Agnes Louisa Storrie was a poet, author, journalist and campaigner. She wrote poetry, articles, and short stories; and was a leading campaigner in the Wattle Day movement.
Storrie was born in Glenelg, South Australia, on 23 August 1864. She was the sixth child of Scottish immigrants, James Storrie and Agnes (nee Tassie), who — although both born in Glasgow — had met in Australia.
Agnes was well-educated; she enjoyed writing poetry and stories, and became an associate member of the Glenelg Literary Society. In 1887 she submitted some of her work to the literary competition of the South Australian Literary Societies’ Union, and won first prize (the Minister of Education’s prize) in the novelettes category, for her story “Grapes from a thorn”; she also won second prize in the poetry category, for her poem “What the Overseer Told Me”. The following year she won second prize in the novelettes category for her story “Where is it?”
In September 1890 Agnes married John Wilson Kettlewell in Glenelg. They had three children: Rhoda, Joyce, and John (unfortunately, the last-named died at the age of 19, in February 1922).
Storrie’s writings were published in various newspapers, such as The Adelaide Observer, The Australasian, The Australian Town and Country Journal, The Bulletin, The Daily Telegraph (Sydney), Dalgety’s Review, Quiz, The South Australian Register, The Sunday Times (Sydney), The Sydney Mail, The Sydney Morning Herald, and the Windsor and Richmond Gazette.
She was a co-founder of the Wattle League in New South Wales, and worked hard as the group’s Secretary to promote the usage of the wattle as a patriotic Australian icon. In recognition of her work, a species of wattle was named after her: Acacia kettlewelliae.
Agnes Kettlewell died in Woolwich (Sydney, NSW), on 20 August 1936 (her husband had predeceased her a few years earlier on 22 February 1933).
Books by Agnes Louisa Storrie:
1899: Agnes L. Storrie, Poems, Sydney: A. Storrie
1899: A. L. Storrie and S. W. Kettlewell (editors), The Eastern and Australian Steamship Co., Ltd.: Tourist Guide to China, Japan, Islands and Ports en route, Australia and Tasmania, Sydney: W. Dymock, 1899
1909: Agnes L. Storrie, Poems, Sydney: J. W. Kettlewell
Selected poetry by Agnes Louisa Storrie:
Australian Scenery [poem by Agnes L. Storrie, 27 August 1898]
Poems [book of poetry by Agnes L. Storrie, 1909]
A Draught [poem by Agnes L. Storrie, 11 May 1912]
“Agnes L. Storrie”, AustLit
“Wattle Day”, Otto’s Vineyard, 3 September 2018
“Bessie’s hat-pin cushion”, Otto’s Vineyard, 17 September 2018
“Acacia kettlewelliae”, VicFlora (Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria)
“S.A. Literary Societies’ Union: Annual competition”, The South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA), 23 September 1887, p. 7
“S.A. Literary Societies’ Union: Annual competition”, The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA), 21 September 1888, p. 5
“South Australian Social Items”, The Illustrated Sydney News (Sydney, NSW), 19 July 1890, p. 12 [re. marriage]
“Births, marriages, and deaths”, The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, NSW), 8 September 1890, p. 7 [marriage notice of John Wilson Kettlewell and Agnes Louisa Storrie]
“Deaths”, The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, NSW), 15 February 1922, p. 12 [death notice of John Bryan Kettlewell]
“Deaths”, The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, NSW), 23 February 1933, p. 8 [death notice of John Wilson Kettlewell]
“Obituary”, The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.), 21 August 1936, p. 10
“Passing of much-loved writer”, The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW), 21 August 1936, p. 9
“Deaths”, The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, NSW), 21 August 1936, p. 10 [death notice of Agnes Louisa Kettlewell]
“Agnes Louise Kettlewell: Well known writer passes”, The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld.), 25 August 1936, p. 9