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Rosemary Wighton Rosemary Wighton i(A8844 works by) (a.k.a. Rosemary Neville Wighton)
Born: Established: 6 Jan 1925 Adelaide, South Australia, ; Died: Ceased: 7 Feb 1994 Adelaide, South Australia,
Gender: Female
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BiographyHistory

Rosemary Wighton was the daughter of Arthur Blackburn and his wife Rose (Kelly). She went to The Wilderness School, then graduated from the University of Adelaide with a BA Hons, tutoring in English in 1946 and tutoring part-time from 1950-58. She married Dugald Wighton in 1948, and they had five children.

With Max Harris she established the first Australian Book Review, and edited it 1961-71, including in it serious reviews of children's books. She wrote on Australian children's literature, publishing her pioneering work Early Australian Children's Literature in 1963. She lectured in the English Dept of the Salisbury CAE (1971-79) and was Senior Lecturer 1977-79.

Rosemary enjoyed a distinguished public career in service to a number of South Australian bodies including the State Theatre Company, the SA Planning Commission and the Board of Governors of the Adelaide Festival of Arts. She was Deputy Director-General of the Department of Community Welfare (1984-1990), followed Deborah McCulloch (qv) in the role of Adviser to the SA Government on Women's Affairs (1979-1984) serving under three different Premiers, chaired the Management Committee of the Women's Information Switchboard, chaired the Literature Board of the Australia Council (1984-1988) and chaired the Writers' Week Committee 1976-90. She was awarded an AO in 1990. She wrote for her children and grandchildren the story of the Blackburn family, Peeling the Onion: The Story of a Family (1993), and was working on her autobiography when she died of cancer in February 1994.

Most Referenced Works

Affiliation Notes

  • South Australian

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Australian Book Review ABR 1961 Kensington Park : ABR Publications , Z887646 1961 periodical (587 issues)

The Australian Book Review (ABR) was established in 1961 to provide a forum for the review of new Australian books. Editors, Max Harris and Geoffrey Dutton, planned to 'notice' or review every new Australian book, but this desire proved difficult to realise due to a rising number of books and the difficulty of defining what an Australian book was. Nevertheless, ABR employed a range of reviewers to provide general readers with authoritative assessments of important books. These reviewers included Frank Kellaway, Olaf Ruhen, Vale Lindsay, Tom Shapcott, Brian Dibble, Bruce Beaver and Don Watson.

Rosemary Wighton became co-editor in 1962 after acting as associate editor for a short time. She and Harris remained co-editors of ABR until 1973 when the magazine ceased operation after finding it increasingly difficult to meet production costs. An attempt was made by the newly formed National Book Council (NBC) to buy ABR, but, due to legal technicalities, this was not possible at that time. In 1978, John McLaren convinced the NBC to revive ABR and the magazine was adopted as the official organ of the NBC.

John McLaren was appointed editor, proceeding in a manner similar to the first series by attempting to review all Australian books; but he also faced problems of space and definition. In 1986 Kerryn Goldsworthy replaced McLaren as editor, and introduced a stronger concentration on women's issues. Louise Adler followed Goldsworthy as editor in 1988 and attempted to provoke debate by commissioning controversial reviews, but her term concluded within twelve months. Rosemary Sorenson was appointed editor in 1989, bringing a lighter tone and a desire to attract a new readership with younger writers. Sorenson was assisted by major sponsorship from Telecom, allowing her to fund a series of essays. While ABR had always published features on various topics, the sponsorship gave the essays a more significant place. The essay feature has continued with similar sponsorship from the National Library of Australia and La Trobe University.

Helen Daniel edited ABR from 1994 until her death in 2000. She lifted the profile of the magazine by organising several series of public forums and encouraged new writers with competitions for fiction and reviewing. During this time, the NBC wound down its operations after a significant proportion of its government funding was withdrawn. This had an immediate effect on the stability of ABR, forcing the magazine to separate from its parent body and publish independently.

Peter Rose was appointed editor in January 2001 and has since expanded the scope of ABR by actively commissioning poetry and fiction. Rose also developed a sponsorship scheme to support the work of ABR. In 2002 La Trobe University became the Chief Sponsor of ABR, with the National Library of Australia as its National Sponsor. Three years later Flinders University became another key sponsor and in 2007 the wealth management group Ord Minnett took on the role of exclusive corporate sponsor.

2021 recipient The Copyright Agency Cultural Fund Cultural Fund Grants for Organisations Commentary, theatre and visual arts reviews
2020 recipient The Copyright Agency Cultural Fund Cultural Fund Grants for Organisations Two grants, in May (Commentary on cultural, political and social issues) and in July (ABR Arts – Theatre and visual arts reviews).
y separately published work icon Australian Book Review ABR 1961 Kensington Park : ABR Publications , Z887646 1961 periodical (587 issues)

The Australian Book Review (ABR) was established in 1961 to provide a forum for the review of new Australian books. Editors, Max Harris and Geoffrey Dutton, planned to 'notice' or review every new Australian book, but this desire proved difficult to realise due to a rising number of books and the difficulty of defining what an Australian book was. Nevertheless, ABR employed a range of reviewers to provide general readers with authoritative assessments of important books. These reviewers included Frank Kellaway, Olaf Ruhen, Vale Lindsay, Tom Shapcott, Brian Dibble, Bruce Beaver and Don Watson.

Rosemary Wighton became co-editor in 1962 after acting as associate editor for a short time. She and Harris remained co-editors of ABR until 1973 when the magazine ceased operation after finding it increasingly difficult to meet production costs. An attempt was made by the newly formed National Book Council (NBC) to buy ABR, but, due to legal technicalities, this was not possible at that time. In 1978, John McLaren convinced the NBC to revive ABR and the magazine was adopted as the official organ of the NBC.

John McLaren was appointed editor, proceeding in a manner similar to the first series by attempting to review all Australian books; but he also faced problems of space and definition. In 1986 Kerryn Goldsworthy replaced McLaren as editor, and introduced a stronger concentration on women's issues. Louise Adler followed Goldsworthy as editor in 1988 and attempted to provoke debate by commissioning controversial reviews, but her term concluded within twelve months. Rosemary Sorenson was appointed editor in 1989, bringing a lighter tone and a desire to attract a new readership with younger writers. Sorenson was assisted by major sponsorship from Telecom, allowing her to fund a series of essays. While ABR had always published features on various topics, the sponsorship gave the essays a more significant place. The essay feature has continued with similar sponsorship from the National Library of Australia and La Trobe University.

Helen Daniel edited ABR from 1994 until her death in 2000. She lifted the profile of the magazine by organising several series of public forums and encouraged new writers with competitions for fiction and reviewing. During this time, the NBC wound down its operations after a significant proportion of its government funding was withdrawn. This had an immediate effect on the stability of ABR, forcing the magazine to separate from its parent body and publish independently.

Peter Rose was appointed editor in January 2001 and has since expanded the scope of ABR by actively commissioning poetry and fiction. Rose also developed a sponsorship scheme to support the work of ABR. In 2002 La Trobe University became the Chief Sponsor of ABR, with the National Library of Australia as its National Sponsor. Three years later Flinders University became another key sponsor and in 2007 the wealth management group Ord Minnett took on the role of exclusive corporate sponsor.

2021 recipient The Copyright Agency Cultural Fund Cultural Fund Grants for Organisations Commentary, theatre and visual arts reviews
2020 recipient The Copyright Agency Cultural Fund Cultural Fund Grants for Organisations Two grants, in May (Commentary on cultural, political and social issues) and in July (ABR Arts – Theatre and visual arts reviews).
Last amended 21 May 2008 13:18:49
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