A COLLECTION OF LETTERS FROM BISHOP ANDERSON TO HIS DAUGHTER MARY

Mary Anderson was the third daughter and sixth child of the Bishop Ernest and Mrs Aimee Anderson. She was born at Bishop’s Lodge on 27 January 1898 and lived there until she married Roy Matthews of Eurolie in 1921. Mary seemed to enjoy a special relationship with her father and this series of letters written between 1906 and 1916 attests to that relationship.

The opening letter in the series begins with the Bishop’s earnest enquiry into the health of Mary’s fairy and a sequence of sketches as to what the fairy might possibly look like as well as a message for the fairy in her own secret language. The Bishop’s ability to engage his eight year old daughter in her fantasy world is simply charming.

By 1916 the topics have changed to the disastrous effects of the current drought and news of her brothers who had enlisted in the A.I.F. The letters still contain the Bishop’s delightful drawings as part of the text, illustrating his points beautifully, and often with great humour, for the absent Mary and illustrating for us the sweet disposition with which he regarded his family.