Mary Theresa Vidal

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Mary Theresa Vidal (23 June 1815 – 19 November 1873) was a British–Australian writer described as Australia's first female novelist.


Mary was born in Devon, England, the daughter of Britton William Johnson and his wife, Mary Theresa, daughter of P. W. Furse. The poet William Johnson, who took the name of Cory in 1872, was a younger brother. In 1840 she married the Rev. Francis Vidal and came with him to Australia. Her husband had an extensive parish to the south-west of Sydney, at Penrith.

In 1845, Vidal's first book, Tales for the Bush, was published in Sydney, apparently intended as an instructive work for her servants.[1] Soon afterwards she returned with her husband to England. Ten other volumes of tales and novels were published between 1846 and 1866. She sometimes made use of her experiences in Australia, especially in Bengala, or Some Time Ago (1860). Some of these books ran into more than one edition. She died in 1873 and was survived by her husband, six sons and a daughter.


  • Tales for the Bush. Sydney: D. L. Welch, 1845
  • Winterton: A Tale. London: Rivington, 1846.
  • Esther Merle and Other Tales. London: J. Hughes, 1847
  • Cabramatta and Woodleigh Farm. London: Rivington, 1850.
  • Home Trials. London: Masters, 1858.
  • Ellen Raymond. London: Smith, Elder, 1859.
  • Bengala, or Some Time Ago. London: Parker, 1860.
  • Florence Temple. London: Smith, Elder, 1862.
  • Lucy Helmore. London: J. Morgan, 1863.
  • Trials of Rachel Charlcote. London: J. Morgan, 1864.
  • Deb Clinton, The Smugglers Daughter. London: MacIntosh, 1866.


  1. ^ Adelaide, Debra (1988). Australian women writers: a bibliographic guide. Pandora. ISBN 978-0-86358-148-9.

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