Mabel Forrest (1872-1935 / Australia)
Biography of Mabel Forrest
Mabel Forrest (6 March 1872 – 18 March 1935) was an Australian writer and journalist.
Helena Mabel Forrest was born near Yandilla, Queensland, daughter of James Checkley Mills and his wife Margaret Nelson, née Haxell. Mabel began writing at an early age but did not publish her first book, The Rose of Forgiveness and other Stories, until 1904. She became well-known as a writer of verse following the publication of her first volume of poems, Alpha Centauri, which appeared in Melbourne in 1909. Her first novel A Bachelor's Wife, was included in the Bookstall series in 1914. The Green Harper (prose and verse) followed in 1915, and Streets and Gardens, a small collection of verse, in 1922. In 1924 The Wild Moth, a novel, was published in London, and was followed by four other novels, Gaming Gods (1926), Hibiscus Heart (1927), Reaping Roses (1928), and White Witches (1929). Poems by M. Forrest, a collection of her verse contributions to Australian English and American magazines, was published at Sydney in 1927.
Forrest died in Brisbane of pneumonia after a long illness on 18 March 1935. Mrs Forrest was twice married and was survived by a daughter. Gaming Gods was dedicated to the memory of her second husband, John Forrest. In addition to her work in book form, for the last 30 years of her life Mrs Forrest poured out a constant stream of verse and short stories for newspapers and magazines. Probably no other woman in Australia ever maintained herself so long by freelance journalism. Her verse is represented in several anthologies. Her novels were perhaps little more than stories written to fulfil the demands of the circulating libraries, but Mrs Forrest was an admirable journalist who lived a life that had many misfortunes with great industry, ability and courage.
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I was a Pirate once,
A blustering fellow with scarlet sash,
A ready cutlass and language rash;
From a ship with a rum-filled water-tank
I made the enemy walk the plank;
I marooned a man on an island bare,
And seized his wife by her long, dark hair;
Took treasure, such heaps of it!—wealth untold—
Bright bars of silver and chunks of gold!