Caddie, The Story of A Barmaid - Author and Origins

Author and Origins

The book's anonymous author, Catherine Beatrice Edmonds (1900–1960), was employed for some years from 1945 as a charwoman by authors Dymphna Cusack and Florence James at their cottage in the Blue Mountains. At the time, Cusack and James were working on their epic collaborative novel, Come In Spinner. Edmonds initially took the job in the hope that the authors would write her story. Entertained by Edmonds' turn of phrase and her stories of working as a barmaid during the Depression, Cusack and James encouraged and coached her through seven drafts of an autobiography until 1952.

Edmonds married Frederick George Holloway on 25 January 1919 at St Stephen's Church, Newtown. The couple had two children in the early years of the marriage: a son named Ronald, and a daughter named Catherine. The couple were divorced in Sydney on 20 December 1929.

She married again on 24 February 1934 to Authur John Baden Surenne at the Methodist Church at Marrickville. This marriage lasted until 1948 when the couple divorced. She later changed her surname by deed poll to Elloitt-Mackay.

Edmonds chose to write under a pseudonym because she was publicity-shy. John Ritchie's entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography describes her as plump, round-faced, with "narrow, grey-blue eyes, 'wavy, light brown hair streaked with grey', and deeply-graven lines at the corners of her mouth". Caddie Edmonds died of a heart attack on 16 April 1960 at her home in Regentville in Sydney. She was buried in Penrith General Cemetery and was survived by a son and a daughter.

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