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Mary Gilmore
Descendants National Portraits Gallery - Australian Dictionary of Biography
Mary Gilmore
The poet and writer Mary Gilmore grew up in the Wagga Wagga district of New South Wales in the 1860s and 1870s, a period of profound social and ecological change in southern New South Wales.
During these decades, closer settlement legislation and the arrival of the Great Southern Railway sparked a dramatic intensification of agricultural development in the Wagga district.
Town growth and the arrival of farming families displaced Wiradjuri survivors of violence and disease from station camps and waterways. Through her father Donald Cameron, who held the Wiradjuri people in great regard, and from her own experiences, Mary learned much about the ways that Wiradjuri thought and lived. She later recorded her childhood memories of the Wagga district.

Gilmore's memories are worth exploring at length, as they offer a rare and valuable insight into early Wagga history. Mary Jean Cameron was born on 16 August 1865 at Cotta Walla near Goulburn, New South Wales. When she was one year old her parents, Donald and Mary Ann, decided to move to Wagga Wagga to join her maternal grandparents, the Beatties, who had moved there from Penrith, New South Wales in 1866.
Her father obtained a job as a station manager at a property, Cowabbie 100 km north of Wagga. A year later, he left that job to become a carpenter, building homesteads on properties in Wagga, Coolamon, Junee, Temora and West Wyalong for the next 10 years. This itinerant existence allowed Mary only a spasmodic formal education; however she did receive some on their frequent returns to Wagga, either staying with the Beatties or in rented houses.
Her father purchased land and built his own house at Brucedale on the Junee Road, where they had a permanent home. She was then to attend, albeit briefly, Colin Pentland's private Academy at North Wagga Wagga and, when the school closed, transferred to Wagga Wagga Public School for two and a half years. At 14, in preparation to become a teacher, she worked as an assistant at her Uncle's school at Yerong Creek, New South Wales.

After completing her teaching exams in 1882, she accepted a position as a teacher at Wagga Wagga Public School where she worked until December 1885. After a short teaching spell at Illabo she took up a teaching position at Silverton near the mining town of Broken Hill. There Gilmore developed her socialist views and began writing poetry.
Literary career
In 1890, she moved to Sydney, where she became part of the "Bulletin school" of radical writers. Although the greatest influence on her work was Henry Lawson it was A. G. Stephens, literary editor of The Bulletin, who published her verse and established her reputation as a fiery radical poet, champion of the workers and the oppressed.
She followed William Lane and other socialist idealists to Paraguay in 1896, where they had established a communal settlement called New Australia two years earlier. There she married Billy Gilmore in 1897. By 1902 the socialist experiment had clearly failed and the Gilmore returned to Australia, where they took up farming near Casterton, Victoria.
Gilmore's first volume of poetry was published in 1910, and for the ensuing half-century she was regarded as one of Australia's most popular and widely read poets.[citation needed] In 1908 she became women's editor of The Worker, the newspaper of Australia's largest and most powerful trade union, the Australian Workers Union (AWU). She was the Union's first woman member. The Worker gave her a platform for her journalism, in which she campaigned for better working conditions for working women, for children's welfare and for a better deal for the Indigenous Australians.
Later life Mary Gilmore, aged 83
By 1931 Gilmore's views had become too radical for the AWU, but she soon found other outlets for her writing. She later wrote a regular column for the Communist Party's newspaper Tribune, although she was never a party member herself. In spite of her somewhat controversial politics, Gilmore accepted appointment as a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1937, becoming Dame Mary Gilmore. She was the first person to be granted this award for services to literature. During World War II she wrote stirring patriotic verse such as

