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Ethel Anderson (née Campbell) (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
  • 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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118 news items

Crow River Media

Crow River Media
Sun, 26 Apr 2015 09:18:45 -0700

He is also survived by his sisters, Verna Stoehr, Alice Holquist, Ethel Anderson and Evelyn Henderson; sister-in-law, Kaye Schwandt; nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Elaine; daughter, Gail Schwandt; brothers, Roland ...

Chillicothe Constitution Tribune

Chillicothe Constitution Tribune
Wed, 22 Apr 2015 13:03:45 -0700

Margaret Ethel Anderson celebrated her 102nd birthday on Saturday at the Baptist Home where she has lived for about two weeks now. Ethel's family and friends gathered in her room to talk and eat cake. Both of her children helped her celebrate her birthday.

Nottingham Post

Nottingham Post
Tue, 14 Apr 2015 08:32:22 -0700

Ethel Anderson, who has helped to run the Chase Community Lunch Club at the centre, said: "I remember it being built and even then, local people worked alongside the experts. "Local people have benefited from activities and training held at the centre ...

Nottingham Post

Nottingham Post
Sun, 29 Mar 2015 22:53:44 -0700

Mr Oliver's niece Ethel Anderson has many memories of her uncle. The 65-year-old of St Ann's said: "He was a fantastic family-orientated person as well as a very nice man who had a lot of time for everyone. "He is greatly missed by family and members ...

ABC Action News

ABC Action News
Mon, 09 Dec 2013 14:31:41 -0800

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla - A Hillsborough County judge told Ethel Anderson she 'groomed' a student 'for her own deviant' purposes before sentencing her to 38 years behind bars. Anderson, an award winning teacher, was found guilty of nine counts of ...

Daily Mail

Huffington Post
Wed, 18 Sep 2013 06:42:27 -0700

And yes, I did it in an inappropriate way," Ethel Anderson, who was 29 at the time the abuse began, said in court Tuesday. According to Bay News 9, prosecutors obtained more than 230 pages of sexually explicit text messages between the teacher and ...

ABC Action News

Bay News 9
Tue, 17 Sep 2013 08:02:54 -0700

Ethel Anderson, 30, is facing lewd battery and lewd or lascivious molestation charges. She is accused of having a sexual relationship with a boy who was 12 at the time. By Erin Maloney, Reporter Last Updated: Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 9:19 AM ...
WTSP 10 News
Thu, 01 Mar 2012 06:57:35 -0800

Hillsborough deputies arrested the 5th grade Language Arts teacher, Ethel Anderson, 29, at her home in Riverview Wednesday night, accusing her of having oral sex and inappropriately touching a 12-year-old boy while at her home. The boy was not one of ...

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