# 41341

"Sydney PARTRIGE" [PARTRIDGE, Kate, a.k.a. Mrs Hal E. STONE, 1871-1953]

Life’s wallaby / by Sydney Partrige

$375.00 AUD

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Norwood, S.A. : Printed and published by Sydney Partrige, [1908]. First edition. Octavo (190 x 120 mm), original pictorial wrappers (lightly marked, chips to head and foot of spine); [104] pp, headings printed in red; fore-edges uncut, contents excellent, with the contemporary ownership inscription of D[oris] Egerton Jones, Adelaide-born feminist novelist and playwright.

This early Australian private press publication is a collection of short stories by New Zealand-born Australian writer Kate Margaret Partridge (1871-1953). It was issued under the male nom de plume ‘Sydney Partrige’, like much of the writer’s other literary output, which included two completed novels (one, The Education of Clothilde, written in partnership with ‘Cecil Warren’, a.k.a. Leonora Polkinghorne, South Australian feminist, appeared in serialised form), collections of verse, and contributions to various periodicals. Life’s Wallaby was published in Adelaide in 1908 by her husband, Hal E. Stone, during the brief period when Stone was establishing his Koolinda Press in Norwood. It is quite likely the striking cover graphic was designed by one or both of the Partridges.

“Gossip”, in a review of the book in the Sydney Stock and Station Journal, 12 May 1908, writes under the misapprehension that the author is a male – ‘Good man, Sydney’, the reviewer declaims. The review is generally positive, but “Gossip” lavishes special praise on one story in particular – The Metempsychosis of John Wedderburn – which is commended as a fine example of the horror genre, ‘worthy of Edgar Allen Poe’. At the end of the review readers are advised that they can write off to ‘Sydney Partridge’ at 90 Edward Street, Norwood, to secure a copy of the book for 1s. 2d., including postage.

Kate Partridge was, like her Adelaide friend and frequent collaborator Leonora Polkinghorne, a feminist and suffragist. An example of her attitudes is delivered bluntly in one of her articles published in The Worker in 1908 under her usual pseudonym: ‘… no woman of powerful intellect should ever marry unless she would be content to sink herself in her children, in doing which she gains nothing unless her desire for domesticity is stronger than her genius.’

Doris Egerton Jones (1889 – 1973) was a talented author, writing her first play at the age of 14 and her first novel the year after. In 1909 she enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Adelaide, and after graduating in 1911, enrolled in a Bachelor of Laws, despite women not being permitted to practice in South Australia at the time. Jones wrote a letter of protest to the Premier John Verran, and an enabling law was passed in 1911, although Jones had to then abandon her studies due to illness. Jones continued to publish works featuring a strong heroine as protagonist, and published under her maiden name after marriage.

It is clear the Adelaide women Jones and Partridge shared similar views about women’s place in society, which lends this particular copy of Life’s Wallaby to have a quite special association.