Career Highlights Dame Mary Gilmore is the female face of the Australian $10 note.
When she died, aged 97, Dame Mary was given a State funeral by both the Federal and New South Wales state governments.
Her funeral was attended by all members of the New South Wales Cabinet.
Dame Mary donated the Archibald winning portrait painted by William Dobell in 1957 to the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Aged 16 she became a pupil-teacher and in 1887, after passing the IIIA teachers' examination, Mary was appointed as a temporary assistant at Silverton Public School.
During the 1890s Mary became interested in social reform and supported the maritime and shearers' strikes. since she was employed as a teacher, Mary wrote under the pen names Em Jaycey, Sister Jaycey and Rudione Calvert.
At about this time she met and became a life-long friend of Henry Lawson.
Mary became the first women member of the Australian Workers Union, later became a member of the executive.
1895 join William Lane's New Australia Movement. She sailed to his Cosme settlement in Paraguay, arriving January 1896. and married shearer William Gilmore (1866-1945). their only son William was born, the family left the settlement visited Henry Lawson and family in London. then returned to Australia.
Mary was able to re-establish her writing and political links. In 1903 she was featured on the Bulletin's 'Red Page' and she helped with campaigning for the Labor Party in the 1906 and 1910 federal elections for the seat of Wannon. In 1908 Mary edited the woman's page of the Australian Worker, until 1931.

Founder-member of the Lyceum Club (Sydney)
Founder and vice-president of the Fellowship of Australian Writers
Member of the New South Wales Institute of Journalists
Life member of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

The passionate heart
Hound of the road;
The tilted cart
Fourteen Men,

Mary Gilmores Poems:

1918 - Her second volume of poetry, The passionate heart, reflected her horrified reaction to World War I.
1922 - a collection of essays entitled Hound of the road.
1930 - Her book of verse, The wild swan
Radical themes, anguish over the ravaging of the land by white civilisation and the destruction of Aboriginal lore, made it her most impressive work to that point.
1931 - The rue tree, largely of religious verse, 1934 - Old days 1935 - old ways . Her twin books of prose reminiscences
No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest
Mary Gilmore 1940 ( first published in the 29 June 1940 edition of The Australian Women's Weekly.)

Sons of the mountains of Scotland,
Welshmen of coomb and defile,
Breed of the moors of England,
Children of Erin's green isle,
We stand four square to the tempest,
Whatever the battering hail-
No foe shall gather our harvest,
Or sit on our stockyard rail.

Our women shall walk in honour,
Our children shall know no chain,
This land, that is ours forever,
The invader shall strike at in vain.
Anzac!...Tobruk!...and Kokoda!...
Could ever the old blood fail?
No foe shall gather our harvest,
Or sit on our stockyard rail.
So hail-fellow-met we muster,
And hail-fellow-met fall in,
Wherever the guns may thunder,
Or the rocketing air-mail spin!
Born of the soil and the whirlwind,
Though death itself be the gale-
No foe shall gather our harvest
Or sit on our stockyard rail.

We are the sons of Australia,
of the men who fashioned the land;
We are the sons of the women
Who walked with them hand in hand;
And we swear by the dead who bore us,
By the heroes who blazed the trail,
No foe shall gather our harvest,
Or sit on our stockyard rail.

In 1910 her first collections of poems Marri'd, was published.

IT’S singin’ in an’ out,
An’ feelin’ full of grace;
Here ’n’ there, up an’ down,
An’ round about th’ place.

It’s rollin’ up your sleeves,
An’ whit’nin’ up the hearth,
An’ scrubbin’ out th’ floors,
An’ sweepin’ down th’ path;

It’s bakin’ tarts an’ pies,
An’ shinin’ up th’ knives;
An’ feelin’ ’s if some days
Was worth a thousand lives.

It’s watchin’ out th’ door,
An’ watchin’ by th’ gate;
An’ watchin’ down th’ road,
An’ wonderin’ why he’s late;

An’ feelin’ anxious-like,
For fear there’s something wrong;
An’ wonderin’ why he’s kep’,
An’ why he takes so long.

It’s comin’ back inside
An’ sittin’ down a spell,
To sort of make believe
You’re thinkin’ things is well.

It’s gettin’ up again
An’ wand’rin’ in an’ out;
An’ feelin’ wistful-like,
Not knowin’ what about;

An’ flushin’ all at once,
An’ smilin’ just so sweet,
An’ feelin’ real proud
The place is fresh an’ neat.

An’ feelin’ awful glad
Like them that watch’d Silo’m;
An’ everything because
A man is comin’ Home!

