Lady Barker

Lady Barker books and biography


Mary Anne Barker


Mary Anne Barker with her husband Frederick Napier Broome, circa 1836
Mary Anne Barker with her husband Frederick Napier Broome, circa 1836

Mary Anne Barker, Lady Barker (1831–6 March 1911), later Mary Anne Broome, Lady Broome, was an author.

Born Mary Anne Stewart in Spanish Town, Jamaica, she was the eldest daughter of Walter Steward, Island Secretary of Jamaica. She was educated in England, and in 1852 married Captain George Robert Barker of the Royal Artillery, with whom she would have two children. When Barker was knighted for his leadership at the Siege of Lucknow, Mary Anne became "Lady Barker". Eight months later Barker died.

On 21 June 1865, Mary Anne Barker married Frederick Napier Broome. The couple then sailed for New Zealand, leaving her two children in England. The couple's first child was born in Christchurch in February 1866, but died in May. By this time, they had moved to the sheep station Steventon, which Broome had partnered with H. P. Hill to buy. They remained there a little over a year; they lost more than half their sheep in the winter of 1867, and in response Broome sold out and the couple returned to London.

Both Mary Anne and her husband then became journalists. Still calling herself "Lady Barker", Mary Anne Broome became a correspondent for The Times, and also published two books of verse, Poems from New Zealand (1868) and The Stranger from Seriphos (1869). In 1870, she published her first book Station Life in New Zealand, a collection of her letters home. The book was reasonably successful, going through several editions and being translated into French and German.

Over the next eight years, Lady Barker wrote ten more books, including A Chistmas Cake in Four Quarters (1871), a sequel to Station Life entitled Station Amusements in New Zealand (1873), and First Lessons in the Principles of Cooking (1874). This last title led to her being appointed Lady Superintendent of the National Training School of Cooking in South Kensington.

When Frederick Broome was appointed Colonial Secretary of Natal in 1875, Lady Barker accompanied him there. Broome's subsequent colonial appointments had him travelling to Mauritius, Western Australia, Barbados, and Trinidad. Drawing on these experiences, Lady Barker published A Year's Housekeeping in South Africa (1880) and Letters to Guy (1885).

Frederick Broome was knighted on 3 July 1884, and thereafter Mary Anne called herself "Lady Broome". She published the last of her 22 books, Colonial Memories under this name. After Sir Frederick Broome's death in 1896, Lady Broome returned to London, dying there on 6 March 1911.


  • Jones, Jenny Robin (2004). Lady Mary Anne Barker. The Literary Encyclopaedia. Retrieved on 21 April 2006.
  • Wilson, Phillip John (1966). BARKER, Lady Mary Anne (afterwards Lady Broome). Te Ara: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Retrieved on 21 April 2006.
  • Barker, Mary Anne. Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Retrieved on 21 April 2006.
  • Clarke, Patricia (1988). Pen Portraits: Women Writers and Journalists in Nineteenth Century Australia. North Sydney, NSW: Allen and Unwin Australia. ISBN 0-04-337007-1.
  • Hasluck, Alexandra (1957). "Lady Broome". Early Days: Being Journal and Proceedings of the Western Australian Historical Society.

Further reading

  • The Seven Lives of Lady Barker: Betty Gilderdale. Publisher: David Bateman, Auckland, NZ, 1996. ISBN 1-86953-289-9 (A full biography)
  • Station Life in New Zealand: Lady Barker. With an introduction and notes by Betty Gilderdale. Publisher: Vintage, Auckland, NZ, 2000. ISBN 1-86941-423-3

This article might use material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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Station Amusements

By Lady Barker
Letters , Correspondence

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Station Life In New Zealand

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