- Category : 1865-births
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Split - Small (1)
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Revolution 2
Australian socialist poet and journalist, whose image appears on the Australian $10 note, in the form of a portrait by the well-known Australian artist Sir William Dobell.
In 1890, she moved to Sydney, where she became part of the "Bulletin school" of radical writers.
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. At Lanes breakaway settlement Cosme she married William Gilmore in 1897. By 1900 the socialist experiment had clearly failed. Will left to work as a shearer in Argentina and Mary and her two-year-old son Billy soon followed, living separately in Buenos Aires for about six months, and then the family moved to Patagonia until they saved enough for a return passage, via England, in 1902 to Australia, where they took up farming near Casterton, Victoria.
In 1908 she became women's editor of The Worker, the newspaper of then 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.
Gilmore's first volume of poetry was published in 1910.
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.
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 on 3 December 1962, aged 97, and was accorded the first state funeral accorded to a writer since the death of Henry Lawson in 1922.