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Sarah Campion (International) assertion Sarah Campion i(A5155 works by) (birth name: Mary Rose Coulton) (a.k.a. Mary Rose Alpers)
Born: Established: 1 Jun 1906 Eastbourne, East Sussex,
United Kingdom (UK),
Western Europe, Europe,
; Died: Ceased: 22 Jul 2002 Auckland, Auckland (Region), North Island,
New Zealand,
Pacific Region,

Gender: Female
Visitor assertion
Heritage: English
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Sarah Campion was born Mary Rose Coulton on 1 June 1906 to Rose Dorothy Ilbert and then-famous medieval scholar and controversialist, George Gordon Coulton. She worked as a teacher in England, Canada and Scotland, before travelling to Germany to teach English to German Jews in 1933. In 1937 she was expelled by the Nazis. She then travelled in Canada, the USA, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

Mary Rose escaped the Victorian tyrannies associated with her father's name by adopting the pseudonym Sarah Campion, a composite derived from a North Country grandmother and the much admired poet Thomas Campion (1557-1620). This escape from patriarchal oppression, experienced by Campion and her sister Bridget, found currency in her left-wing political activism, fuelled by the racism she encountered in Nazi Germany. For example, her anti-racist stance saw her participate in the 1950s Aldermaston marches in England. In late age she was still active in the Springbok and anti-Vietnam War demonstrations in Auckland. In addition she was co-founder of the NZ associations, CARE (Citizens' Association for Racial Equality) and HART (Halt All Racist Tours).

Another passion for Campion was her deep interest in Australia. In 1939 she stayed for approximately nine months on the Atherton Tablelands in northern Queensland. Here she spent her time as cook at 'Wondecla', the property of Major James Douglas Henry. This brief sojourn inspired her six Australian novels, including Turn Away No More (1940), Dr. Golightly (1947), Come Again (1951) and, her most significant work for Australian literary history, the Burdekin Trilogy of Mo Burdekin (1942), Bonanza (1942) and The Pommy Cow (1944). She returned to England at the outbreak of war, doing a variety of jobs.

In September 1943 Campion arrived in Canada to care for her ailing parents. She worked in the Toronto Public Library in the daytime where she consumed the scant collection of Australian materials voraciously. At night she worked in a steam-laundry which exposed her to the Polish migants' thought-provoking and ribald commentaries which she likened to her experiences in the Queensland bush.

On her return to London, following the publication of The Pommy Cow, Campion besieged Australia House for the passage home. However, her bids to return to North Queensland were unsuccessful, yet hope for escape to the Antipodes presented itself in the form of the New Zealand writer Antony Alpers, biographer of Katherine Mansfield. The couple spent their time together writing in postwar London and in February 1949 Campion gave birth to their son, Philip. As a toddler he attended the double wedding of Sarah and Antony and Bridget and her groom. The Alpers settled in Auckland in 1952.

After the end of her marriage in 1958 Campion returned to tour Australia. However, parental guilt drove her back to Aotearoa where Philip could be closer to his father.

Apart from several overseas trips Sarah Campion lived as an active citizen in Aotearoa till she suffered a major stroke in 1994. She died on 22 July 2002.

Most Referenced Works

Last amended 23 Sep 2008 15:59:55
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