Dorothea Mackellar

Isobel Marion Dorothea Mackellar (1885 - 1968)

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Isobel Marion Dorothea (Dorothea) Mackellar
Born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australiamap
Ancestors ancestors
Sister of [half]
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in Paddington, New South Wales, Australiamap
Profile last modified | Created 15 May 2014
This page has been accessed 3,833 times.

Categories: This Day In History July 01 | This Day In History January 14 | Australian Notables | Australian Poets | Australian Fiction Writers | Officers of the Order of the British Empire | Waverley Cemetery, Bronte, New South Wales | Nominated Profiles.


H. M. Green describes Dorothea Mackellar [1] OBE as "a lyricist of colour and light in love with the Australian landscape". She never thought of herself as a poet. She wrote, "I have written from the heart, from imagination, from experience some amount of verse." Dorothea Mackellar was an Australian poet and writer. Her poem[2] My Country is one of the best known of all Australian poems.



My Country

The love of field and coppice
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft dim skies
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.


I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!
by Dorothea Mackellar

Two Verses


Dorothea Mackellar was another wonderful Australian poet who loved Australia and the Australian countryside. Her poem "My Country" is one of the best known of all Australian poems. The first verse is about England. It was originally written as a letter to her English cousins. The other verses are about Australia. The second verse is the most well known. Most Australians, I am sure, could recite this verse. As young children we were taught this poem at school.

Dorothea Mackellar was born in 1885 in Sydney. Her parents were Sir Charles Mackellar, a Doctor and a member of Parliament, and Marion Buckland, whose father was Thomas Buckland, a merchant, pastoralist and banker. Dorothea was educated at home and travelled the world with her parents, although she sometimes attended lectures at the University of Sydney. She could speak several languages; French, Spanish, German and Italian. Although she was raised in Sydney she spent a lot of time at her brothers' farms near Gunnedah, in the north-west of New South Wales. Dorothea wrote about the Australian bush and countryside. She was known as a bush poet. The inspiration for her poetry was from the times spent at her brothers' farms, which was a far cry from her every day life in Sydney.


Dorothea was very young when she began writing. Magazines published her poems and compositions, for which she was also paid. Dorothea and her family were visiting London, waiting for her brother to return from the Boer War, when they heard the terrible news that he had been killed in South Africa. Dorothea was homesick and to hear of her brother's death made it worse. She missed Australia, so she wrote [3]"Core of my Heart". [4] Dorothea's poem "Core of My Heart" wasn't seen in print until the 5th September 1908 issue of the "London Spectator". It was seen a number of times in Australia before Dorothea renamed it [5]"My Country" in her first book, [6] "The Closed Door, and Other Verses" in 1911. She published a number of poems and novels between 1914 and 1926.[7]"The Witch-Maid, [8] and Other Verses" and two more volumes of poetry and a novel, "Outlaw's Luck" (London). In 1912 and 1914 Dorothea and her friend Ruth Bedford wrote two novels. During World War I "My Country" became one of the best known Australian poems.


Dorothea Mackellar helped form the Sydney Publishers, Editors and Novelists Club in 1931. She was also Honorary Treasurer of the [9]Bush Book Club of New South Wales. She was one of the founding members of the Sydney P.E.N. Club. Dorothea's parents lived with her as they got older so she could care for them. She stopped writing after her father's death in 1926. Her mother died in 1933. In later years Dorothea suffered ill health. She spent ten years in a Randwick nursing home. After Dorothea's younger brothers died she was able to keep both of the family homes; Cintra, Darling Point, and a house at Church Point on Pittwater. In 1968 Dorothea was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her contribution to Australian Literature. [10] She died in the Scottish Hospital, Paddington on 14 January 1968, after she had a terrible fall at home. Dorothea Mackellar's service was held at St Mark's Anglican Church, Darling Point. After she was cremated, Dorothea was laid to rest in [11] Waverley Cemetery, in the family vault. Dorothea Mackellar never married, although she was engaged twice. After her death, her estate was valued for probate at over $1,580,000. The Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards were established [12]in 1984, which is now an Australian wide poetry competition for all school students in Australia.

