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Alexina Maude (Ina) Wildman (1867–1896)

It is with sincere regret we have to announce the death of Miss Ina M. Wildman, the most widely popular lady journalist that Australia has yet produced. Under the penname of "Sappho Smith,' Miss Wildman contributed to the Sydney "Bulletin" for some years past a weekly letter of undoubted cleverness, in which she dealt with social, fashionable, musical and dramatic subjects in a style at once racy, unique, and brilliant. Miss Wildman's death took place at her residence, Cowper-street, Waverley, early yesterday morning from Bright's disease, from which she suffered for the last three years. A recent trip to Queensland did not improve her health, and when she returned it was thought she would be able to undertake a voyage to Europe, which the proprietors of the journal she was employed on suggested, but, unfortunately, she grew rapidly worse, and expired early yesterday morning. She was the youngest daughter of Mr. Edwin Wildman, who was connected with the commercial department of the "Sydney Morning Herald." Miss Wildman commenced to contribute to the "Bulletin" as a paragraphist when she was but 16 years of age — 10 years ago—and subsequently she added verse to her prose work.

How she assumed the nom de plume of "Sappho Smith " is curious. She had been writing prose for some time, when one day she surprised the editor of the paper by sending in a piece of verse. "You ought to be contented with prose, seeing you are doing so well," remarked someone in the office to her. " But I wanted to be a Sappho," she replied. And that was the penname adopted by her afterwards.

Original publication

Additional Resources

  • poem, Dawn (Sydney), 1 September 1899, p 18

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Wildman, Alexina Maude (Ina) (1867–1896)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 14 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Smith, Sappho

28 February, 1867
Paddington, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


15 November, 1896 (aged 29)
Waverley, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

kidney disease

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.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.