VIDAL, Mary Theresa (1815-1869)


VIDAL, Mary Theresa (1815-1869)
early novelist
daughter of William Johnson and his wife, Mary Theresa, daughter of P. W. Furse, was born in 1815. She was a sister of William Johnson, author of Ionica, who took the name of Cory in 1872. She married the Rev. Francis Vidal and came to Australia in 1840. Her husband had an extensive parish to the south-west of Sydney. In 1845 her first book Tales for the Bush was published at Sydney, and soon afterwards she returned with her husband to England. Ten other volumes of tales and novels were published between 1846 and 1866 in which the author sometimes made use of her experiences in Australia. Some of these books ran into more than one edition. She died in 1869, and was survived by her husband, four sons and a daughter (E. Morris Miller, The Australasian Book News, March 1947, and the Eton Register).
Mrs Vidal's stories are almost unprocurable in Australia. They appear to have been of an improving character and to have been not without merit. She may be called the first Australian woman novelist.
Information from H. M. Green who got in touch with one of Mrs Vidal's descendants; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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