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Caroline Louisa Atkinson (1834–1872)

It was our painful duty on Tuesday to record the death of Mrs Calvert, of Swanton, Sutton Forest; better known as the accomplished Miss Louisa Atkinson, formerly of Fernhurst, Kurrajong. This excellent lady, who has been cut down like a flower in the midst of her days, was highly distinguished for her literary and artistic attainments, as well as for the Christian principles and expansive charity which marked her career. As an authoress, she distinguished herself by the publication of Gertrude, Kiandra, and other simple and interesting tales, exhibiting many of the most striking features of colonial life, and inculcating in the most attractive manner the claims of virtue and morality. Her drawings—which were for the most part illustrations of Australian animals and flowers—displayed great natural talent, unaffected elegance, and extreme accuracy, and some of her latest efforts are now in course of publication under tbe auspices of the University at Kiel. When Miss Atkinson resided at the Kurrajong, she paid unremitting attention to the development of the botany on the Blue Mountains, and published in the Sydney Morning Herald a series of papers entitled A Voice from the Country, in which she made known, in a plain and popular manner, the flora of the mountainous district in which she then resided. Nor were her exertions confined to writing, for many of the specimens which she collected were forwarded to England by Baron von Mueller, and described in the volumes of the Flora Australiensis. It was Dr. Woolls, of Parramatta, who had the honour of introducing the late lamented lady to the notice of the late Mr. W. B. Macleay, F.L.S., and Baron von Mueller, C.M.G., and of recommending her talents to the favourable consideration of those eminent naturalists, whilst other circumstances were the means of securing for her the respect of the Bishop of Sydney, our great geologist, the Rev. W.  B. Clarke, F.G.S., and Mr. John Fairfax, of the Sydney Morning Herald. So high an opinion did Baron von Mueller entertain of Miss Atkinson's ability, that he established the genus Atkinsonia in honour of her, whilst the late Mr Macleay was always pleased to receive her at Elizabeth Bay, and refer to their proper genera and species the various specimens of the Australian Fauna submitted to him by her for examination. But the late Mrs. Calvert was remarkable for higher excellences than those of a literary and scientific character, for when residing at the Kurrajong, she not only established a Sunday-school in that neighbourhood, but she endeared herself to the inhabitants by visiting the sick, comforting the afflicted, and speaking a kind word to everyone; whilst for the uneducated she was in the habit of composing letters, drawing up petitions, and sometimes even preparing the last will and testament. Mrs. Calvert was the daughter of the late Mr. Atkinson, who some years ago held a high official position in this colony, and the wife of Mr. J. S. Calvert, one of the survivors from the unfortunate Leichhardt's first expedition in Australia.

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'Atkinson, Caroline Louisa (1834–1872)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 31 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Louisa Atkinson, c.1870

Louisa Atkinson, c.1870

State Library of New South Wales, 80365

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Calvert, Caroline
  • Australian Lady
  • Author of Gertrude

25 February, 1834
Berrima, New South Wales, Australia


28 April, 1872 (aged 38)
Berrima, New South Wales, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.