Dame Mary Gilmore

In 1912 Mary and her son Billy went to live in Sydney while William joined his brother at Cloncurry in North Queensland. By 1918 her second book of poetry, The passionate heart was published and her first book of prose, Hound of the road; The tilted cart followed in 1924. Mary's writing was regularly in print, with her last collection of poetry, Fourteen Men, published in 1954 when Mary was 89. Besides being a prolific writer, Mary was also a founder-member of the Lyceum Club (Sydney), founder and vice-president of the Fellowship of Australian Writers, member of the New South Wales Institute of Journalists and life member of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Dame Mary Gilmore's ashes were buried in her husband's grave at Cloncurry cemetery. In her later years, Gilmore, separated from her husband, moved to Sydney, and enjoyed her growing status as a national literary icon. Before 1940 she published six volumes of verse and three editions of prose. After the war Gilmore published volumes of memoirs and reminiscences of colonial Australia and the literary giants of 1890s Sydney, thus contributing much material to the mythologising of that period. Dame Mary Gilmore died in 1962, aged 97, and was accorded the first state funeral accorded to a writer since the death of Henry Lawson in 1922.

Gilmore's image appears on the Australian $10 note, along with an illustration inspired by "No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest" and, as part of the copy-protection microprint, the text of the poem itself.

In 1973 she was honoured on a postage stamp bearing her portrait issued by the Australia Post.

The Canberra suburb of Gilmore and the federal electorate of Gilmore are named after her.

famous Poets

Mary Gilmore was born near Goulburn, New South Wales. She became a teacher and a writer and was editor of the women's pages of the Australian Worker newspaper for 23 years.

In 1886, Gilmore went to Paraguay in South America to join a group of Australians who planned to set up a new colony where everyone would be equal and would work together. This colony was not successful.

After some years, Gilmore came back to Australia with her husband. She spent the rest of her life writing, doing her editing work and fighting for people who needed help. These included Aboriginal people, children who were forced to work in factories and shearers who were being underpaid. She also fought hard for women's rights.

In 1937 she was made Dame Mary Gilmore by King George VI. A suburb of Canberra is named after her and her picture is on the $10 note (along with Henry Lawson the only 2 Australian writers to be featured) and on a few of Australia's stamps. Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

Dame Mary Gilmore, Australia's 'grand old lady of letters', was the author of over twenty books, the subject of a controversial Dobell portrait, and later featured with Banjo Paterson on the first polymer $10 note. In her final eight years, Dame Mary's life was a succession of visitors and housekeepers, sufficient to tax the health of any ninety year old.

Dame Mary, however, wouldn't have it any other way - she loved company and found several of her housekeepers tiresome and overbearing - a frequently reciprocated feeling.

Towards the end of 1954, after four months convalescence following an operation, Mary returned to her flat in Sydney's cosmopolitan Kings Cross.

Mary found her housekeeper, Trilbie Crombie, had resigned to go to Queensland. A 'succession of house-keepers' followed and 'some disastrous experiences' with help, as her official biographer, W. H. Wilde, recorded in Courage a Grace , one of several books covering Dame Mary's life and writing. In November 1955 her doctor confined her to bed with pneumonia and pleurisy, and forbade any visitors. A Miss Lahey was retained as housekeeper, but throngs of visitors continued to arrive. 'They came in droves,' Mary wrote in her diary in early December, 'they keep me alive.'

On the eve of her ninety-first birthday in 1956, bookman Walter Stone arranged a tribute evening for Dame Mary at Paddington Town Hall, Sydney. Hilda Lane was among the seven hundred guests. She was a niece of William Lane, leader of the utopian 'New Australia' settlement in Paraguay over sixty years earlier, and the first child born to the self-exiled Australian community.

Mary joined the colonists there as a schoolteacher in 1895; Hilda Lane became her close companion for Mary's remaining six years, visiting her flat weekly to look after her on the housekeeper's day off.

But Dame Mary's difficulties with housekeepers magnified when, after three years, Miss Lahey departed.

