Dora Wilcox was the daughter of William Henry Wilcox, saddler, and his wife, Mary Elizabeth nee Washbourne. Her father died before she was born. She was educated privately and at Canterbury College, Christchurch. Wilcox began her writing career at an early age with a poem published in New Zealand when she was twelve. She was only eighteen when the Sydney Bulletin published her poems. Wilcox taught for several years at Armidale, New South Wales before travelling to England with her mother. She published several volumes of poetry in England. Wilcox took an active part in the women's suffrage movement and participated in one of the first public processions in London. A. E. Housman (q.v.), the English poet, was one of her friends.
Wilcox married her first husband, J. P. Hamelius, professor of English Literature at Liege University, Belgium, on 14 October 1909 and moved to Belgium from England where she had been living with her mother. They travelled extensively until the outbreak of World War I; he died soon after. Wilcox was attached to the St John's Ambulance Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.) in London from 1915 to 1918 and nursed in military hospitals. She went back to Australia and on 1 October 1923 married William Moore (q.v.), a journalist and art critic, whom she had known in London.
Wilcox assisted Moore with the research on The Story of Australian Art (1934) and in 1927 won the Sydney Morning Herald's prize for an ode commemorating the opening of the Commonwealth parliament. The Community Playhouse, supported by her husband, stimulated her dramatic talent with a competition for short plays. In 1931 she won a prize for a one-act play, The Raid, while The Fourposter was included in Best Australian One-Act Plays (1937). Wilcox was a keen member of the Australian-English Association, president of the Women Writers' Club and Acting President of the Lyceum Club. She was also a member of the Society of Ex-Service Women of N.S.W. and the recipient of a Jubilee Medal.
E. Morris Miller and Frederick T. Macartney's Australian Literature: A Bibliography to 1938:
Extended to 1950 (1956): 493 comments of Dora Wilcox: 'her poetic output is associated mainly with New Zealand, and is frequently descriptive of its scenes, in a thoughtful lyricism accepting the transience of life as contributory to the immortality of nature and art.'
(Source: Adapted from Robert Holden, 'Wilcox, Mary Theodora Joyce (1873-1953)', Australian Dictionary of Biography. Volume 10. MUP. (1986): 572-573; 'We Introduce ..', The Opinion, (15 July - 15 August 1935): 31)..