Daisy Bates, the Edwardian Irishwoman in the Australian outback

Journalist spent four decades living among Aborigines, writing hundreds of articles

Daisy Bates lived with Aboriginal communities for forty years, compiling dictionaries of regional dialects, mythology and legends.

Daisy Bates lived with Aboriginal communities for forty years, compiling dictionaries of regional dialects, mythology and legends.

Born in Tipperary in 1859 and dying in Australia in 1951, Daisy Bates’ life spanned almost a century of intense social change. Orphaned at a young age when her mother died of tuberculosis and her father died while emigrating to the US, Daisy (named Margaret Dwyer from birth) was raised by relatives.

By 1882, Margaret had changed her name to Daisy May and had left Ireland for Australia. The reason for her assuming a new identity was potentially an affair with a Dublin boy which led to his suicide, but biographers differ somewhat on this account - what’s certain is that Daisy May, like many emigrants, took advantage of the potential for reinvention offered by a change of scene.

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