Walter Stone, Sydney bibliophile, arranged 91st birhday party with 700 guests for Dame Mary Her biographer summed the situation:
'Mary seldom conceded that looking after her was an onerous task. All that was required was an able-bodied, mentally alert woman of impeccable honesty, spotless cleanliness, economical habits, inexhaustible patience and a strong preference for the Labor Party.'

Two other housekeepers came and went within a month.

Dame Mary had a 'succession of housekeepers' through her flat in Kings Cross during late 1950's
Then Miss Sophie Moore arrived, with a single suitcase, in time for Christmas 1958 and lasted until mid-March.'When she left,' Mary noted in her diary, 'she needed almost a second taxi for her cases, parcels and bags - the empty house felt like heaven.' Within a couple of days, Mary had retained an English nurse, Mrs Antoinette Ross, for the job. The recurring question about too many visitors arose shortly afterwards. Mrs Ross felt they placed a strain on Mary's health and suggested she would shut the door to them.

'Well,' Mary informed her firmly, 'I shall have to sit outside the door as I would want to see them'. The point was never raised again. The pair formed a comfortable relationship and when, a year later, Mrs Ross left to go to New Zealand, Mary wrote in her diary 'I will never be able to replace her. I feel like a homeless orphan today.'

Crowned 'May Queen' in 1961, Mary had "a strong preference for the Labor Party"

"Nothing I could say or do was right," Dame Mary diarised
While efforts were made to find another house-keeper, Mary enjoyed the company of an old friend, Hilda Lane.

Housekeepers literally came and went - nine in six months .

Mrs Renshaw, the first, changed her mind before arriving; Mrs Crawford survived for one day; then Miss Hayes, and Miss Voss, who, according to Mary, was 'the strangest person - nothing I could say or do was right'; Mrs Patterson went shopping one morning and never returned! And so the roll call continued.

Another applicant, Miss Waring, claimed to be an adoring Mary Gilmore fan. By the time her four months tour of duty concluded, her views had apparently changed. Mary's diary for 20 January 1961 reads 'she declared me to be arrogant and aggressive, and the greatest egomaniac she had ever known.'

Two weeks later, Miss Serisier filled the position. She, the diary shows, 'worshipped at the shrine of Woolworths' and once got lost going to Macleay Street, a short walk from Mary's Darlinghurst Road flat. Fortunately, help was at hand. Mrs Ross returned from New Zealand in June 1961 and resumed her old post, staying until Mary's death eighteen months later. Dame Mary Gilmore, in her ninety-seventh year, suffered a sudden onset of broncho-pneumonia on 2nd December 1962 from which she did not recover.

She died clasping the hand of Mrs Antoinette Ross, her faithful housekeeper.

