Celebrating the lady who wrote as a man

THE work of Australian author Henry Handel Richardson will live on at Chiltern next week with the town celebrating her birthday with a picnic and readings.

Henry Handel Richardson was the pseudonym for Ethel Florence Richardson, widely known for her works The Getting of Wisdom and The Fortunes of Richard Mahony.

Richardson, who was born in England, lived at Chiltern for 18 months in 1876 and 1877. She was the daughter of a medical practitioner, Walter Richardson.

It’s the 43rd year the Henry Handel Richardson Society of Australia has celebrated Richardson’s January 3, 1870, birthday at Lake View.

Society member Rex Fuge, of Chiltern, said he had been captured by the life of Richardson.

Mr Fuge said it was the time she spent at Chiltern that fired his imagination.

“She said she got her interest in stories standing on the back verandah, throwing a ball against the wall and catching it, making stories up in her head,” he said.

Mr Fuge said the society expected up to 60 people for the birthday picnic on the grounds of Lake View on Thursday next week.

“They come from all over the place. Henry Handel Richardson is worldwide,” he said.

Melbourne author Bruce Steele will launch his book Walter Lindesay Richard MD; a Victorian Seeker, about Richardson’s father, at the picnic.

The winners of the society’s writing competition, Bronwyn Minifie and Ashleigh Mounser, will read part of their pieces.

The tribute begins at 6pm and visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic. Mr Fuge said picnics could be ordered by phoning (03) 5726 1280 or (03) 5726 1467.

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