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23 January 2010

Castleden Dove

Little is known about Castleden Dove; the name may well have been a pseudonym. In addition to Lowanna the author wrote at least two short stories, ‘The Push’ for the Bulletin in 1927 and ‘Finishing Her Husband’ for The Lone Hand in 1919.

Lowanna: An Australian School Story. London: Humphrey Milford Oxford University Press, 1925. 256 pages. Illustrated J. Dewar Mills, col. frontis. & 4 b/w illus.

 Lowanna is the story of Lowanna Laurenson, a popular Sixth Former at Elaroo College, and her friendship with Joan Grantham, a new girl. The contrasting personalities of the two girls are shown. Lowanna is rich, popular and worldly, and has recently been elected to the position of Warden (similar to Head Girl). For one of her special privileges she chooses Joan to be her roommate. Joan, old-fashioned and lonely, secretly adores Lowanna. Joan quickly realises that Lowanna is manipulative when Lowanna keeps a cruel sketch Joan made of one of the teachers. Some of the other Sixth form girls view Lowanna as a tyrant. Dove does not overtly condemn Lowanna’s behaviour. Despite sabotaging Joan’s hopes for a career in art, Lowanna genuinely likes Joan and attempts to reform her character to a degree. Lowanna is re-elected as Warden for another year, narrowly defeating Joan. But when the Head discovers she starred in a movie, she almost loses her post and later quarrels with Joan as Joan believes that Lowanna gave the sketch to a teacher out of revenge. After Lowanna saves Joan from drowning, she is cleared of giving the caricature to the teacher, and their friendship is renewed. Lowanna concludes with some description of their activities after school. Lowanna returns to Australia after spending two years in America, travelling with her Aunt and working in films. When she returns she is reunited with Joan’s brother, Philip, and the pair declare their affection for each other. This romantic element was rare in girls’ school stories, only appearing elsewhere in the Sheila series, and Mack’s Teens trilogy.


Anonymous said...

I notice your spelling of "Ellaroo". In my 1929 edition of Lowanna, it's "Elaroo"??

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