Biography Louise Mack

Louise Mack

photo of Louise Mack
  • Time Period1874 - 1935
  • Place
  • CountryAustralia

Poet Biography

LOUISE MACK was born in Hobart, Tasmania, in 1874 to an Irish couple, the Reverend Hans Mack and Jemima James, from Downpatrick and Armagh, respectively. Louise was the first-born daughter, the seventh of thirteen children. She was a classmate of ETHEL TURNER at Sydney Girls' High School and like Ethel, edited a school magazine. They were in fact rival editors, Louise editing the 'Gazette' while her more famous classmate edited the 'Iris'. After finishing school she spent a short time as a governess but her real talent rested in writing, contributing poems to the 'Bulletin' at a very early age before taking on the latter's column 'Sydney Women's Letter' using a pseudonym, 'Gouli-Gouli'. 'The World is Round', her first novel, was published in London in 1896. By this time Ethel Turner had become one of her close friends, acting as a bridesmaid at her marriage to an Irish barrister, John Creed, in that same year.

The following year, Sydney publishers Angus and Robertson published Louise Mack's 'Teens: A Story of Australian Schoolgirls', illustrated by Frank Mahony. This book was published in answer to Ward, Lock's publication of Ethel Turner's 'Seven Little Australians' which had first appeared 3 years earlier, with much success. Both books were to a degree autobiographical, being based on their authors' experiences of family and school life. Louise journeyed to London in 1901 and authored 'An Australian Girl in London', following that up with several adult novels before moving to Florence, Italy. There she took on the editorship of the 'Italian Gazette' and eventually became the first female war correspondent for Lord Northcliffe's London papers, the 'Daily Mail' and 'Evening News'. By this time she was stationed in Antwerp, sending off on the spot accounts of the advancing German occupation, often living disguised as a housemaid. She was eventually forced into escaping to Holland and later told of her adventures in 'A Woman's Experiences in the Great War'.

Louise returned to Australia in 1916, using a lecture tour to raise money for the Red Cross. She had grown to enjoy travelling in foreign parts but eventually settled down in Sydney where she married Allen Leyland, in 1924. Following his early death eight years later, Louise resumed her travelling while maintaining a steady supply of contributions to newspapers and magazines throughout Australia and New Zealand. Two further books came from her pen - one adult novel and 'Teens Triumphant' - before she passed away in 1935.