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Holman, Ada Augusta (1869 - 1949)

Born
3 October 1869
Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
Died
3 April 1949
Australia
Occupation
Feminist, Journalist, Novelist and Print Journalist
Alternative Names
  • Icona Klasta (pseudonym)
  • Kidgell, Ada (birth name)
  • Literoctopus (pseudonym)
  • Marcus Malcolm (pseudonym)
  • Myee (pseudonym)
  • Nardoo (pseudonym)

Summary

Before she married W.A Holman in 1901, Ada Kidgell had established herself as an intelligent and energetic journalist. By 1896 she was publishing short stories, reviews and political and literary items, using her own name, 'Marcus Malcolm' and 'Nardoo'. As 'Myee' she sent 'Our Sydney letter' to Melbourne Punch. She was a frequent contributor to the Sydney Mail, Sydney Morning Herald and the Freeman's Journal. She edited and wrote most of the copy for the Co-operator, a trade journal for rural producers. She continued journalism after marriage, sometimes ghosting items which appeared under her husband's name. The Labor Party benefited from her ability to place items sympathetic to its programme in the non-Labor press.

Ada Holman's political views were well formed before her marriage to her New South Wales labor politician husband. She was republican and a critic of the Constitution, of the South African War and of inequality, whether related to class or sex. She enjoyed writing on these topics, but found that once her husband was installed in the NSW cabinet in 1910, her output was restricted; her short stories continued to appear but little else.

Ada Holman resented both the limitations to her own work consequent on being married to a prominent politician, and the demands on women to conform to notions of middle class femininity that restricted women's experience to that of only wife and mother. Women would be free, she wrote to Australian author Dowell O'Reilly, when motherhood affected woman's life 'only to the same degree as parenthood does a man'.

Details

Events

c. 1895 - c. 1910
Career in journalism active

Sources used to compile this entry: Radi, Heather, 'Holman, Ada Augusta (1869-1949)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography Online, Australian National University, 2006, http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A090343b.htm.

Archival resources

Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales

  • Ada A. Holman - papers, 1856 - 194-, 1856 - c. 1946, K 22144 - K 22146; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details
  • Ada A. Holman - papers, 1866-1936, together with papers of William Arthur Holman, 1912-1932, 1866 - 1936, MLMSS 112; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details
  • Mrs W. A. Holman, 1917 / painted by John Samuel Watkins, 1917, ML 286; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details

Nikki Henningham

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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ISSN 2207-3124