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Mary Gilmore Mary Gilmore i(A29320 works by) (birth name: Mary Jean Cameron) (a.k.a. Mary Jean Gilmore; Dame Mary Gilmore)
Also writes as: M. J. C. ; Em Jacey
Born: Established: 16 Aug 1865 Goulburn area, Southern Highlands - Southern Tablelands, Southeastern NSW, New South Wales, ; Died: Ceased: 3 Dec 1962 Sydney, New South Wales,
Gender: Female
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Mary Gilmore (nee Cameron), poet and journalist, was born at Mary Vale, Woodhouselee, near Goulburn, New South Wales. She was educated at Brucedale, near Wagga Wagga, and later at Wagga Wagga Public School. In 1888-89 she began teaching in Silverton, near Broken Hill, where her contacts with the working-class community began her lifelong interest in the Labor movement. In the 1890s she supported the maritime and shearers' strikes and developed associations with Henry Lawson, William Lane, John Farrell and A. G. Stephens.

Gilmore became involved in the 'New Australia' movement and on 31 October 1895 resigned from teaching and sailed to Paraguay on the Ruapehu. In 1896 she joined William Lane's 'New Australia' movement in Paraguay. She married fellow colonist and Victorian shearer William Alexander Gilmore (1866-1945) in 1897, and their only child William Dysart Cameron Gilmore (1898-1945) was born at Villarica, near the Cosme settlement. Cameron remained at the Cosme settlement in Paraguay until 1899. Before returning to Australia in 1902, Gilmore taught English in Rio Gallegos in southern Patagonia and wrote for Buenos Aires newspapers.

In 1903, A. G. Stephens featured Gilmore's poetry in the Red Page of The Bulletin, and in 1908 she became the first editor of the women's page of the Sydney Worker, which she was to run for the next twenty-four years. Gilmore's first volume of poems, Marri'd and Other Verses, appeared in 1910, with other published collections of her verse appearing over the following years.

In 1937, Gilmore was made a Dame of the British Empire in recognition of her contribution to Australian literature. She was the first woman to receive this award for services to literature. Gilmore was a founder of the Lyceum Club, Sydney, a founder and vice-president, in 1928, of the Fellowship of Australian Writers, an early member of the New South Wales Institute of Journalists, Patroness of the Australian Book Society in 1945, and a life member of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Until her death in 1962 she was a constant and willing worker involved in many causes and an indefatigable advocate of the rights of the poor, the struggling and the inarticulate.

Most Referenced Works


  • Gilmore was the sister of John X. Cameron and niece of Jeannie Lockett.
  • Mary Gilmore's portrait appears on the polymer Australian $10 note first issued in 1993.

Personal Awards

2001 recipient Victorian Honour Roll of Woman
1937 The Order of the British Empire Dame Commander (DCB) for services to Australian literature

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Fourteen Men : Verses Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1954 Z81585 1954 selected work poetry
1954 winner ASAL Awards ALS Gold Medal

Known archival holdings

National Library of Australia (ACT)
Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW (NSW)
University of New South Wales Australian Defence Force Academy Australian Defence Force Academy Library (ACT)
University of Queensland University of Queensland Library Fryer Library (QLD)
University of Sydney The University of Sydney Library (NSW)
Last amended 25 Nov 2019 17:21:10
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