(1870-1953) Irish writer and journalist, resident in Papua from 1907 and in Australia from 1936, popular in her day for novels and stories set in the South Seas. BG allied herself to the feminist movement of the 1890s, a mood reflected in her first novel, Broken Away (1897). She was the first white woman to ascend the Sepik river in New Guinea; her photographic studies of the area were published as In the Strange South Seas (1907). Her South-Sea series started with Vaiti of the Islands (1906-1907 Pearson's; 1907), which told of the entrepreneurial activities of the daughter of a white sea captain and a Polynesian princess. Her most popular book was Conn of the Coral Seas (1922), a love story set among cannibals. Only two novels come close to Supernatural Fiction: The Sorcerer's Stone (1914), featuring local Magic, and The Terrible Island (1920), a Rationalized Fantasy about an accursed treasure. Victorian Family Robinson (1934) contrasts the lives of a Victorian family shipwrecked on a desert island with those of descendants of survivors shipwrecked a century earlier. The supernatural surfaces more frequently in her short stories. Her most rewarding collections are The Valley of Never-Come-Back (coll 1923), The Beach of Terror (coll 1931), The Long Beaches (coll 1933) and Pieces of Gold (coll 1935). BG tells of her own experiences in Isles of Adventure (1930). [MA]
other works: When the Red Gods Call (1911; cut 1921); Nobody's Island (1917); The Coral Palace and Other Tales (coll 1920); My Lady Far-Away (1929); The Mystery of Tumbling Reef (1932).
Beatrice Ethel Grimshaw