Agnes Storrie 1864-1936

Agnes Storrie was born in Glenelg near Adelaide in South Australia in 1864, both her parents having moved there independently several years earlier. She was one of ten children and enjoyed a good education, becoming a member of the Glenelg Literary Society. In 1887 she won the Ministry of Education’s first prize for a short story, Grapes from a Thorn, and second prize for her poem What the Overseer Told Me.

In 1890 she married John Wilson Kettlewell and they had three children, one of whom, a son, died at the age of nineteen. Soon after their marriage she and her husband, who worked there in publishing, moved to Sydney where she continued to write, having her stories and poems published in various Australian newspapers and journals. A volume of her poetry, simply entitled Poems, was published in 1899. She was a co-founder of the Wattle League in New South Wales, a movement with a mission to celebrate Wattle Day as Australia’s national flower. She later became its secretary. One of the species was named after her in recognition of her work. She and her husband also jointly edited the Tourist Guide to China, Japan, islands and parts en route, Australia and Tasmania for the Eastern Australian Steamship Company.

Agnes Storrie died in Sydney in 1936. Her verse has a simple beauty and a gentle, kindly message. Her best known poems are A Confession, Twenty Gallons of Sleep, A Draught, and Australian Scenery.

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