Edward James Brady was born at Carcoar, New South Wales, in 1869. He was educated at Catholic schools in Sydney and matriculated to the University of Sydney but attended only a few lectures. Instead, Brady worked on the wharfs in Sydney, developing a great knowledge of the sea. His work as a shipping clerk inspired the poetry of the sea for which he is most admired. Brady was heavily involved in the Labor movement and ran for Labor pre-selection in West Sydney in 1890.
He worked as a writer and editor for a number of publications and wrote several travel books, drawing on his extensive experience travelling around Australia. His poetry was collected in The Ways of Many Waters (1899), Bush-land Ballads (1910), Bells and Hobbles (1911) and Wardens of the Seas (1933). Brady married several times and continued to write after settling at Mallacoota on Victoria's eastern coast. He died in hospital at Pambula, New South Wales, in 1952.