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Biographical entry Gilmore, Mary (1865 - 1962)

16 August 1865
Cottawalla, New South Wales
3 December 1962
Trade Union - Rank & File Member


Born Mary Jean Cameron, at Cottawalla, near Goulburn, New South Wales, Dame Mary Gilmore was a poet, author and journalist. In prose an advocate for cause of women's rights, and rights of Aboriginal Australians.

In 1890 she moved to Sydney where she moved in radical and intellectual circles. She became a close friend of Henry Lawson, and was the first woman member of the Australian Workers' Union. She joined the New Australia venture in Paraguay in 1895 and married William Alexander Gilmore in 1897, in Paraguay.

The Gilmore family lived in Victoria from 1902 to 1912. She moved to Sydney in 1912. She wrote for local newspapers, and edited (1908-31) the women's page in The Australian Worker, campaigning vigorously on behalf of the Aborigines, old age and invalid pensions, maternity allowances, child health centres, the rights of illegitimate and adopted children and other welfare causes.

A foundation member of the Fellowship of Australian Writers (1928), she was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (1937) for services to literature.

Published resources

Online Resources

  • The Gilmore Centre: Dame Mary Gilmore, Charles Sturt University, 2001. Details

Ross G. Elford