Patsy Adam-Smith: Contribution as Australian Author

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      Patsy Adam-Smith, (Patricia Jean) (1924-2001) Australian author best known for her popular historical and autobiographical works. Established her name with Hear the Train Blow (1964), an account of her childhood in rural Victoria, where her father worked as a railway fettler and her mother as a station mistress. Two subsequent books, There was a Ship (1967) and Goodbye Girlie (1994), have extended her life story covering her time with the Voluntary Aid Detachment during World War II, her six years as the first woman articled as an able seaman on an Australian coastal trader, and her later experiences living in the outback. Her time working in adult education in Hobart and as a manuscripts field officer for the State Library of Victoria led to an interest in writing the life stories of others, especially of people working in extreme conditions.

      These include Moonbird People (1965), Outback Heroes (1981) and The Shearers (1982). She has also produced several works relating to Australian war-time experiences, including The Anzacs (1978), Australian Women at War (1984) and Prisoners of War: From Gallipoli to Korea (1992). In addition, she has written or edited several histories and other studies of the railways of Australia as well as works based on Tasmanian history; such as Heart of Exile (1986), on the Irish political prisoners sent there in the early 19th century. Adam-Smith describes her life and her writing as being driven by a need for independence and freedom, which is 'the sweetest thing and I ran headlong into it'.

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