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Stage show< Bille Brown?s Bill and Mary Posted on Tuesday, August 20 @ 17:57:15 EST by Kate Douglas stebo writes: Optus Playhouse QPAC, Brisbane. 12-31 August 2002 "Australians," Mary Gilmore declares, "have short memories!" Her firm conviction - and Mary Gilmore is one for firm convictions - confided in William Dobell is that neither they nor their work are going to be remembered beyond their deaths. This yearning for a useful kind of immortality underpins the action of Bille Brown's Bill and Mary. It is with an embarrassed sense of shame that I have to confess here that my own awareness of Dame Mary Gilmore's marvellous life stretches little beyond an unconfident Trivial Pursuit nerd's recollections that, like the bloke who had something to do with wheat turning up on the old two dollar bill, Dame Mary's is the face on that other more recent bluish coloured note. In fact it is Dobell's portrait of Mary Gilmore that comprises part of the image of the Australian ten dollar note, and QTC's production of Bill and Mary is something of a restoration job in itself: a theatrical dusting-off of an Old Australian Master. Dobell's commission to paint Gilmore's portrait serves as the dramatic context for Brown's play, which is in itself an affectionate and rigorous portrait of the two iconic Australians. At age 90, Gilmore agrees to sit for the internationally renowned artist because she likes his work, despite the recent controversy surrounding Dobell's rendering of a mutual friend, Joshua Smith. The Smith portrait depicted a distorted, elongated Smith, a likeness the subject abhorred. The ensuing fiasco ended their friendship. An apprehensive "get this right" tension is thus established from the outset. Over the course of the sittings, the increasingly physically frail but otherwise indefatigable Gilmore reveals more and more of her personal history, her private and political passions, and more than one diatribe on Australian public life, the nation's leadership, the cultural role of the Australian Left and the ALP, and the country's shameful treatment of its original inhabitants. The most interesting of these series of illuminations was, for me, Gilmore's participation in William Lane's New Australian socialist Utopian settlement in Paraguay, a doomed but fascinating social experiment during which Gilmore met her husband, William Gilmore, and after which Gilmore became a celebrated poet, prose writer, and social and political crusader. In many ways, Brown's play is an old-fashioned one: part history lesson, part literary portrait, and therein perhaps lies its strength. There is no structural affectation, no arty flourish or contrivance here. Just good, hard, well-researched, intelligent slog. The piece requires similar unadorned slog from its two actors, and receives it in spades from its author, and the irrepressible Carol Burns. Burns' task, made all the more daunting by the shoes she had to step in to (the part was originally written for the late Ruth Cracknell,) is formidably surmounted in a brilliant individual performance. Burns inhabits Gilmore's 90-something physical form and revels in the range of emotional shifts that constitute the dominant part of the play's dramatic turns: grimly fatalistic, frail, determined and ultimately triumphant in a no-nonsense sort of way. Gilmore's no-nonsense (Presbyterian?) personal ethic informs the show's interpretation from title ("Bill, Bill, Bill. I'm surrounded by Bills") through to design. Bruce McKinven's set is a life-like King's Cross apartment, and constitutes the entirety of Mary's (and our) physical world, opening up to a vast, empty gallery space at play's end. Matt Scott's lighting is characteristically sharp and sympathetic. Brett Collery's soundscape was functional, though subdued. Given that the set looked out onto the streets of Kings Cross, and the life "out there" was occasionally referred to, it would have been interesting to have more of this world intrude into the lives of the characters. Given all the of the play's "Bills," there was ample opportunity for an indulgent presence from that other omniscient Bill, the play's author, but Brown's performance and presence on stage was poised and respectful, taking second place in many ways to the Dame and to the text itself. Only in the climax scene, during Gilmore's initial reaction to Dobell's portrait of her, and in the artist's defence of the work and his full admission of the dreadful physical and psychological toll the Joshua Smith fiasco took upon him, is Brown overly-restrained. In emotional terms, the defence and counterpoint doesn't quite match the accusation and initial thrust parried at him by Gilmore. The individual scenes where Dobell addresses the audience directly from his own apartment to reveal personal qualms and responses to the work at hand were arguably superfluous. An interchange with a dog off-stage felt as though it was an extraneous pretext for a costume or set change elsewhere. These reservations aside, Bill and Mary stand as a fine, intelligent piece of writing, and an engaging, informative night at the theatre. At $50 a head, it may limit the demographic that gets to see it, but if you're able to convince the box office you're 25 or under for the special student discount price - take full advantage. Dame May Bio
Source http://www.jrank.org/literature/pages/4150/Dame-Mary-Gilmore.html Australian poet, born in New South Wales. After a childhood spent in the bush, she taught in mining towns and in Sydney, and became involved with contemporary radical movements. Her poetry first appeared in Bulletin from 1903 onwards, and in 1912 she published her first collection, Marri'd and Other Verses. This was followed by numerous others, including The Passionate Heart (1918), an indictment of war; The Tilted Cart (1925); The Wild Swan (1930); and Under the Wilgas (1932), in all of which she combined short, lyrical poems with polemical outbursts against injustice and inhumanity. Battle-fields (1939) contains her most strongly radical verse. Her last volume, Fourteen Men (1954), published when she was almost 90, offers her calm reflections on death. She also published two volumes of reminiscences and anecdotes, Old Days: Old Ways (1934) and More Recollections (1935), both of which express her love of the Australian landscape and her concern for the Aboriginal people. She was created a Dame for her services to literature and society in 1936. Read more: Dame Mary Gilmore Biography - (1865–1962), Bulletin, Marri'd and Other Verses, The Passionate Heart, The Tilted Cart - Published, Australian, and Radical - JRank Articles http://www.jrank.org/literature/pages/4150/Dame-Mary-Gilmore.html#ixzz1qIxvUIqw

