Born: Established: 14 Sep 1919 Rockhampton ;
Merv Lilley was reared on a dairy farm, The Springs, Upper Ulam, via Bajool (Central Queensland). After his schooling at the local state school he worked in dairying , then cane farming; later he was cowboy rough-rider, breaker and drover. He served in the army between 1941 and 1944, then released to the timber industry. Other positions included wool presser, fencer and miner. He joined the Communist Party of Australia in 1943 and remained a member until the twentieth congress of the CPSU in 1956. He also worked at sea as a fireman on the inter-island coastal area.
As a boy, Lilley wrote freelance for the Central Queensland Herald. He was a poet and writer of songs and short stories from the early 1950s, when he had encountered the Sydney Bush Music Club and he wrote for them in broadsheets. He married Dorothy Hewett (q.v.) in 1960. They lived in Perth, where Lilley mowed lawns to earn a living; then Sydney and, until Hewett's death, in the Blue Mountains area. He is writing a memoir of his forty years with Dorothy Hewett.