Guide to the Papers of Dame Mary Gilmore


MS 8766

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: ©2008.

Collection Summary

Gilmore, Mary, Dame, 1865-1962
Papers of Dame Mary Gilmore
Date Range
Collection Number
MS 8766
2.55 metres (11 boxes + 2 folios)
Language of Materials
National Library of Australia
This find aid was revised and published with the assistance of the Ray Mathew and Eva Kollsman Trust.


Scope and Content

The papers comprise business and personal correspondence (1905-1961) and writings of Dame Mary Gilmore including manuscripts and draft typescripts of addresses, articles, letters to editors, poetry and other writings. There are also newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, printed material, publications and miscellaneous papers, 1902-1962. Major correspondents include Larry Chaplin, Joan Hendry, Enid Morton (Acting Secretary, Mary Gilmore Awards), Hilda Brotherton (President, Brisbane Writers Guild), Marjorie Hancock (Deputy Librarian, Mitchell Library, Sydney), Dame Sybil Thorndike and Walter J. Hucker (Director, Air Programs Australia).


Available for research.

Copying and Publishing

Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.

Preferred Citation

Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], Papers of Dame Mary Gilmore, National Library of Australia, MS 8766, [series and/or file number]'.


This collection of Dame Mary Gilmore papers is a combination of small collections donated to the National Library over many years. Collection numbers MS 309, MS 806, MS 929 and MS 958 have been incorporated into this collection.

Other papers of Dame Mary Gilmore are held at MS 727, MS 1662 & MS 1695; diaries, 1940-49 are held at MS 614 (copies: originals held by Mitchell Library, Sydney). Small collections of letters by Mary Gilmore are held at MS 633, MS 1728, MS 1888, MS 2685 and MS 5644.

Other collections containing letters and papers of Mary Gilmore include the following:

Kate Baker (MS 1533); W.P. Bluett (MS 4714); J.H. Catts (MS 658); Alec Chisholm (MS 1880), M. Condon (MS 2375); Ralph De Boissiere (MS 8402); Harold W. Eather (MS 2015); Edward Findley (MS 2111); Annie Louise Green (MS 8574); Elioth Gruner (MS 8965); Clement Hosking (MS 2680); Norman Jeffery (MS 1948); Marie McNiven (MS 2012); and W. Farmer Whyte (MS 970).

The Library also holds records of the Mary Gilmore Centenary Committee, 1964-65 at MS 1696.


The original order of Series 2 to 9, kept by Dame Mary, has been maintained. The other series have been artificially arranged.

Separated Materials

Other papers of Dame Mary Gilmore are held by the Mitchell Library, Sydney; the Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra; and Charles Sturt University Regional Archives.

Biographical Note

Mary Cameron, poet and journalist, was born at Mary Vale, Woodhouselee, near Goulburn, NSW, on 16 August 1865. She was educated at Brucedale, near Wagga Wagga, and later at Wagga Wagga Public School. Between 1877 and 1895 she taught in a variety of schools in New South Wales. She became involved in the New Australia movement and on 31 October 1895 resigned from teaching and sailed to Paraguay on the Ruapehu. Cameron remained at the Cosme settlement in Paraguay until 1899. 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 Cosme. Before returning to Australia in 1902, she taught English in Rio Gallegos in southern Patagonia and wrote for Buenos Aires papers.

Gilmore's verse first appeared in the Australian Worker in 1902, and from 1908-31 she edited the women's page of this newspaper. Her first published volume, Marri'd and other verses appeared in 1910. Other publications include The passionate heart (1918), Hound of the road ( 1922), The tilted cart (1925), The wild swan (1930), The rue tree (1931), Under the wilgas (1932), Battlefields (1939), and Fourteen men (1954).

In 1937, in recognition of her contribution to Australian literature, she was made a Dame of the British Empire - the first woman to receive this award for services to literature. Dame Mary 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 and life member of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Dame Mary Gilmore died on 3 December 1962.

Item Descriptions

Series 1. Correspondence, 1905-61

This series contains both business and personal correspondence. The major correspondents include: Harry Chaplin, Joan Hendry, Enid Morton (Acting Secretary Mary Gilmore Awards), Hilda Brotherton (President Brisbane Writers Guild), Marjorie Hancock (Deputy Librarian Mitchell Library, Sydney), Dame Sybil Thorndike and Walter J. Hucker (Director Air Programs Australia). (Files 1-4)

Series 2. Pose, page 1

This series contains typescripts, manuscripts and drafts of letters to various newspapers concerning many subjects. The manuscripts and typescripts title's include: 'Dreamers by the Fire'; 'Fourteen Men'; 'My Founding of the F.A.W.'; 'The Inheritor'; 'The Boycott of Poetry in Australia'; 'Aboriginals'; 'Sordid Literature'; 'Is English the only Nasal Tongue'; 'A Tale of a Train' and 'Marraine'. (Files 1-3)

Series 3. Prose, page 2

This series contains manuscript and typescript drafts of articles, addresses, broadcasts, including the following titles: 'Australia, English and Accent'; 'War Again'; 'About Women'; 'The School of Art's Library'; 'Straws in the Wind'; 'The Catechism of Life'; 'Cobbers'; 'The Fog'; 'The F.A.W.'; 'Forward to Broad Acres' and 'Challenge to the Wattle'. Some correspondence and drafts of letters to Editors of various newspapers, notes of recipes and domestic hints are included. (Files 1-5)

