GAUNT, Mary Eliza Bakewell (c.1862-1942)


GAUNT, Mary Eliza Bakewell (c.1862-1942)
always known as Mary Gaunt
novelist
eldest daughter of William Henry Gaunt, a Victorian county court judge, was born at Chiltern, Victoria, about 1862. She was educated at Grenville College, Ballarat and the university of Melbourne, where she was one of the first two women students to enroll. She began writing for the press and in 1894 published her first novel Dave's Sweetheart. In the same year she married Dr H. L. Miller of Warrnambool Victoria. He died in 1900, and, finding herself not very well off, Mrs Miller went to London intending to live by her pen. She had difficulties at first but eventually established herself, and was able to travel in the West Indies, in West Africa, and in China and other parts of the East. Her experiences were recorded in five pleasantly written travel books: Alone in West Africa (1912), A Woman in China (1914), A Broken Journey (1919), Where the Twain Meet (1922), Reflecctions in Jamaica (1932). In 1929 she also published George Washington and the Men Who Made the American Revolution. Between 1895 and 1934, 16 novels or collections of short stories were published, mostly with love and adventure interests, not of outstanding merit, though readable and capably written. Some of the short stories are very good. Three other novels were written in collaboration with J. R. Essex. A list of her books will be found in Miller's Australian Literature (vol. II, p.659). In her later years she lived mostly at Bordighera, Italy. She died at Cannes about the beginning of 1942. She had no children.
Her brother, Sir Ernest Frederick Augustus Gaunt (1865-1940), entered the royal navy in 1878, was rear-admiral 1st battle squadron, battle of Jutland, became admiral in 1924, and died in April 1940 after a distinguished career. Another brother, Admiral Sir Guy Reginald Arthur Gaunt (1870-19—), also had a distinguished career before his retiremerit in 1924. He was promoted admiral in 1928 and was alive in 1943. A third brother, Lieut.-Colonel Cecil Robert Gaunt, D.S.O., (1863-1938), had much distinguished service in the British army.
The Times, 5 February 1942; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature; Who Was Who, 1929-1940; Who's Who, 1941; information from registrar, the university of Melbourne.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.