White's first published works were written about Mount Wilson
Patrick White's first published work consists of two letters published in the Sydney Sunday Times newspaper.
The Comic and Children's Pages had a section called The League of Friendship, edited by the President. It was made up of a short note from the President, notices and a list of prizewinners for the best letters. The largest part was devoted to The Mail Bag where letters from children were published under a pseudonym, and the President added a brief comment in reply.
On January 29 1922, and on October 22 1922, Red Admiral, the pen name of Patrick White, had letters published. Both letters comment on the young boy's time at Mt Wilson.
Patrick White was not quite 10 years old when the first letter was published. It describes the journey from the train station at Bell to the Mountain and his cousin's garden. Red Admiral is interested in the English trees and shows acute observation of people and places.
The second letter describes a moonlight picnic. The language here is rather more self conscious with a detailed descriptionof the waterfall and bush in moonlight, and Red Admiral also includes his own feelings about this expedition.
We do not know why Patrick White chose the pen name of Red Admiral. The garden at Mt Wilson would have been full of flowers and butterflies; but, curiously, the Red Admiral butterfly is not found in Australia so perhaps it was a common colloquial name for a similar species. The young boy may have read about such butterflies in an English book and was captured by their beautiful patterns and colours; perhaps he just liked the sound of it.
These were not the first letters that Patrick White wrote - he had already written thank you letters, as well as ones to Father Xmas and Dear Fairie - but they were his first published letters.