around the same board and the young ones partake of the same dishes & seven have their parts in the conversation right noble
But given a very particular and rather irritable father & 7 children with excellent lungs and tireless tongues, what could you do but give them separate rooms to take their meals in?
C.W. had in addition to this devising had thick felt put over the swing door upstairs but the noise used to float down to the dining room in a cheerful unconcerned manner despite of it
Seven Pickles Little Australians
There was the usual babble going on over tea Captain Woolcot , the father of the seven had certainly had a felt lining put on the swing door upstairs but really nothing on earth would keep in really deaden the fearful babble that prevailed at nursery tea every day. It was a nursery without a nurse Zoo so that partly accorded for it.perhaps for Meg the eldest pickle was only 14 and could not be expected to be much of a disciplinarian. The A slatternly but good natured girl of 18 housemaid was supposed to combine the offices of nursery maid too as at & housemaid but there was so much to do in her second capacity that the first suffered considerably. Even poor little Gwendoline used to get a nasty polishing up in the morning being only fifteen months old and sometimes She used to lay the nursery meals when none of the little girls could be found to help her & she used to bundle on the clothes of the two youngest in the morning except for that the seven had to manage for themselves.
The mother, you ask?
Oh she was only twenty one, just a lovely, laughing faced girl whom they all adored & who was very little steadier or and very little steadier & very little more of a housekeeper than Meg. Only Gwendoline the youngest of the seven brood was hers but she treated all the lot just the same, seemed just as fond of the other six as of it or treated the baby as if it was some it more as a if it was a very entertaining kitten than a real live baby & her very own. Indeed at Misrule – that is what the Woolcots & everyone the name their house always went by – that baby seemed a gigantic joke to everyone. In it The child father Captain always laughed when he saw it passed it in the air & then asked someone to take it quickly. The children dragged it all over the country with them, dropped it countless times, forgot its pelisse on wet days, muffled it up on when it was hot, gave it the most fearful things to eat, & yet it was the healthiest, prettiest & most sunshiny little baby that ever sucked on a wet fat thumb.
It was never called Baby either though that was the special name of the next youngest; The Captain Woolcot had called him said "Hello, is this the General" when the nurse had first put the little red staring eyed morsel in his arms, & the General was what the name had come into daily use though I believe at the fine christening service the curate did say something about Francis Rupert Burnand Woolcot.
Baby was four and was a little soft fat thing with pretty cuddlesome ways, great blue eyes that she had a very good idea of using, and a great & great smiling eyes & lips very kissable when they were free from jam she possessed the greatest admiration for Judy She had a weakness though however for making the General cry or she would really have been almost a model child. She used to had been found innumerable times pressing its poor little chest "to make it squeak" & even pinching its tiny arms, because she liked to listen to the or pulling its innocent nose just for the strange pleasure of hearing the yells of despair it instantly set up.
Captain Woolcot ascribed the [indecipherable] tendency to the fact that the child had once had a dropsical looking toy woolly toy that from which the utmost pressure would only elicit the faintest possible squeak; he said it was only natural that now she had something amenable to squeezing that she should want to utilise it.
Bunty was six & was very fat & very lazy. He hated scouting at cricket, he loathed the very name of a paper chase & as for running an errand – why, before anyone could finish saying tea was wanted from the store, he would have utterly disappeared. He was a rather small for his age and I don’t think had ever been seen with a clean face. Even at church, though the immediate front turned to the minister might be just passable, the nes people in the next pew used to always had an uninterrupted view of the black rim where washing operations had left off & of a dingy neck.
Judy came next ,- I am introducing you to them.
The next on the list – I am going from youngest to eldest you see – was what Pip The "show" Woolcot as Pip the eldest boy used to say. Nell was just ten & had a little graceful fairylike little figure, great clusters of gold hair in clustering in wonderful waves & curls round an almost perfect little face with soft dreamy eyes & a little rosebud of a mouth. You have seen those exquisite child sweet faces on some Raphael Tucks Christmas cards ? I think their artists must just have dreamt of Nell & then paint reproduced their vision imperfectly. She was not conceited either; - her family took care of that, Pip would have nipped such a weakness very sternly in it earliest bud, but someway if there was a pretty ribbon going begg to spare or a breadth of bright material just enough for one little frock , it fell as a matter of course to her.
Judy was only a year older but was the greatest contrast imaginable. Nellie moved in rather slowly about & her every movement was graceful
&: there was hardly ever a time when she would not have made a lovely picture: Judy I think was never seen to walk, she used to jump & if she didn`t dash madly to the place she wished to get to she would progress by a series of jumps or odd little skips ; at in the middle of a nursery meal she generally had to take a couple of runs round the table as a sort of safety valve ; her veins, I verily believe ,contained quickersly instead of blood for a more active, restless little mortal never wore frock.
She was very thin slight as might be expected; & had long slim legs & had a small eager face with very bright dark eyes & a mane of very untidy curly dark hair that was the trial of her life. She was Without doubt she was the very worst of the seven probably because she was the cleverest; her brilliant inventive powers were the led them plunged the whole seven into I ceaseless scrapes, & though she often bore the brunt of the blame with equanimity , they used to turn round not unfrequently & upbraid her in suggesting the mischief. Pip as She had been christened Judith Helen so you can understand which in no way that accounts for Judy rather extraordinary name. Her chin & neck but then [indecipherable] are unaccountable things. Bunty said it was because she was always popping & jerking