As my series of posts about my teacher characters continues, today I move to a teacher character who is from history.
Who is my teacher character? Mary MacKillop
Why is she there? The book attempts to tell Mary’s story – or at least part of it. I was approached by Random House Australia to contribute to the series, and delighted when they suggested Mary MacKillop as the subject, as she is such an important Australian.
What role does she play? She’s the main character and the topic of the book, which shows how and why she set up her first school in Penola, South Australia. Mary and her sisters had to overcome many obstacles to start their school and ensure children had access to education.
What did I learn writing about her? I thought she was significant because she was Australia’s first saint. What I realised was how amazing she was as a strong woman in a time when women were expected be seen and not heard. Her role in establishing schools throughout Australia was very significant.
Favourite Mary moment? In the book, it’s when she tells the rich lady that although her son is very welcome at the school, he will receive the same treatment as everybody else. In real life, I think my favourite Mary MacKillop moments are when she stood up to Bishops and Priests who tried to dictate to her and treated her very shabbily.