THE connection between Dorothea Mackellar’s famous poem My Country and the Hunter Valley will be celebrated in Paterson this month with a display dedicated to her life and influences.
Mackellar’s father, Sir Charles Mackellar, bought a property named Torryburn, just outside Gresford, in 1898 as a family country retreat.
It was during one of her many visits as a teenager that she witnessed the breaking of one of the country’s longest droughts, in about 1900.
In an interview in 1964, Mackellar said she danced in the rain after the drought at her ‘‘parents’ property out of Maitland’’.
‘‘I was on the verandah writing a long letter to a friend in England. The paddock was cracked from the drought, a dark colour. As I wrote the letter, the land to the horizon became green,’’ she said.
The centenary of the poem’s publication in Australia is being marked by the Paterson Court House Museum with a dedicated display every Sunday in September from 11am to 3pm.
Honorary curator Val Anderson said some memorabilia would be on display for the first time and visitors could listen to the only recording of My Country made by Mackellar, at the age of 72 in 1958.
The history of Torryburn, now a thoroughbred stud owned by John Cornish and his family, is set out in a commemorative book put together by the Paterson Historical Society.