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Artists - Turner and Anderson

Many artists and writers were attracted to the bush surrounds and the serenity of the Upper North Shore. These included Ethel Turner (Lindfield), Ethel Anderson (Turramurra), Grace Cossington-Smith (Turramurra), Lionel Lindsay (Wahroonga), Margaret Coen and Douglas Stewart (St. Ives), Sydney Ure Smith (Wahroonga) and photographer Harold Cazneaux (Roseville).

Author Ethel Turner (1870-1958) wrote Seven Little Australians at her home, Inglewood, in Lindfield (now Woodlands, Killara) in 1893. The State Library of New South Wales holds the original manuscript of this children’s classic.

Writer and artist Ethel Anderson (1883-1958) and members of the Turramurra Wall Painters group painted the murals in the Children’s Chapel of Sydney’s St. James Church in 1929.

Ethel Turner

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.

Seven Little Australians

Transcript: 

 “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 

Seven little Australians
1893
Ethel Turner
Digital ID: 
2104001
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Transcript: 

"around the same board and the young ones partake of the same dishes & I can have their parts in the conversation right nobly 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 little Australians
1893
Ethel Turner
Digital ID: 
2104002
View collection item detail
Transcript: 

Seven Pickles Little Australians

Chapter 1

There was the usual Babel 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 babel that prevailed at nursery tea every day. It was a nursery without a nurse Too so that partly accounted 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 housemaid girl of 18 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. 

Seven little Australians
1893
Ethel Turner
Digital ID: 
a2104003
View collection item detail

Ethel Anderson

Author, poet and artist Ethel Campbell Louise Anderson, nee Mason (1883-1958) was born in England to Australian parents and brought up in Sydney. In 1904, she married Major A.T. Anderson in Bombay and the couple lived in India until 1914 with their daughter Bethia (born 1907). After 10 more years in England, the family settled in Sydney's North Shore in 1924.

Ethel Anderson's Turramurra home, Ball Green, became something of an open house for artists and writers including neighbour and fellow artist Grace Cossington-Smith. Although often remembered for her work as an artist, Anderson was also an accomplished essayist and poet. Working from her home in Turramurra, she contributed to various periodicals in England, America, India and Australia as well as publishing several volumes of verse, some of which was later set to music.

The Library has an extensive collection of material relating to Ethel Anderson's life and work, including photographs of Anderson with her family and at work with the Turramurra Wall Painters.

In 1929 Ethel Anderson and members of the Turramurra Wall Painters group painted murals on the walls of the Children’s Chapel in the crypt of St. James Church, Sydney. The Turramurra Wall Painters, founded by Anderson, included her daughter Bethia Anderson, Roland Wakelin and Roy de Maistre. The murals on the wall of the Children's Chapel depict scenes from the carol 'I saw three ships'. Ethel Anderson wrote that the group's aim was to 'give the tiny room the brilliance of a page from the Book of Kells'.

Ethel Anderson always had a passion for life, art and literature. As her hearing deteriorated in old age, she began using a large silver ear trumpet, often adorned with colourful pieces of fabric to match her dresses. She died on 4 August 1958 at her home in Turramurra.

 

Design for children's chapel in St. James' Church, 1929, by Ethel Anderson
Digital ID: 
a2006001u
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Silver ear trumpet belonging to Ethel Anderson
Digital ID: 
a2006002u
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Silver ear trumpet and scarf belonging to Ethel Anderson
Digital ID: 
a2006003u
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Made possible through a partnership with Geoffrey & Rachel O'Conor