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  • Unbroken Spirit: Women in Broken Hill

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Braithwaite, Maria (1861 - 1927)

11 November 1861
Avoch, Scotland
February 1927
Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia
Advocate and Author
Alternative Names
  • Black, Maria (maiden name)


Maria Braithwaite was an advocate and member of the Broken Hill Temperance Movement, and a writer whose short stories were published in Australian weekly newspapers.


Maria Black migrated from Scotland to Australia with her family in 1865, and grew up on cattle farms in Finnis in South Australia and Kaniva in Victoria.

In 1890, Maria married Edward James Braithwaite, a blacksmith, with whom she moved to Broken Hill after the birth of their third child.

Writing under the pseudonym Jack Rugby, Maria had many short stories and serials published in weekly newspapers. Two of her short stories were chosen for an anthology published by the Sydney Mail in 1907 entitled The Red Kangaroo.

Maria became active in the Broken Hill Temperance Movement, and much of her writing was dedicated to this cause. She was also involved with the Barrier Boys' Brigade, an organisation established in 1898 devoted to the "Spiritual, Moral, Social, Physical and Intellectual Improvement" of the young men of Broken Hill, and wrote for their magazine, the Barrier Boys' Budget.

A horse lover and champion show jumper from the age of sixteen, Maria continued to ride in Broken Hill, successfully competing at horse riding events at the Silver City Show.

At the end of her life, illness forced Maria to give up her advocacy and writing, and she died at the age of 66 in February 1927.

Sources used to compile this entry: Camilleri, Jenny, Some Outstanding Women of Broken Hill and District, Jenny Camilleri (Broken Hill Historical Society/Broken Hill Council), Broken Hill, NSW, 2002; Curtis, Leonard Samuel, The History of Broken Hill: Its Rise and Progress, Frearson's Printing House, South Australia, Adelaide, 1908.

Georgia Moodie

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