Alma De Groen, daughter of Archibald Mathers and Eileen Vertongen, was born in New Zealand and educated at Mangakino District High School. She moved to Australia in 1964 and married in 1965. (She was later divorced.) Influenced by the New Theatre movement, De Groen began writing plays in 1968. She then travelled to England, France and Canada during the late 1960s and early 1970s, returning to Australia in December 1972. While in Canada, her first performed work, The Joss Adams Show, won a National Playwriting Competition (having been performed in both Ontario and Toronto) and was subsequently performed in England and Australia.
De Groen has written numerous plays, most with a strong focus on women and artists, with some covering social issues such as marital relationships and battered-baby syndrome. Her plays are regularly performed in Australia and studied in high schools and universities. She has also written for radio and television.