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Wingecarribee Women's Writers

Wingecarribee Women Writers is part of a global movement that celebrates women’s voices and stories.


Our purpose is to make women writers more visible so that hearing our voices is unavoidable.

Local volunteers design and manage our projects. 

Our projects are designed to:

Shine a light on the invisibility of women writers who have been lost to obscurity in history.

Unearth their lost stories and voices to inspire women writing today.

connect & support local women writers


Encourage and empower emerging young writers to believe in the importance of their own voices and stories.

Wingecarribee Women Writers emerged from a writing retreat at Life at Springfield in the Southern Highlands in November 2021. The retreat, called ‘True Life Stories’, led by Kate Forsyth and Belinda Murrell, focused on their work writing Searching for Charlotte: The Fascinating Story of Australia’s First Children’s Author.

The charlotte project is the first initiative of

Wingecarribee Women Writers

The Charlotte Project Appeal is a campaign

hosted by The Southern Highlands Foundation. 


The first initiative of the Wingecarribee Women Writers is The Charlotte Project to raise money to install a bronze life-sized statue of Charlotte in Berrima’s Market Place Park, near the Story Centre. 

Charlotte Waring Atkinson settled with her husband James Atkinson at Oldbury Farm in Sutton Forest in the 1820s. It is believed she wrote the first story ever set in Australia while living there. Her youngest daughter, Louisa Atkinson, was born at Oldbury and went on to become the first Australian-born woman writer, journalist and botanist.

We are pleased to have achieved our goal and Charlotte was unveiled in Dec 2023. beyond this initiative, Wingecarribee Women Writers will continue to seek ways to support and amplify the voices of women.

committee members

Paula McLean

Paula McLean, Patron of The Charlotte Project, author, immediate past Deputy Chair of the Stella Prize for women’s writing, Board Member of the Country Education Foundation of Australia and a founding trustee of McLean Foundation.


Kate Forsyth

Dr Kate Forsyth is an award-winning author, poet & storyteller whose work has been published in more than 20 countries. Kate has a BA in literature, a MA in creative writing and a Doctorate of Creative Arts, and divides her time between Sydney and Gerringong.

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Belinda Murrell

Belinda Murrell is an award-winning, internationally published author whose books range from junior fiction to historical novels to adult non-fiction, including the biography ‘Searching For Charlotte’ which she wrote with her sister Kate Forsyth. She lives in Sydney.


Debra Blackah

Debra owns Oxley Partners Chartered Accountants in Bowal. Any spare moments are spent helping create the Festival of Lights for the Southern Highlands and in her duties as a Director of Business Southern Highlands.


Michaela Bolzan

Michaela Bolzan lives in Bowral, the headquarters for her retail and production company Creative & Co. Michaela is the Founder and Creative Director of the Southern Highlands Writers’ Festival and Southern Highlands Festival of Lights.


Jenni Coward

Jenni lives in Burrawang in the Southern Highlands where she and her partner are building a whisky distillery. She is currently writing her first novel.


Kerrie Douglass

Kerrie Douglass is a writer, communications professional, and former broadcast journalist who spent decades living and working in Sydney before making the move to the southern highlands village of Exeter.


Kinchem Hegedus

Kinchem Hegedus is a writer and the director at Life at Springfield in the Southern Highlands, a holistic retreat space specialising in nurturing  creative wellbeing, and regenerative lifestyles. 

Springfield hosts writing, health and 'HomeGrown' retreats.

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Simone Joseph

Simone Joseph is a writer who completed her first book in 2022. She also enjoys ceramics and being involved with community run volunteer projects. She shares her time between Burradoo and Callala Beach with her husband.


Kathryn Smith

Kathryn is a trained social worker, counsellor and marriage celebrant. She served on The Classification Board and Review Board for 8 years. She is currently on the board of The Mustard Seed Institute, Rwanda, East Africa, a social enterprise working at grassroots level on poverty alleviation, reconciliation and sustainable peace through agricultural and vocational training in rural Rwanda.


Lynn Watson

Lynn has run a successful local Bowral business and is an advocate for women. She lives in Berrima and is passionate about its unique early history and our local, courageous, pioneering women.


Erin Canty

Erin Canty graduated from Actors Centre Australia with a BA of Performing Arts in 2022. Erin is the founder and performer of a local multi-platformed children's entertainment company named 'Piccolo Ponies.' Bringing the magic of imagination to children from the Southern Highlands with her miniatue pony, Piccolo.

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Our Sculptor


Julie Haseler Reilly graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art in 1983, has a Diploma of Visual Arts from TAFE QLD, and has studied at the National Art School, the Ceramics Center at TAFE Hornsby, and with sculptors Alan Somerville, Tom Bass and Col Henry in Australia, and Gaya Ceramics in Ubud. She now lives in Bowral in the beautiful Southern Highlands south of Sydney, Australia.

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