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Florence Evelyn SWANSON

Also known as: née Clarke, Dolly, Camp Oven Doll

Died: 1969


  • References

    Petrick, Jose.  (2010, November).  The History of Alice Springs through Landmarks & Street Names.  St Marys, South Australia:  Openbook Howden Design and Print.  p. 171.

    John (Jack) Lindy Swanson and his wife, Florence Evelyn (Dolly)Jack - Master of many trades.  Dolly - Singer, writer and bush cook.
         Jack married Dolly Clarke, who was still in her teens.  Dolly took singing lessons; she trained with (Dame) Nellie Melba and they remained life-long friends.
         Dolly gave up her singing career to marry but always sang at every opportunity.
         Dolly was a writer and sent bush news, letters and recipes to The Chronicle, under the pen name, ‘Camp Oven Doll’.  She had few amenities but was known for her hospitality.  She was an adept cook and baked in her camp oven, bread, sponge cakes and cream puffs!
         Jack and Dolly returned to Adelaide where Dolly participated in Bob Dyer’s concerts to raise money for the war effort.  She sang to packed houses at the Regent Theatre and at functions afterwards.
         When Jack and Dolly came back to Alice Springs they lived near Mount Nancy.  …
         Dolly died in 1969, …
         Jack donated Dolly’s small camp oven with its home made wire handle to the Pitchi Richi Sanctuary and Museum, Alice Springs.  Beside the camp oven is a plaque inscribed in calligraphic writing, ‘Bush people will remember Florence Swanson known as Camp Oven Doll for her cooking and hospitality to people on the track.’  One old timer said, ‘Camp Oven Doll could run up a Christmas Dinner out of mulga bark and spinifex.’