Born: Established: 28 Jul 1877 Tinana ; Died: 4 Sep 1969 Brisbane
Emily Bulcock's long career as a poet and journalist spanned more than sixty-five years. She was the daughter of Mary Jane and Henry Burnett Palmer. Her father was a school teacher with a deep interest in European literature and history and was responsible for much of her education. The family produced a number of writers, the best-known of whom is Vance Palmer, Bulcock's younger brother.
In 1891 Bulcock began teaching with her father after government cutbacks left him needing assistance. Four years later, still only 19, she was appointed the pioneer teacher at a new school at Montville where, in addition to teaching schoolchildren, she also ran literacy courses for local farmworkers.
On 13 April 1903, Bulcock married an orchardist, Robert Bulcock. In 1914 the family moved to Caloundra after Robert's ill health forced him to give up farming, and then to Brisbane in 1917. Robert died in 1924 and several of Bulcock's poems reveal the intense grief she felt at his loss.
After the move to Caloundra Bulcock began to write regularly for Brisbane and southern newspapers and she continued to work as a freelance journalist during the 1920s. In 1922 The Bulletin published her poem celebrating Anzac Day. The poem was given a full page and was illustrated by Norman Lindsay. Bulcock's work appeared in a wide range of publications, including Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne newspapers as well as periodicals such as The Australian Woman's Mirror, The British Australasian, Steele Rudd's Monthly, The School Paper, and Queensland's Wonderland of National Parks. She also edited The Brisbane Centenary Official Historical Souvenir (1924) and wrote the words of 'From the Unseen Anthem', with music by Peter Templeton.
Emily Bulcock was a woman of great compassion and energy. She was a foundation member of the Queensland Country Woman's Association, and the Queensland Authors' and Artists' Association, later the Queensland branch of the Fellowship of Australian Writers. Bulcock served as a committee member from 1925, vice president from 1936 and continued in this position when the Association became the FAW in 1958. In 1964 she was awarded an OBE for services to literature and in 1965 was made a life member of FAW.
As well as assisting many emerging writers, Bulcock helped refugees from Nazi Germany and was an active member of the Save the Children Fund while in her eighties. In 1967, on her ninetieth birthday, the FAW held a reception in her honour.
Emily Bulcock died at the age of 92. She was survived by a son and a daughter, both of whom became writers.
Adapted from Puregger, Marjorie, 'Bulcock, Emily Hemans (18771969), Australian Dictionary of Biography