Reprint: Death of Sumner Locke

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Sumner Locke, the well-known Australian novelist, passed away yesterday morning in a private hospital at Kogarah after giving birth to a son, and the event will be learned with widespread regret. Early this year, whilst rehearsing her rustic farcical comedy, "Mum Dawson, Boss," with Mr. Bert Bailey, at the Criterion Theatre, she laughingly remarked that she had but two ambltions in life -- to produce a play and to produce a son. Her heart's desire was realised with her last breath. The pathos of her unexpected end is increased by the fact that her husband, Sergeant L. Elliott, A.I.K., is at the front.

Sumner Locke was the daughter of a Church of England minister, who named her after Archbishop Sumner, and she was born in Queensland. Though slight and small of figure, her mental energy was extraordinary, so that quite early in life she made a name as a journalist, and by her success with her humorous bush story, ''Skeeter Farm." During her brief career she visited London, and on the way from the railway terminus to her lodgings read an advertisement offering a large money prize for an original story. She wrote it during the same day, sent it in, and carried off the prize! Another of her remarkable feats was the writing of a rustic American novel, "Samaritan Mary," which was accepted and published in the United States, where it enjoyed a remarkable success, before ever she had set foot in the country. The young authoress not only possessed imagination, as illustrated by the above achievement, but wrote with amazing facility, and had other novels ready for publication when she visited New York a few months ago. Finding that the Atlantic was a closed route, she relinquished her intention of revisiting London, where she had made many literary friends, and returned to Sydney last August. This brilliant woman has brothers at the front, sisters in London and Victoria, and a sister, Mrs. G. M. Burns, wife of the former M.P. for Illawarra, in Sydney.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 October 1917

Note: Sumner Locke (1881-1917); and the son mentioned above became the novelist Sumner Locke Elliot (1917-91).

[Thanks to the National Library of Australia's newspaper digitisation project for this piece.]

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 30, 2011 7:33 AM.

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