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Sun-Herald, 22 November 1953, p.51
Mary Elwyn Patchett Mary Elwyn Patchett i(A62499 works by) (a.k.a. M. E. Patchett; Mary Osborne Elwyn Patchett; Mary Patchett)
Born: Established: 2 Dec 1897 Sydney, New South Wales, ; Died: Ceased: 1989
United Kingdom (UK),
Western Europe, Europe,

Gender: Female
Expatriate assertion Departed from Australia: 1931
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Patchett, an only child, grew up on a cattle station near Texas in Queensland, enabling her to portray Australian animals realistically in their natural habitat and set her stories authoritatively. After working for five years as a features journalist for the Sun group of newspapers, she left to work in England as a freelance writer in 1931, returning for holidays. Her first published book Ajax the Warrior (1953), originally broadcast in 1952 on the BBC Children's Hour, was largely autobiographical. She continued to write occasionally for the show over the years, with her stories appearing in children's publications such as the BBC Children's Hour Annual, Look and Learn, Chucklers Annual, and A Bumper Book of Girls' Stories (1978). Mysterious Pool appeared first as a short story in the magazine John Bull.

Patchett's varied interests were reflected in her writings. She can be considered one of the pioneers of Australian juvenile science fiction writing because she was inspired by the idea of space flight and a member of the British Interplanetary Society. Her activities on both sides of the theatrical curtain are reflected in Evening Star, and her ownership of a beauty salon at one stage informed The Lee Twins and Your Call Miss Gaynor.

With her works translated into Arabic, Finnish, Norwegian, German, Afrikaans, Dutch, French, Swedish, Polish and Japanese, she was considered to be internationally the most widely read Australian children's author of the time.

Most Referenced Works


  • Debra Adelaide in Bibliography of Australian Women's Literature 1795-1990 (1991) gives David Bruce as another writing name for Patchett. Extensive searches have not located any titles by a David Bruce that could be attributed to her.

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Wild Brother London : Collins , 1954 Z830651 1954 single work novel young adult
1955 highly commended CBCA Book of the Year Awards Book of the Year Award

Known archival holdings

Albinski 176-8
Last amended 2 Dec 2016 09:05:18
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