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Born in South Australia, Jill Roe was educated at the University of Adelaide and the Australian National University.
She was Visiting Professor of Australian Studies at Harvard University in 1994-95, and retired in 2003 as Professor of History, after 36 years at Macquarie University, where she had been a founding member and had exerted a particularly strong influence in the areas of Australian history, women's history and historical biography.
Her publications included a number of works on Miles Franklin, including Stella Miles Franklin (Fourth Estate, 2008) and My Congenials : Miles Franklin and Friends in Letters (Angus and Robertson, 1993). She also wrote on other pioneering Australian writers, including M. Barnard Eldershaw, Catherine Spence, Ada Cambridge, Rosa Praed, and Barbara Baynton.
Roe was an Officer of the Order of Australia (for service to the community through the promotion of Australian history), Doctor of Letters from Macquarie University, Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, Fellow of the Federation of Australian Historical Societies, and Life Member of the History Council of NSW. She was awarded the Australian Dictionary of Biography Medal in 2016 'for long and distinguished service'.
Her final long work was Our Fathers Cleared the Bush : Remembering Eyre Peninsula (Wakefield Press, 2016), in which she revisited her mid-century childhood on the remote Eyre Peninsula, where her grandparents had been early settlers.
2007Order of Australia —
Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)For service to the community through the promotion of Australian history as a researcher and author, through executive roles in professional organsations particularly as Chair, Editorial Board, Australian Dictionary of Biography, and to education.
yStella Miles FranklinHer Brilliant Career : The Life of Stella Miles FranklinPymble:Fourth Estate,2008Z14571132008single work biography 'This biography is an authoritative account of the novelist, journalist, nationalist, feminist and larrikin Stella Miles Franklin, author of My Brilliant Career and a great literary figure. This account follows her story from her beginnings in the Australian bush, through her publishing success and time spent working for the women's labour movement in Chicago, and details her time spent as a nurse in the Balkans during World War I.'