Thursday, 9 October 2014

Madoline (Nina) Murdoch (1890 - 1976) - Australian WW1 poet

With many thanks to Phil Dawes for bringing Nina Murdoch to my attention.  I have now added her to my list - thank you Phil.

Poet, writer, teacher, journalist, broadcaster

Madoline, known as Nina, was born on 19th October 1890 in North Carlton, Melbourne.  She was the third daughter of John Andrew Murdoch who was a legal clerk, and his wife Rebecca, nee Murphy, who was a teacher.

Nina was brought up in Woodburn, New South Wales, where the family moved.   Nina first attended the school where her mother taught, then attended Sydney Girls’ High School from 1904 until 1907 where her interest in poetry and literature and her writing career began.

When she left school, Nina became a teacher at Sydney Boys’ Preparatory School.   In 1913 she won the “Bulletin” Prize for a sonnet written about Canberra.  She worked for the “Sydney Sun” as one of the very first female reporters and in 1915 her book of poems “Songs of the Open” was published.

In 1917, Nina married James Duncan Mackay Brown.  James was a former school teacher who had lost an arm.  Nina travelled the world, wrote travel books, worked for various newspapers and gave travel talks on the wireless – radio 3LO, which was later taken over by ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company) when she ran their Children’s Corner.  Nina also published novels under the pen name of ‘Manin’. She cared for her mother, who was blind and lived to the age of 105, and her husband, who was asthmatic, who died in 1957.

Nina died in 1976 in Camberwell, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

“The Bulletin” was an Australian weekly culture and politics magazine published in Sydney from 1880 until 2008 having been founded by journalists Jules Francois Archibald and John Haynes.  They published around 80 of Nina’s poems.

Portrait of Nina by John Campbell Longstaff (1861 - 1941), an Australian artist and official WW1 war artist.

Sources:  Wikipedia and

With thanks to Phil Dawes for bringing Nina to my attention.