Shortlisted, Waverley Library Award, 2012
Housewife Superstar is the life story of eccentric Tasmanian domestic goddess, Marjorie Bligh.
Now 94 years old, Marjorie is the author of a library of advice books covering topics including food, household management, health and beauty, poetry, gardening and recycling.
Marjorie is the go-to-girl for all manner of problem-solving. She knows what to do when a goldfish has constipation (feed it Epsom salts), and what to do when you run out of rouge (cut a beetroot in half and slap it on your cheeks).
Famous for never wasting a thing, Marjorie has constructed a museum within her own home to show off the various items she has knitted and crocheted out of such unlikely materials as plastic shopping bags and used pantyhose. Her abundant garden is staked out with old-fashioned corset brassieres that function as plant protectors.
Sensationally thrice-married (once divorced and twice widowed), Marjorie is, according to her colossal fan Barry Humphries, ‘no slouch in the matrimonial department’. Her short-lived second marriage, to preacher and schoolteacher Adrian Cooper, was punctuated by endless love notes, breakfasts in bed and territorial catfights with Adrian’s adult daughters. Following Adrian’s death, Marjorie met her third husband Eric Bligh – a bus driver – on a CWA outing, snagging him with promises of fruitcake and flirtatious glances in his rear view mirror.
Housewife Superstar is an illuminating look at a true Australian treasure. Marjorie Bligh will soon be a household name.
Danielle Wood, author of Housewife Superstar, at home with Marjorie Bligh.
Watch this short, heart-warming SBS feature showcasing the inimitable Mrs Bligh, including poetry, home-spun wisdom and images of Marjorie’s Devonport home and garden.
For more videos of Marjorie, visit our blog.
Was our Marjorie the inspiration for Dame Edna? Read the article in full.
Read what the English think in the Daily Mail.
Danielle and Marjorie in Marjorie’s garden standing on a scale replica of Tasmania’s Tamar Bridge.
photos: Bob Iddon
‘I don’t think Edna has ever admired anyone as much as she admires Marjorie Bligh.’Barry Humphries
‘Prepare to become obsessed with Marjorie. She’s a human fascinator—one she made herself.’Kaz Cooke
‘Marjorie Bligh may be ninety-four years of age, but she is a thoroughly modern woman, having successfully managed a career along with family and community involvement. She demonstrates many of the qualities that make Tasmania such a wonderful and unique place—resourcefulness, capacity for hard work, creativity, and passionate commitment to her community.’Lara Giddings MP, Premier of Tasmania
‘Before Google there was thrice married Marjorie Bligh, domestic goddess, pioneer recycler and cookbook author who was also relied upon by generations of Australia’s housewives and mothers for guidance on making dresses, starching tablecloths, curing croup in children and removing stains.’South Coast Register
‘The original domestic goddess, a recycling pioneer, a poet and a font of knowledge on health, beauty, romance, cooking and gardening…Marjorie Bligh is a true Tassie treasure…Long before the advent of Shannon Lush and other household gurus, Bligh was the ‘go-to girl’ for all manner of problem-solving.’Sunday Tasmanian
‘We have become lazy, ladies. …It’s time lo start living a little more like Tasmanian ‘Housewife Superstar’ Marjorie Bligh.’Yen
‘Wood’s book is deeply admiring. And much like Marjorie’s copious reflections on marriage—a blend of Hallmark card gush and tough pragmatism—it is also moving and surprisingly instructive.’Sun Herald
‘Meet eccentric Tasmanian domestic goddess Marjorie Bligh…She has a solution to every problem you can think of…Bligh’s tips make for hilarious reading, even if you never act on her advice.’Better Homes & Gardens
‘Compulsive baking, gardening, sewing, crocheting, knitting, crafts and six books slotted between three husbands and assorted children are Marjorie Bligh’s major achievements. She’s 94 arid still mesmeric.’Australian Coast to Coast Country Style
‘In a country not known for producing domestic divas, Marjorie Bligh was Tasmania’s answer to Martha Stewart, helpful-hints Heloise, and Betty Crocker, all rolled into one…Whatever the source of her feminine mystique, Bligh cannily catapulted her homespun homilies into a thriving cottage industry. Exhibiting respect, awe, and admiration, Wood deftly captures the quirkily sincere yet frequently sad tale of Australia’s queen of the kitchen.’Booklist
‘The Tasmanian Mrs. Beeton, Marjorie Bligh, now in her mid-90s, finds a new generation of admirers via this fondly doting biography by compatriot novelist Wood.’Publishers Weekly