By Sylvia Martin
Mary Fullerton (1868-1946) and Mabel Singleton (1877-1965) met in Melbourne as suffrage and peace activists in Vida Goldstein’s Women’s Political Association. They remained together for thirty-five years as loving friends, raising Mabel’s son born in 1911. Through her literary friendship with Miles Franklin (1879-1954), Mary Fullerton’s last two volumes of poetry were published in the 1940s.
Rescued from near destruction, a box of Mary’s manuscripts eventually made its way to the Mitchell Library. It contained poems she never sent to Miles Franklin. These poignant poems, many dedicated to Mabel, trace a love story that sheds light on how women of the early twentieth century may have understood their love for each other.
‘A fascinating portrait of friendship, love, desire, politics and art – and the blurry, shape-shifting lines between them. I relished this book, rich in scholarship and full of heart.’
Clare Wright, author of The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka and You Daughters of Freedom.
‘“What a story if it could be told” – wrote Mabel Singleton to Miles Franklin late in life, yet she could not bring herself to tell anything of the life she shared with Mary Fullerton, author and poet. Sylvia Martin is a delightfully engaging storyteller, weaving narration, quotation and intellectual acumen with an easy warm style. We learn, we feel, we question.’
Sara Hardy, author of A Secretive Life
About the Author
Sylvia Martin is the author of three biographies of women neglected in Australian literary and cultural history. Ida Leeson: A Life, was awarded the 2008 Magarey Medal for Biography. Her memoir, Sky Swimming: Reflections on Auto/biography, People and Place was published in 2020.
Published by Queer Oz Folk, 2021. 228 pages. ISBN 978-0-6487603-8-2
A$35 (A$30 to AQuA members), plus A$7 postage within Australian.