Housewife Superstar: The very best of Marjorie Bligh by Danielle Wood

by |August 26, 2011

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.

Order your copy of Housewife Superstar from Booktopia, Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop here

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. Click here.


Baby entertained: I kept my babies entertained whilst busy by putting them in front of a mirror. They “talk” away to the other “baby”.

Pram hint: If you want to bring baby’s pram into the house but fear dirty wheel marks on carpet, try this: Buy four shower caps and pull them over the pram wheels. There will be no marks and the plastic caps last for ages.

Insect in ear: If someone around smokes, a puff into the ear will make the insect crawl out.

Warts cure: Put banana skin on them, white side down, and leave for several days, or until they go away; or, warts disappear in 3 months if you rub them with castor oil before going to bed, or daub them with kerosene every day, or with a slice of garlic, or with 1 tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water. Another hint is to melt a small piece of washing soda in vinegar and daub warts several times a day. I had them as a child and my mother told me to lick them on awakening and one morning they weren’t there.

Mice: Push steel wool, not paper, into their hole (not the soap impregnated kind). They cannot chew steel wool.

Possums in the ceiling: Put some flowers of sulphur in a foil dish in the ceiling and set it alight, and you won’t be troubled again.

About the Author

Danielle Wood was born in Hobart in 1972. Her first novel, The Alphabet of Light and Dark won the 2002 Australian/Vogel Literary Award and was shortlisted for the 2004 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize in the Best First Book category. Her second book was Rosie Little’s Cautionary Tales for Girls.

Praise for Housewife Superstar:

I don’t think Edna has ever admired anyone as much as she admires Marjorie Bligh.
Barry Humphries

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

Was our Marjorie the inspiration for Dame Edna? Read article in full.
Libby Bingham, Advocate

Prepare to become obsessed with Marjorie. She’s a human fascinator—one she made herself.
Kaz Cooke

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

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