Mary Gilmore's life spanned almost a century of Australian history. She lived for ninety-seven years and this selection of her letters covers a period of almost seventy years, encompassing the social, political and literary scene of the period when Australia was changing from colony to nation.
The letters contain perceptive judgements of indigenous literary talent as it was emerging; they contain reflections on the pioneer past as she herself had experienced it and reflections on the contemporary political and social environment. Sometimes they express her anger at injustice and deprivation wherever it occurred—in the treatment of the Aborigines, the returned soldiers, women, children, old people, the sick. As she said, 'There was no hunted one with whom I did not run.'
Above all, the letters reflect her immense patriotism and love for her country, her enormous hopes for its future; and they give, often unintentionally, fascinating glimpses of events in which she participated—for example, the New Australia venture in Paraguay - events which are now part of our established history.