Ada Cambridge

Ada Cambridge.jpg

Ada Cambridge was a Victorian novelist and diarist. The wife of a vicar, she followed her husband around various postings in country Victoria before ending up at the Holy Trinity parish in Williamstown. Her best known work 'Thirty Years in Australia' details her busy life as a vicars wife and the many hardships she endured. By the 1940s she was largely forgotten.

Altogether, Ada produced twenty-one novels, three volumes of poetry, two autobiographies and contributed to such journals as the Atlantic Monthly and the Australian Ladies' Annual. On the whole Ada Cambridge wrote about the section of colonial society most closely associated with England and its styles and standards. Within the limits of a conventional romantic plot and the setting of Toorak mansions or pastoral homesteads, the newly-arrived English men or women of her earlier serials met and won their marriage partners, while her heroines escaped the allurements of vulgar wealth to be restored to men who best represented the fashionable ideals of gentle breeding.

Life in, and connection to, Hobsons Bay

Ada lived in Williamstown at the Holy Trinity Church of England in Nelson Place Williamstown with her Clergyman husband from 1893 until returning to England in 1913.

She is celebrated each year at the Williamstown Literary Festival through the Ada Cambridge Prizes for Biographical Prose and for Poetry, and there is a commemorative plaque at the Williamstown Town Hall.


  • Hymns on the Litany (1865)
  • Hymns on the Holy Communion (1866)
  • The Manor House: and Other Poems (1875)
  • My Guardian (Novel, 1877)
  • In Two Years' Time (Novel, 1879)
  • A Mere Chance (Novel, 1882)
  • Unspoken Thoughts (Novel, 1887)
  • A Woman's Friendship (Serialised in the Age, 1889; first published in book form in 1988)
  • A Marked Man (Novel, 1890) A marked man: some episodes in his life, William Heinemann, London, 1891
  • The Three Miss Kings (Novel, 1891)
  • Not All in Vain (Novel, 1892)
  • A Little Minx (Novel, 1893)
  • A Marriage Ceremony (Novel, 1894)
  • Fidelis (Novel, 1895)A Humble Enterprise (Novel, 1896)
  • At Midnight: and Other Stories (1897)
  • Materfamilias (Novel, 1898),
  • Path and Goal (Novel, 1900)
  • The Devastators (Novel, 1901)
  • Thirty Years in Australia (Memoir, 1903)
  • Sisters (Novel, 1904)
  • A Platonic Friendship (Novel, 1905)
  • A Happy Marriage (Novel, 1906)
  • The Eternal Feminine (Novel, 1907)
  • The Retrospect (Memoir, 1912)
  • The Hand in the Dark: and Other Poems (1913)
  • The Making of Rachel Rowe (Novel, 1914)



  • Lyceum Club (Melbourne) foundation member (1912-1926)
  • Women Writers' Club (Melbourne) member