Marie Pitt

Marie Elizabeth Josephine Pitt (née McKeown, 18691948), poet. Born in Victoria, Pitt married Tasmanian miner William Pitt and lived with him on the west coast, at Mount Read, Mount Magnet and Mathinna. Here she wrote poems like 'A West Coast silhouette', 'Tale of the old coast road', and 'The West Coasters (Tasmania)', a celebration of mining and farming pioneers. In her twelve years on the west coast, Pitt helped organise miners' unions and worked as a Labor journalist.

With her three surviving children, in 1905 Pitt returned to Victoria, where her husband later died of a lung disease. Still working as a journalist, Pitt became a political activist for the Victorian Socialist Party and feminist organisations like the Socialist Women's League. From 1920 she lived with poet Bernard O'Dowd and was active in Melbourne literary circles.

Further reading: C Burke, Doherty's corner, Sydney, 1985; M Pitt, The poems of Marie E.J. Pitt, Melbourne, [1925]; Selected poems of Marie E.J. Pitt, Melbourne & Sydney, 1944; and The horses of the hills, and other verses, Melbourne, 1911.

Philip Mead