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Cottrell, Ida Dorothy Ottley (1902 - 1957)

16 July 1902
Picton, New South Wales, Australia
29 June 1957
Florida, United States
Author, Journalist and Print Journalist


Dorothy Cottrell moved from New South Wales to Ballarat, Victoria, with her parents while still an infant. She contracted infantile paralysis and was confined to a wheelchair from the age of 5. Cottrell's parents separated and she was raised by her grandmother, her aunt and her uncles, in various parts of New South Wales. She was educated by governesses and attended the Royal Art Society of New South Wales.

From 1920, Cottrell lived at Ularunda, Queensland, where she was active in hunting, swimming, rowing and driving. In 1922 she married Walter Mackenzie Cottrell, and the newlyweds eloped to Dunk Island. They later moved to Sydney and travelled around New South Wales before returning to Ularunda, where Dorothy began to write fiction. Her novel The Singing Gold was published in London and Boston in 1929 after appearing as a serial in the American Ladies' Home Journal and later, the Sydney Mail and the English Women's Journal.

The Cottrells moved to California in 1928, and two years later Dorothy published Earth Battle. In 1942 they moved to Florida, where Dorothy worked as a journalist and writer of short stories. In 1953 she published The Silent Reefs - the story was serialised in the Saturday Evening Post and made into a film.

Dorothy died of heart disease in June 1957, survived by her husband and adopted son.



c. 1940 - c. 1950
Career in journalism active

Sources used to compile this entry: Ross, Barbara and Rutledge, Martha, 'Cottrell, Ida Dorothy Ottley (1902 - 1957)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography Online, Australian National University, 2006,

Barbara Lemon

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