A personalised cigarette lighter, a hand-written calendar and a silk shawl are among personal belongings of Dorothea Mackellar, which have found a new home in Gunnedah.
Susan and Bob Duncan handed over the late poet’s precious items to the Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society on Thursday in the Mackellar Centre.
The Duncans own Tarrangaua, a home built for Mackellar in 1925 on Scotland Island in Sydney’s Pittwater. It is here that the items have been stored after Adrienne Howley gifted them to the Duncans.
“They came to Bob and I from a blind Buddhist nun,” Mrs Duncan said.
“She wrote the Mackellar biography, My heart, my country : the story of Dorothea Mackellar.
“She knew Dorothea and nursed her for the last 11 years of her life.”
Mrs Duncan said she didn't know the Mackellar Centre was in Gunnedah for a number of years and was trying to find somewhere for the items to go.
“We just wanted them to go to a place where they were accessible for people to see them,” she said.
During her visit to Gunnedah in August for the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards, Mrs Duncan said she walked through the Mackellar Centre and realised it was the perfect place.
“I thought, ‘Bingo. This is where they’ll have meaning and be accessible’,” she said.
We are incredibly grateful that these deeply personal objects from Dorothea Mackellar’s life are being passed on to us.- Tom Plevey, Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society
Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society president Tom Plevey said it was an “incredible honour and privilege” to be trusted with the items.
“We are incredibly grateful that these deeply personal objects from Dorothea Mackellar’s life are being passed on to us,” he said.
“They will be a huge drawcard for the centre.”
Founding member of the society and local artist Anne Knight said it was "delightful” to see the items come to rest in Gunnedah.
Mrs Knight said the words of fellow founding member and poet Rosemary Dobson about Mackellar’s most famous poem My Country had always stayed with her.
“She said it was a poem that spoke to all people,” Mrs Knight said.