Dorrington's biographical note in the Bulletin Story Book(1901) reads as follows: 'Attended King Edward's Grammar School, Birmingham until his sixteenth year. Came to Australia in 1884; and, after many unsuccessful bids for fortune in Melbourne and Adelaide, began a tour through Australia as a newspaper and general advertising canvasser. Within two years had wandered from Adelaide to Bourke, from Bourke to Torres Straits, working the back towns, and thereby gaining a knowledge of bush life. In 1895 began contributing to the Bulletin. Now  in business in Sydney; devoting his spare time to literature.'
Dorrington's first story collection, Castro's Last Sacrament, and Other Stories (1900) included the stories 'A Bush Tanqueray,' and 'Quilp,' which Colin Roderick finds influenced by Dickens, though it is also a kinder echo of Edgar Allan Poe's grotesques such as 'Hop-Frog.' Dorrington returned to England in 1907 to work mostly in longer fiction, including And the Day Came (1908), and four novels set in or about Australia, including Children of the Cloven Hoof (1911), but with another collection, Stories to the Master, in 1926. Colin Roderick, mentioning H. M. Green's similar view, says that 'In Dorrington's manner there is a thinly veiled glitter of tinself and a noticeable smack of melodrama.' This latter element of 'Quilp' also suggests a strong debt to Edgar Allan Poe.
Most sources give 1874 as the year of Dorrington's birth, but the Bulletin Story Book has it as 1871, as does Dorrington's entry (in his own hand) in A. G. Stephens's 'Australasian Autobiographies', vol.1. (The latter source also states the day and month of birth as 14 August.)