It is rare for the original manuscript of a nineteenth-century Australian novel to survive, especially a novel as significant as Ethel Turner’s children’s story, Seven little Australians. We see the author drafting and redrafting her text until it is in a form suitable to be sent to the publisher. Originally to be called ‘Six Pickles’, one more child was added and it became Seven little Australians.
The manuscript is written on scraps of paper, some being the reverse of pages
from the literary magazine, Parthenon, which Ethel Turner founded and
edited with her sister, Lilian. Written over ten months, the manuscript was sent
by Turner to the Melbourne office of the British firm, Ward, Lock & Bowden, in
late 1893. It was accepted within a week. It had a spectacular success when
published in 1894 when Turner was only twenty-four years old. It has been in
print ever since, longer than any other Australian children’s book, and has sold
well over two million copies.
Display item Seven little Australians