Mary Gilmore’s vigorous life of 97 years was notable for its many achievements and interconnections, recognised today by her enduring presence on the Australian 10 dollar note. As well as producing an extensive corpus of lyric poetry, Gilmore was a teacher and labour movement activist, a contributor to The Bulletin and women’s columnist for the Sydney Worker. She maintained close friendships with leading literary figures including Henry Lawson (to whom she was at one time engaged), and was the first Australian writer to be made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to literature.
One of Gilmore’s more remarkable associations was as an acolyte of utopian William Lane (1861-1917), founder of the New Australia colony in Paraguay, who’s cause she followed to South America in 1895. There she met and married Victorian shearer William Gilmore (1866-1945), another member of Lane’s settlement at Cosme, in May 1897.
Gilmore’s first anthology Marri’d, and Other Verses (Melbourne: George Robertson & Co., 1910) includes the love poem ‘You Will Think of Me Sometimes, Dear’, penned in Paraguay in 1899, probably in August or September after Mary, her husband and son (also William, 1898-1945) quit the utopian community. The poem is a reflection on her absent husband (and forced separation when he travelled to find work), and a meditation on the beauty of the forest landscape near their former home. A handwritten manuscript of the poem together with other early pieces from Marri’d, and Other Verses are housed in the Papers of Mary Gilmore, Special Collections, UNSW Canberra at MSS 62.
Digital Collections | Library (2nd Sep 2020). Marri'd and other verses. In Website Digital Collections | Library. Retrieved 18th Oct 2021 06:24, from https://digitalcollections.library.unsw.edu.au/nodes/view/3081