Source http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Mary+Gilmore Gilmore, Mary Born Aug. 16, 1865, near Goulburn, New South Wales; died Dec. 3, 1962, in Sydney. Australian poet. Attracted by the ideas of the Utopian socialist W. Lane, Gilmore took part in the founding of the New Australia commune in Paraguay (1893-99). For 23 years she worked on the trade union newspaper The Worker. She wrote about the love of a woman and mother and about the joys and concerns of family life (the collection In the Family and Other Poems, 1910). Australia appears in Gilmore’s poetry, arrayed in its aboriginal legends and distinctive landscape; the trials and tribulations of its working people and the struggle of a courageous people for social justice are also depicted. Her collections include The Passionate Heart (1918), The Covered Wagon (1925), The Wild Swan (1930), Under the Wilgas (1932), and For the Australian Homeland (1945). In 1964 the union councils of Melbourne, Brisbane, and Newcastle established a Gilmore Prize for literature.

Guide to the Papers of Dame Mary Gilmore http://nla.gov.au/nla.ms-ms8766

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/07/25/1059084197443.html Mary Gilmore's Quest for Love and Utopia at the World's End

http://www.civicsandcitizenship.edu.au/cce/gilmore,9133.html Dame Mary Gilmore Dame Mary Gilmore (1865–1962) Mary Gilmore was born near Goulburn, New South Wales. She became a teacher and a writer and was editor of the women's pages of the Australian Worker newspaper for 23 years. In 1886, Gilmore went to Paraguay in South America to join a group of Australians who planned to set up a new colony where everyone would be equal and would work together. This colony was not successful. After some years, Gilmore came back to Australia with her husband. She spent the rest of her life writing, doing her editing work and fighting for people who needed help. These included Aboriginal people, children who were forced to work in factories and shearers who were being underpaid. She also fought hard for women's rights. In 1937 she was made Dame Mary Gilmore by King George VI. A suburb of Canberra is named after her and her picture is on the $10 note and on stamps

http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/using/copies/microform/feminist/gilmore.html Australian feminist manuscripts - Mary Jean Gilmore (1865?1962) Dame Mary Jean Gilmore (1865–1962) Papers, 1911–1950 ZML A3252-A3293/7; 49 volumes. Dame Mary Gilmore, writer, was born on 16 August 1865 at Mary Vale, Woodhouselee, near Goulburn, New South Wales. She worked as a schoolteacher at Silverton, Neutral Bay, and Stanmore, New South Wales. In 1895 she sailed for Paraguay, South America, to join William Lane's socialist settlement of 'Cosme'. She met William Gilmore there and married him in 1897. She returned to Australia in 1902. Back in Sydney, Mary was attracted to the busy literary and political scene but acknowledging her family responsibilities, went with her husband to Strathdownie, near Casterton in western Victoria, where her husband's parents owned a property. Mary Gilmore requested that the Australian worker should have a special page for women. In 1908 Mary was writing it herself. She was to edit the 'Women's page' until 11 February 1931. Mary also began campaigning for the Labor Party. Her first collection of poems, Marri'd, and other verses, simple colloquial lyrics, written mainly at Cosme and Casterton, commenting on the joys, hopes and disappointments of life's daily round, was published in 1910. The Gilmores left Casterton in 1912 — Mary and her son going to Sydney. Mary, and Will her husband, were rarely reunited in the years that followed. Over the years, Mary Gilmore campaigned in The worker and other available forums for a wide range of social and economic reforms such as votes for women, old-age and invalid pensions, child endowment and improved treatment of returned servicemen, the poor and deprived, and above all the Aboriginal peoples. To mark the considerable public acclaim for her literary and social achievements, she was appointed DBE in 1937. Mary Gilmore's significance is both literary and historical. Her best verses are among the permanent gems of Australian poetry. As patriot, feminist, social crusader and folklorist, she has now passed into Australian legend. (Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9: 1891–1939: Melbourne, Melbourne University Press, 1983, p.14-16)