Partner Mary Fullerton
Maresfield, North Uckfield, Maresfield, East Sussex TN22 2EJ, UK
Passionate Friends: Mary Fullerton, Mabel Singleton & Miles Franklin by Sylvia Martin is a study of 20th century female friendship played out in Australia and England. Martin concentrates on two important friendships in the life of writer and political activist, Mary Fullerton: Mabel Singleton, Mary's companion of more than 30 years, and Miles Franklin, Mary's colleagues and devoted friend.
Mabel Singleton was Mary's friend and fellow activist in the Women's Political Association in Melbourne in the early 1900s. Their love story began in 1909 and continued until Mary's death in England in 1946. Letters in the Miles Franklin Papers filled in much of the domestic detail of their lives as Mary and Miles were writer colleagues and Miles lived with Mary and Mabel in London for over a year in the 1930s. The letters between the three women span nearly three decades.
Mabel and Mary brought up Mabel's son, Denis Singleton (1911-2008), who was born in Melbourne to a much older husband who, in mysterious circumstances alluded to in the poems in the Fullerton archive, banished mother and child to his country house on Mount Dandenong soon after the birth. Robert Singleton died at the age of seventy-three when Denis was just three years old, after changing his will and virtually disinheriting his estranged wife. Mary Fullerton's love poems indicate that she was very much influenced by the writings of Utopian socialist and sexologist, Edward Carpenter, and that she saw herself as a member of the 'intermediate sex', an advance guard in the process of evolution. Her beautiful friend Mabel, younger than Mary by eleven years, was 'the woman soul': the perfect homogenic woman and mother whose destiny and that of her son lay with Mary, who would be their guide.
The Mary Fullerton Papers are hosted at The Mitchell Library Guide, donated after Mabel's death in 1965 in London.
Mabel's granddaughter, Valerie, was a well-known television personality in the UK, much loved as one of the hosts of the children's series, Blue Peter, for many years.
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