Wednesday, July 01, 2015

That Australian life - the remarkable story of Jessie Litchfield

Very interesting piece on the ABC's Radio National Earshot program -
Holding a tiger by the tail—Jessie Litchfield.
It tells the story of Darwin based author and journalist Jessie Litchfield. She settled in the Northern Territory in 1908, and grew to love its frontier, masculine atmosphere and its unique mix of cultures. Jessie developed close contacts with local Aboriginal people. In 1930 she became the editor of the Northern Territory Times—one of very few women in Australia to hold such a position. Jessie’s news sense and her unbeatable local contacts and knowledge meant she continually scooped her male competitors with breaking news. Throughout her life she was a passionate defender of the Territory and its peoples.

Listening to the program, I found the descriptions of Territory life as interesting as Jessie's story. She was obviously a remarkable woman. She was not the only female country editor but, as Rod Kirkpatrick (the doyen of  the history of Australia's county press) notes, she was unusual in gaining the position in direct competition in a male world.    

You can listen to the program on-line; link above. I think, I'm not sure, that it's available internationally. Perhaps you might advise me if its not. You can also find out more about her from Barbara James' Australian Dictionary of Biography entry.

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