Stella Adler was born in Vienna, Austria, and after a short apprenticeship in millinery, worked for a year as an untrained preschool teacher before being accepted as a student into the Kindergarten College of the City of Vienna. Graduating in 1932, she opened her own kindergarten and married in 1935. Following the annexation of Austria by Germany in 1938 her husband was sent to Dachau. After successfully working for his release she left with him for Shanghai, China. Adler worked variously as a governess, salesperson, assistant in a doctor's surgery and in a catering business set up by her mother. She divorced her husband in 1943. The end of the war in the Pacific led to better paid work with the American army in transit in Shanghai.
Adler remarried and left for Australia with her second husband in 1949. In Sydney she became the director of a preschool and worked for the next 23 years for the Board of Jewish Education. After retirement in 1978, she studied art at a technical college and began writing. A speaker of German, Italian and French, Adler taught creative writing at the Macquarie Region Evening College for several years and conducted writing workshops for the Fellowship of Australian Writers (FAW) in country towns and Sydney. A member of FAW and of the Australian Society of Women Writers, her short stories were highly commended in the Gooloom Competition and the poem 'Topsy Turvy' was highly commended by the Melbourne Poetry Society. Her work was read on Radio 2RR in 1986, at the Sydney Festival, Hyde Park, 1984 and at many public meetings of FAW. Her poetry and prose writing have appeared in Migrant Mosaic, Jewish News, People Magazine and the Sydney Morning Herald.