Author Information At the Circulating Library
Author: Ellen Louise Clacy (1830–1901)
Alternate Name(s): Sturmer (maiden name); Cycla (pseudonym)
Biography: Ellen Louise Clacy was born in 1830 in Richmond, Surrey, the daughter of clergyman Frederick Sturmer and Mary Norris. The family lived in London before her father received the living of Heapham, Lincolnshire. In spite of this, her father continually suffered from debts. In 1852 Clacy went to Australia with her eldest brother Frederick in order to seek a fortune. While there, she visited the gold fields and returned after two months. On the boat home, Clacy gave birth to a daughter at sea. (Clearly, the timing is suspicious: Clacy was likely pregnant before she landed in Australia.) In 1854, she married Charles Berry Clacy (born 1820), a merchant's clerk and mining engineer. By 1871, Clacy described herself as a widow. After her return from Australia, she began an active literary career using the pseudonym "Cycla" beginning with A Lady's Visit to the Gold Diggings of Australia in 1852–1853 (1853). Her novels include Lights and Shadows of Australian Life (1854), Passing Clouds (1858), and Aunt Dorothy's Will (1860). She wrote for newspapers and magazines to support herself. Her daughter, also named Ellen Louise Clacy (1853–1916), became a painter. She died in 1901 in London.
References: Allibone; British Census (1861, 1871, 1881); pers inf (Susan Priestley)