Woman Webby, Elizabeth (1942 - )


Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Academic and Literary Critic

Written by Ann Standish, The University of Melbourne

Elizabeth Webby was born in Sydney in 1942, to George Loder and Betty Ellis. She was educated at Presbyterian Ladies College, Sydney and the University of Sydney, where she completed a BA, MA and PhD. She married Barry Webby in 1966.

Webby was employed as a tutor in English Literature at the University of Sydney in 1965 and has remained a significant member of that department ever since, becoming Professor of Australian Literature in 1990. She served in that position until 2007, when she retired and took on her current role as Emeritus Professor of Australian Literature. During this time she was also editor of the journal Southerly and a member of the judging panels for the Miles Franklin Award and the Nita B. Kibble Awards.

Webby has been a leading figure in ensuring Australian literature, both colonial and modern, has received academic and popular attention. She has done so through her teaching and through publications that include Early Australian Poetry (1982), Modern Australian Plays (1990) and the edited volumes Colonial Voices (1989), The Cambridge Companion to Australian Literature (2000) and The Letters of Walter and Mary Richardson (edited with G. Sykes, 2000). She is a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and editor of their journal Humanities Australia. In 2003 she received both the Centenary Medal and the AA Phillips Award from Association for the Study of Australian Literature.

She has also promoted Australian writing through her chairing of the NSW Writers' Centre from 1995 to 1996 and as a member of the literary advisory committee of the NSW Ministry of the Arts and various boards of other cultural and literary organisations. She was awarded an AM for her contribution to Australian literary culture in 2004.

Published Resources


  • Webby, Elizabeth, Early Australian Poetry: an annotated bibliography of original poems published in Australian newspapers, magazines and almanacs before 1850, Hale & Iremonger, Sydney, New South Wales, 1982. Details
  • Webby, Elizabeth, Modern Australian Plays, Sydney University Press, Melbourne, Victoria, 1990. Details
  • Webby, Elizabeth (ed), The Cambridge Companion to Australian Literature, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, Victoria, 2000. Details
  • Webby, Elizabeth and Skyes, Gillian (eds), Walter and Mary: The Letters of Walter and Mary Richardson, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, Victoria, 2000. Details

Edited Books

  • Who's Who in Australia, Crown Content, Melbourne, Victoria, 1927 - 2013. Details


  • 'Southerly', Elizabeth Webby tribute issue, vol. 67, no. 1-2, 2007. Details

Online Resources

See also