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My Country - Dorothea Mackellar

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“I love a sunburnt country,

A land of sweeping plains

Of ragged mountain ranges

Of droughts and flooding rains”

These evocative words are from one of Australia’s most quoted poems. They are from the second verse of My country written by a homesick young Australian, Dorothea Mackellar (1885-1963) in about 1904. 

The poem was first published in the London Spectator on 5 September 1908 titled as Core of My Heart. It reappeared several times in Australia before being included as 'My Country' in her first book, The Closed Door and Other Verses (Melbourne, 1911). This famous poem is believed to have been directly inspired by Dorothea Mackellar's experience of life on the land, and her love of the Allyn River district, NSW.

Core of my heart

Core of my heart - poem
Dorothea Mackellar
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a1605001
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Dorothea Mackellar (1885-1968) is best known as a poet, the author of 'My Country', first published in 1908 under the title 'Core of My Heart'. She also wrote three novels.

Core of my heart -poem p.2
1908
Dorothea Mackellar
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a1605002
About this item: 

Dorothea Mackellar (1885-1968) is best known as a poet, the author of 'My Country', first published in 1908 under the title 'Core of My Heart'. She also wrote three novels.

Core of My heart - poem p.3
1908
Dorothea MacKellar
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Digital ID: 
a1605003

Dorothea Mackellar was born Isobel Marion Dorothea Mackellar at Point Piper in Sydney, NSW on 1 July 1885. Her parents were Sir Charles Kinnaird Mackellar, a notable Sydney physician, and Marion Mackellar (nee Buckland). She had three brothers, Keith, Eric and Malcolm.

From 1898 to 1901, the Mackellars owned Torryburn station, near East Gresford in the Hunter Valley of NSW, during one of the region's driest times. While holidaying at the property the family witnessed the breaking of a drought. In later life, Dorothea Mackellar recalled how, after the rain, the grass began to shoot across the parched, cracked soil of the paddocks and, as she watched from the verandah, the land to the horizon turned green before her eyes.

Dorothea Mackellar's iconic verse is now regarded by many Australians as the universal statement of our nation's connection to the land.

Poem: My Country

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Jessie Hilder, artist, first exhibited at the Society of Artists, Sydney, in 1907 where his watercolours were highly praised. He became a full-time professional artist in 1909 but died from tuberculosis in 1916. (Reference: Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 9).

My Country. A poem by Dorothea Mackellar with decorations and illustrations by J.J. Hilder, Sydney 1915
1915
Dorothea Mackellar and Jessie Jewhurst Hilder
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Digital ID: 
 a665001
About this item: 

Jessie Hilder, artist, first exhibited at the Society of Artists, Sydney, in 1907 where his watercolours were highly praised. He became a full-time professional artist in 1909 but died from tuberculosis in 1916. (Reference: Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 9).

My Country. A poem by Dorothea Mackellar with decorations and illustrations by J.J. Hilder, Sydney 1915, p.2
1915
Dorothea Mackellar and Jessie Jewhurst Hilder
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Digital ID: 
 a665002
About this item: 

Jessie Hilder, artist, first exhibited at the Society of Artists, Sydney, in 1907 where his watercolours were highly praised. He became a full-time professional artist in 1909 but died from tuberculosis in 1916. (Reference: Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 9).

My Country. A poem by Dorothea Mackellar with decorations and illustrations by J.J. Hilder, Sydney 1915, p.3
1915
Dorothea Mackellar and Jessie Jewhurst Hilder
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Digital ID: 
a665003
About this item: 

Jessie Hilder, artist, first exhibited at the Society of Artists, Sydney, in 1907 where his watercolours were highly praised. He became a full-time professional artist in 1909 but died from tuberculosis in 1916. (Reference: Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 9).

My Country. A poem by Dorothea Mackellar with decorations and illustrations by J.J. Hilder, Sydney 1915, p.4
1915
Dorothea Mackellar and Jessie Jewhurst Hilder
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Digital ID: 
a665004
My Country. A poem by Dorothea Mackellar with decorations and illustrations by J.J. Hilder, Sydney 1915, p.5
1915
Dorothea MacKellar and Jessie Jewhurst Hilder
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Digital ID: 
a665005
Transcript: 

Jessie Hilder, artist, first exhibited at the Society of Artists, Sydney, in 1907 where his watercolours were highly praised. He became a full-time professional artist in 1909 but died from tuberculosis in 1916. (Reference: Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 9).

My Country. A poem by Dorothea Mackellar with decorations and illustrations by J.J. Hilder, Sydney 1915, p.6
1915
Dorothea Mackellar and Jessie Jewhurst Hilder
Digital ID: 
a665006
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About this item: 

Jessie Hilder, artist, first exhibited at the Society of Artists, Sydney, in 1907 where his watercolours were highly praised. He became a full-time professional artist in 1909 but died from tuberculosis in 1916. (Reference: Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 9).

My Country. A poem by Dorothea Mackellar with decorations and illustrations by J.J. Hilder, Sydney 1915, p.7
1915
Dorothea Mackellar and Jessie Jewhurst Hilder
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Digital ID: 
a665007
About this item: 

Jessie Hilder, artist, first exhibited at the Society of Artists, Sydney, in 1907 where his watercolours were highly praised. He became a full-time professional artist in 1909 but died from tuberculosis in 1916. (Reference: Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 9).

My Country. A poem by Dorothea Mackellar with decorations and illustrations by J.J. Hilder, Sydney 1915, p.8
1915
Dorothea Mackellar and Jessie Jewhurst Hilder
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Digital ID: 
a665008
About this item: 

Jessie Hilder, artist, first exhibited at the Society of Artists, Sydney, in 1907 where his watercolours were highly praised. He became a full-time professional artist in 1909 but died from tuberculosis in 1916. (Reference: Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 9).

My Country. A poem by Dorothea Mackellar with decorations and illustrations by J.J. Hilder, Sydney 1915, p.9
1915
Dorothea Mackellar and Jessie Jewhurst Hilder
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Digital ID: 
a665009
About this item: 

Jessie Hilder, artist, first exhibited at the Society of Artists, Sydney, in 1907 where his watercolours were highly praised. He became a full-time professional artist in 1909 but died from tuberculosis in 1916. (Reference: Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 9).

My Country. A poem by Dorothea Mackellar with decorations and illustrations by J.J. Hilder, Sydney 1915, p.10
1915
Dorothea Mackellar and Jessie Jewhurst Hilder
View collection item detail
Digital ID: 
a665010

Transcript

Jessie Hilder, artist, first exhibited at the Society of Artists, Sydney, in 1907 where his watercolours were highly praised. He became a full-time professional artist in 1909 but died from tuberculosis in 1916. (Reference: Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 9).

 Reference - Australian Dictionary of Biography