Australian Women's Register

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Grover, Jessie (1843 - 1906)

9 June 1843
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
17 March 1906
St Kilda, Victoria, Australia
Journalist, Print Journalist and Sericulturalist
Alternative Names
  • Gladys (pen name)
  • Humming Bee (pen name)
  • Iris (pen name)
  • McGuire, Jessie (birth name)
  • Queen Bee (pen name)


The daughter of inn-keepers, Jessie Grover dabbled in sericulture before turning to journalism. In 1873 Jessie and her friend Mrs Sara Florentia Bladen-Neill thought that the silk production industry would be a fit one for women, and so formed the Victorian Ladies' Sericultural Co. Ltd, with Jessie as managing director. The company articles specified that 'No person but a woman shall be eligible as a Director'. Prominent Melbourne women took up most of the £4 shares. The government made a grant of 600 acres (242.8 ha) of hilly land at Harcourt, near the Mount Alexander diggings, where bluestone buildings were erected and thousands of mulberry trees planted. The surveyor had fixed on the wrong location, however, and the enterprise collapsed after several years of intensive effort.

When her mother died in 1879 she left the bulk of her estate to her daughters. This meant that Jessie and her husband, Harry, were now able to buy a large house at St Kilda and live mainly from their investments. Harry contributed humorous items to Melbourne Punch. Jessie was social editor of the Melbourne Bulletin in 1880-86, and Australian correspondent for the Queen (London). She covered events at Government House, garden parties, charity bazaars and a few scandals in a human and personal style. She wrote under various pseudonyms such as 'Gladys', 'Iris', 'Humming Bee' and 'Queen Bee'. Her son, Montague continued the journalist tradition she established.



c. 1880 - c. 1900
Career in journalism active

Sources used to compile this entry: Cannon, Michael, 'Grover, Jessie (1843-1916)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography Online, Australian National University, 2006,

Archival resources

National Library of Australia, Manuscript Section

  • Papers of Montague Grover 1880-1931 [manuscript]., 1880 - 1931, MS 6268; National Library of Australia, Manuscript Section. Details

Nikki Henningham

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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