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Ethel Anderson (née Mason) (16 March 1883 – 4 August 1958) was an early twentieth century Australian poet, essayist, novelist and painter. She considered herself to be mainly a poet, but is now best appreciated for her witty and ironic stories.[1] Anderson has been described as "a high-profile author, artist, art commentator and emissary for modernism".[2]


Ethel Anderson was born in Leamington, in Warwickshire, England of Australian parents.[3] Her family soon moved back to Australia and she grew up in Sydney and at Rangamatty, near Picton, New South Wales. She was educated at the Church of England Girls' Grammar School in Sydney.[4] In 1904 she married Brigadier-General Austin Anderson in Bombay where she had accompanied him on his posting. In 1907 they had a daughter.

At the beginning of World War I her husband was posted to France and Anderson moved to Cambridge, England, where she studied drawing at Downing College and exhibited some of her work. They later lived in Worcestershire, and on her husband's retirement from the army in 1924 the family moved to Turramurra, New South Wales, and Brigadier Anderson became secretary to several State Governors.

In Turramurra, Ethel Anderson founded the Turramurra Wall Painters Union in 1927 and associated with contemporary artists such as Roy de Maistre and Grace Cossington Smith. An exhibition of Roland Wakelin's work was held at her home. She was asked by the rector of St James' Church, Sydney to help decorate the Children's Chapel and designed a mural scheme for it which was executed by the group in 1929. Anne Speer's UNSW MA Research Thesis, "Ethel Anderson: pioneer supporter of Sydney's Post-Impressionists" (1994) documents her work with this group of artists (see SLNSW MLMSS 5951).

On 16 March 1932, she opened the inaugural exhibition of the Modern Art Centre established by Dorrit Black in Margaret Street, Sydney, to teach and promote the Cubist ideas learned during Black's study trip to France.[2] Anderson also wrote about contemporary artists' work for magazines such as Art in Australia and Home, while her poetry and stories were published in The Spectator, Punch, the Cornhill Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Bulletin. Her poetry was influenced by her knowledge of French literature and Modernist work, with considerable formal and metrical experimentation. Her poem The Song of Hagar was set to music by John Antill.

The death of her husband in 1949 meant that she had to support herself, which she did through her writing, serialising her first novel At Parramatta in The Bulletin. She died on 4 August 1958 in Sydney.[4]



  • Squatter's Luck and Other Poems (1942)
  • Sunday At Yarralumla: A Symphony (1947)
  • The Song of Hagar to the Patriarch Abraham (1957)


  • Adventures In Appleshire (1944)
  • Timeless Garden (1945)
  • Joy of Youth: The Letters of Patrick Hore-Ruthven (1950, ed.)


  • Indian Tales (1948)
  • At Parramatta (1956)
  • The Little Ghosts (1959)
  • The Best of Ethel Anderson (1973, ed. by J.D. Pringle)



  • Adelaide, Debra (1986) Australian Women Writers: A Bibliographic Guide, London, Pandora
  • Foott, Bethia, Ethel and the Governors' General, a biography of Ethel Anderson (1883-1958) and Brigadier-General A.T. Anderson (1868-1949), Rainforest, NSW
  • Speer, Anne (1994) Ethel Anderson: pioneer supporter of Sydney's Post-Impressionists.


  1. ^ Adelaide (1986) p. 3
  2. ^ a b Harding, Lesley; Cramer, Sue (2010). Cubism & Australian Art. Carlton, Victoria: The Miegunyah Press. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-522-85673-6. 
  3. ^ Rutledge, Martha (2000). "Anderson, Ethel Campbell Louise (1883 - 1958)". Melbourne University Press. Retrieved 2007-02-10. 
  4. ^ a b Australian Verse: An Illustrated Treasury, edited by Beatrice Davis, State Library of New South Wales Press, 1996

External links[edit]

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138 news items

Chillicothe Constitution Tribune

Chillicothe Constitution Tribune
Mon, 18 Apr 2016 08:56:15 -0700

A birthday party was held for Margaret Ethel Anderson on Saturday at the Baptist Home in Chillicothe where she as lived for about a year. Ethel will turn 103 years old on Tuesday, so on Saturday, many of Ethel's family members and friends came out to ...
North Liberty Leader
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 17:09:10 -0700

... Sunday dinner guests of Clint and Kerrin Andrle and family, in Dallas Center, were Doug and Dawn Zieman, of Postville; Joel and Marna Schutte and family, of Pleasant Hill; Matt and Marci Whitaker and family, of Clive, and Luke Andrle and Ethel ...

Country Guide

Country Guide
Fri, 08 Apr 2016 13:03:56 -0700

Elaine was trying to choose the best looking bananas when Ethel Anderson, one of their widowed farm neighbours, tapped her on the shoulder and made her jump. “I didn't notice you there,” Elaine said. “I'm so sorry dear. I hope you're alright,” Ethel said.

Daily Mail

Daily Mail
Mon, 09 Dec 2013 14:40:12 -0800

A female teacher found guilty of having sex with a 12-year-old student has been sentenced to 38 years in prison today. Married mother Ethel Anderson, 31, was told she was a 'parents' worst nightmare,' on Monday as she was jailed in Tampa, Florida.

Daily Mail

Daily Mail
Wed, 18 Sep 2013 14:03:56 -0700

Married mother Ethel Anderson, 30, from Riverside, Florida, is accused of having a three-month sexual relationship with the boy when she was supposed to be tutoring him. The alleged victim, now 14, who has not been named, testified today that the ...

Daily Mail

Daily Mail
Thu, 05 Apr 2012 12:20:48 -0700

A 'teacher of the year' who was arrested for having a sexual relationship with a 12-year-old boy, pleaded not guilty despite the fact she was secretly recorded admitting the sexual acts. Mango Elementary school teacher Ethel Anderson, from Florida, was ...


Wed, 11 Dec 2013 13:45:00 -0800

"It tears me up to know that his first sexual experiences in life were with you Ethel Anderson a predator," she wrote. "There were many times during this trial I wish I could have gotten up from my seat to scream, yell or slap you. I feel like I could ...

ABC Action News

Bay News 9
Mon, 16 Sep 2013 06:41:58 -0700

Ethel Anderson, 30, is facing lewd battery and lewd or lascivious molestation charges. Investigators said Anderson engaged in sexual activity with the boy between December 2011 and February 2012. Anderson was the victim's fifth grade teacher, according ...

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