?? ?? ??


  1. Australian Government - It's an Honour - MACKELLAR, Isobel Marion Dorothea Award - The Order of the British Empire - Officer (Civil) Date granted - 01 January 1968 Citation - Literature
  2. Images Australia - My Country by Dorothea Mackellar (1885 - 1968)
  3. State Library of New South Wales - My Country - Dorothea Mackellar original Manuscript c 1908
  4. Curio - Core of my heart Dorothea Mackellar 1908 Manuscript, Permanent loan from the Estate of Dorothea Mackellar, 1970 MLMSS 1959 / Box 16 / Item IV / C
  5. Fairfax Digital - A draft of Dorothea Mackellar's My Country shows the lines she later changed to - And orchids deck the tree tops/ And ferns the warm dark soil.
  6. State Library of Victoria - Digitised Resources - The closed door, and other verses / by Dorothea Mackellar
  7. Wikisouces - The Witch Maid, and Other Verses by Dorothea Mackellar 1914 LONDON AND TORONTO J. M. DENT & SONS LTD. NEW YORK: E. P. DUTTON & CO.
  8. Trove Digitised Newspapers - Dorothea Mackellar poetry A catalog of poetry by Dorothea Mackellar 76 items created by - Perry Middlemiss on 2011-08-06
  9. State Library of N.S.W - The Book Club of New South Wales records 1909-1959
  10. This day in History - January 14, 1968 Celebrated Australian poet Dorothea Mackellar dies
  11. Find a Grave - Dorothea Mackellar Birth - July 1 1885 Death - Jan 14 1968 , Burial - Waverley Cemetery Bronte New South Wales, Australia Plot - Section 6, 832-833 Vault Memorial# 8744
  12. The oldest and largest poetry competition for school children in Australia

See also

  • Pittwater Online - Dorothea Mackellar, writer, 1927 by photographer May Moore. Image No: a4220076. Courtesy State Library of NSW
  • Dorothea - Dorothea Mackellar OBE A poetess, and third generation Australian who loved Australia and the Australian countryside. She is best remembered for her poem, "My Country"
  • AUSTLIT - Biography
  • The Encyclopedia of Woman and Leadership - MacKellar, Isobel Marion Dorothea (Dorothea) (1885 - 1968)
  • Dictionary of Biography - Mackellar, Isobel Marion Dorothea (1885–1968) by Beverley Kingston This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, (MUP), 1986
  • Wikipedia - Dorothea Mackellar
  • Wikipedia My Country - My Country is an iconic patriotic poem about Australia, written by Dorothea Mackellar (1885-1968) at the age of 22 while homesick in the United Kingdom.
  • Visit Gunnedah - Dorothea Mackellar Memorial - The Dorothea Mackellar Statue is a prominent feature within Anzac Park, situated across the road from the Water tower Museum and The Visitors Information Centre.

More Genealogy Tools

Sponsored Search

Searching for someone else?
First: Last:

No known carriers of Dorothea's ancestors' mitochondrial DNA have taken an mtDNA test and no close relatives have taken a 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA "Family Finder" test.

Have you taken a DNA test for genealogy? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.

Images: 6
I love a sunburnt Country
I love a sunburnt Country

Dorothea Mackellar
Dorothea Mackellar

Dorothea Mackellar
Dorothea Mackellar

Dorothea Mackellar
Dorothea Mackellar

Dorothea Mackellar
Dorothea Mackellar

view all


On 31 Oct 2017 at 11:46 GMT Anne (Turner) Tichborne wrote:

On 21 May 2015 at 14:27 GMT Sheila (Stafford) Anonymous wrote:

What a wonderful profile with such interesting reading

On 5 Jun 2014 at 01:42 GMT Maggie N. wrote:

Holy Cow. The sky is the limit with you , my dear freind ! Beautiful !

On 30 May 2014 at 01:19 GMT Paula J wrote:

This is an amazing profile!!

Dorothea is 39 degrees from Rosa Parks, 25 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 16 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

M  >  Mackellar  >  Isobel Marion Dorothea Mackellar