Zora Cross

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Zora Cross
Zora Cross.jpg
Born Zora Bernice May Cross
(1890-10-18)18 October 1890
Eagle Farm, Queensland, Australia
Died 22 January 1964(1964-01-22) (aged 73)
Glenbrook, New South Wales, Australia
Nationality Australian
Occupation poet and novelist
Known for Songs of Love and Life
Parent(s) Ernest William Cross (accountant) and Mary Louisa Eliza Ann, nee Skyring

Zora Bernice May Cross (18 May 1890 – 22 January 1964) was an Australian poet, novelist and journalist.


Zora Bernice May Cross was born on May 18, 1890 on Eagle Farm, Brisbane to Earnest William Cross and Mary Louisa Eliza Ann. Her father was a Sydney born accountant.[1] Cross published and was known for her serialised novels, books of poems and children's verse and inherited her love for literature from both her parents. She was educated at Ipswich Girls' Grammar School and then Sydney Teachers' College from 1909 to 1910.

On March 11, 1911, she married Stuart Smith but later refused to live with him; the marriage was dissolved on September 10, 1922. She taught for three years and then worked as a journalist, for the Boomerang and then as a freelance writer.[2] Later on in her life, Cross and David McKee Wright had two daughters.

In 1916 she submitted her first novel, on an aboriginal theme but the publisher refused to publish this work. That same year a book of poems, A Song of Mother Love, was published.

In 1917 Cross published Songs of Love and Life, some of which had already appeared in The Bulletin, which was highly influential in Australian culture and politics until after the First World War, and was then noted for its nationalist, pro-labour, and pro-republican writing. This book and her book of similar poems, The Lilt of Life in 1918 were an expression of her love for Wright.

In 1918 she also wrote the children's verse The City of Riddle-mee-ree (1918), and then the more sombre Elegy on an Australian Schoolboy (1921), in memory of her 19-year-old soldier brother, John Skyring Cross.

Her 1924 book Daughters of the Seven Mile illustrated her awareness of developing social and economic stresses in Australia.

She wrote about controversial subjects for the time such as sex, childbirth, Aboriginal communities and war.

Throughout her life Zora supported herself and her children, after the death of Wright in 1928, by acting, teaching and as a freelance journalist.

As Bernice May, she wrote a regular column in the 1930s for the Australian Women's Mirror.[2]



  • Daughters of the Seven Mile (1924)
  • The Lute-Girl of Rainyvale (1925)
  • Sons of the Seven Mile (1927)
  • The Victor (1933)
  • This Hectic Age (1944)

Poetry collections[edit]

  • A Song of Mother Love (1916)
  • Songs of Love and Life (1917)
  • The Lilt of Life (1918)
  • The City of Riddle-Me-Ree (1918)


  1. ^ Green, Dorothy. Cross, Zora Bernice May (1890–1964). Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. 
  2. ^ a b Adelaide (1988) p. 42


  • Adelaide, Debra (1988) Australian women writers: a bibliographic guide, London, Pandora

External links[edit]