Series 4. Prose, page 3

Manuscripts and typescript drafts of articles and addresses are included in this series. Titles include: 'What of Australian Defence'; 'Recollections'; 'Appendix to No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest'; 'The Open Window'; 'Consanguinity and Race' and 'The Recessive'. This series also contains typescript extracts of reviews of Gilmore's works, drafts of letters to newspapers, and manuscript and typescript Hound on the Road, marked 'New Book for St. John of God'. (Files 1-5)

Series 5. Prose, page 4

This series contains drafts of letters to editors concerning many subjects; drafts of addresses, broadcasts on political and religious subjects and manuscripts of untitled poems. Included also are manuscript and typescript notes, including the following titles: 'Yerba Mate of Australia'; 'South America'; 'Nature'; 'Our Neglected Epic'; 'Nationalisation' and 'Recollections'. (Files 1-4)

Series 6. Prose, page 5

This series contains manuscript and typescript drafts of letters to editors on various subjects, including politics, religion, aboriginals, and Australian literature; short paragraphs on different topics and manuscripts entitled 'to be rewritten or recast for publication'. Included also are manuscript and typescript drafts of articles and addresses titled: 'Notes on English Crown'; 'Notes on Patagonis'; 'A Teacher in the Bush'; 'Jewry and the World' and 'Appendix to the Ringer'. (Files 1-4)

Series 7. Prose, page 8

This series contains drafts of letters to editors concerning child adoption, old age pensioners and Christianity. Typescript extracts of reviews of Dame Mary's writings; untitled manuscripts and notes marked 'St John of God's' with various dates are included. Also included are drafts of articles including the following titles: 'Flynn's story'; 'Because of the Daughters'; 'The story of the Two Ferns'; 'Tunes of Memory'; 'Beliefs and Science' and 'Dreamer by the Fire'. (Files 1-4)

Series 8. Prose, page 7

This series contains manuscript and typescript drafts of letters to editors concerning prohibition, censorship, cricket and eugenics; miscellaneous press clippings and some correspondence. Included also are notes for addresses and articles including the following titles: 'Pioneer Women in Australia'; Australia's National flower'; 'Anti-Socialist League' and 'Jane'. (Files 1-4)

Series 9. Prose, page 8

This series includes untitled manuscripts headed 'Stories'; drafts to editors concerning current affairs and Aboriginal words; and manuscripts marked 'Essays'. Included also are manuscript drafts of articles and addresses including the following titles: 'Jane'; 'Hugh Bellamy, sharebroker'; 'The Little cook'; 'The Clover leaf'; 'Hospital sketches and essays'; 'Straws'; 'Recollections'; 'The Wanderer' and 'Note to Richard Delatour'. (Files 1-6)

Series 10. Poetry

This series contains typescript of 'Fourteen Men', book of verses and notes submitted to Commonwealth Literary Fund in 1943; printers proofs of 'Labour Verses' and 'Under the Wilgas; typescript of poems 'The Devil's Chapter'; poems from Marri'd and other verses, The passionate heart, the 'Songs of the people' sequence and her translations from the Spanish; many single-paged poems with an index to first lines; manuscript notes and material marked 'for re-writing and selecting'; typescript of memoirs of Ivy Moore entitled 'High Tide'(unpublished); manuscript notes and index for a book of selected verses chosen by Dame Mary from her writings; and manuscripts of selected verses for a children's book. (Files 1-19)

Series 11. Other writings

This series contains gift copies of poem Hunger and of No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest; advertising materials and order forms for The Wild Swan (published by Robertson and Mullins, 1930) and for The Rue Tree (published by Robertson and Mullins, 1931); typescript and printed copy of Tiddley Winks; and copy of Pro Patria Australia: and other poems. (Files 1-2)

Series 12. Newspaper clippings and scrapbooks, 1909-61

This series contains loose newspaper clippings and two scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings about Gilmore and her writings. (Files 1-3 + 1 Folio)

Series 13. Printed material and publications, 1928-57

This series contains both published and printed materials. Some of the publications contain annotations by Gilmore and inscriptions from the authors. Titles include 'Gilmore Papers: description' (a description of Gilmore papers held at the Mitchell Library); Poems: lyrical and descriptive; Psyche & Eros, Romeo & Juliet; Qantas Aeriana; Dark and White Australians; Newer Poems; Trustie to the End: the story of the Leith-Hall family and The Bookman (newspaper clippings inserted). (Files 1-3)

Series 14. Miscellaneous, 1902-62

This series contains personal papers, including personal references, biographical papers, teaching certificates; invitations and programs; photocopies of correspondence; cover and dedication of Hound on the Road; notes on palafmica; photographs of English Royal Family; kerchief of Royal Family (see map draw); copies of The Lawsonian and file entitled 'Friendship'. (Files 1-5)

Container List

Box Series File(s)
1 1 1-4
1 2 1-3
2 3 1-5
2 4 1-2
3 4 3-5
3 5 1-4
4 6 1-4
4 7 1-3
5 7 4
5 8 1-4
5 9 1-2
6 9 3-6
6 10 1-3
7 10 4-10
8 10 11-17
9 10 18-19
9 11 1-2
10 12 1-4
10 13 1
11 13 2-3
11 14 1-5