By Jeannine Baker
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Additional resources for Australian Women War Reporters: Boer War to Vietnam
Her account of visiting another camp at Pietermaritzburg in Natal is also important because, unlike those in the Transvaal and Orange River Colony, this camp was run by the military until October 1901, when it was taken over by the Natal government. 52 The Pietermaritzburg camp was better situated than most other camps, and was reasonably ordered and comfortable, a fact that Dickenson acknowledged. It also had a relatively low mortality rate, although in September 1901, just before Dickinson’s visit, a large number of children had died, mainly from measles.
Many of these, however, have been sent up the Sungari toward the Amur, where conditions are very bad owing to military hunghudze [Chinese bandits], according to the Japanese; owing to the Japanese invasion, according to Chinese and pro-Chinese sources. Be that as it may, certain terrible facts are not in dispute; villages and towns are being burned and looted on the Eastern line between Harbin and Vladivostok. One evening a week or so ago I watched the reflections of burning villages from a high point in Harbin.
Before long Mack was struggling to pay for necessities and living in an attic in Bloomsbury, where she nonetheless managed to finish a novel called An Australian Girl in London (1902). In desperation she began writing formulaic serial romances for the Harmsworth Press, owned by Lord Northcliffe (Alfred Charles William Harmsworth), the powerful proprietor of the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Sunday Observer and the Times. She also contributed to periodicals, including WT Stead’s Review of Reviews, contributions that eventually proved lucrative.