1860 to 1870s

The following list provides links to texts by well-known and forgotten Australian women writers published in the 1860s and 1870s which are available either to be read online or for download. They are organised alphabetically by author in decade of publication.

Note: For purposes of this list “Australian” is defined loosely and may include authors who wrote books while living in Australia, or who wrote books set in Australia. Many of these text were found in the Colonial Australian Popular Fiction: A Digital Archive (CAPF) and bibliographical details and genre are taken from that archive. (Note: the archivists’ definitions of “romance” might differ from contemporary views.) Links to author names where given are to the CAPF archive, unless otherwise indicated; links to online texts are either to that archive, to pdf versions from the University of Sydney Digital Archive, Project Gutenberg or elsewhere as found. If you find other texts for this list, or better links to any of the books listed below, please let us know via the contact page.


Davidson, Harriet Miller,*** Isobel Jardine’s History (1867) (on Google Play)

Davitt, Ellen, Force and Fraud (1865) – available from Clan Destine Press. Australia’s first mystery novel.

Franc, Maud Jeanne, aka Matilda Jane Congreve (Birth name) and Matilda Jane Evans (married name), Marian, or, the light of someone’s home : a tale of Australian bush life (1868)

Massary, Isabel aka Ramsay-Laye, Elizabeth, Social life and manners in Australia: being the notes of eight years’ experience, Longman, Green, Longman and Roberts, London, 1861, 209 pp.

Parkes, Clarinda** aka Menie Parkes. Poems (1866)

Selby, Elizabeth aka Bess of the Forest, the Lincolnshire Lass, Long Bay (Sydney, 1865?), 64 pp. downloadable as pdf

Spence, Catherine Helen,** Hogarth’s will, 3 vols (Richard Bentley, London, 1865) downloadable as pdf

—–. The Author’s Daughter (1867)

Vidal, Mary Theresa,* Bengala, or, Some Time Ago (1860)


Baker, Hannah Newton, Sketches of Australian Life and Scenery, Sampson Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington, London, 1876, 350 pp. downloadable as pdf

—–. Frank Carey: a story of Victorian life, Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington, London, 1877. downloadable as pdf

Bode, Ettie aka Bode, Mrs. J. A., ‘The Islander‘, in Hopkins, F. R. C (ed.), The Australian Ladies’ Annual, M’Carron, Bird & Co., Melbourne, 1878, pp. 53-63. short story

Caffyn, Kathleen; Caffyn, Mrs Mannington aka Iota (romance) Kooroona: A Tale of South Australia  (1871)

Hill, Cecilia, The Three Troopers‘, in Hopkins, F. R. C (ed.), The Australian Ladies’ Annual, M’Carron, Bird & Co., Melbourne, 1878, pp. 32-43.

Manning, Emily, Cupid on a Swiss Tour: or Pictures among the Snow Mountains. A Story for Girls (1874) Available serialised on TROVE (chapter 1 here but text needs lots of work)

Mathers, Helen, Cherry Ripe! : a romance, George Robertson and Co., Melbourne, 1878, 439 pp.

Meredith, Louisa Ann,  Meredith, L. A., To My Husband‘, in Hopkins, F. R. C (ed.), The Australian Ladies’ Annual, M’Carron, Bird & Co., Melbourne, 1878, pp. 13-14.

Merson, Mary J. aka Mrs M J M, Emily Graham; or, The Dawning of light: a temperance tale, James Curtis, Caxton, Ballarat, 1870, 299 pp.

Scott, Maria Jane.** aka M.I.S.T and Spray (children’s fiction), Not So Ugly (1871)

Stanley, Effie.** The Wilmots: A South Australian Story (1877)


* Links to the Australian Dictionary of Biography online
** Links to AustLit
*** Links to Wiki