Lady Barker was an English gentlewoman temperamentally suited to meeting the challenges of pioneer life in the colonies. During her three-year farming sojourn in New Zealand's Canterbury, she learned the art of independent thought and laid the basis for becoming a professional writer. Her letters home formed the basis of Station Life in New Zealand which became a colonial classic, as did books about subsequent experiences in South Africa and Western Australia.

Mary Anne Stewart was born in 1831 in Spanish Town, Jamaica, where her father was Acting Colonial Secretary. At the age of four she was sent to live with her grandfather near Dublin for the sake of health and education. At sixteen her meagre education petered …

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Jones, Jenny Robin. "Lady Mary Anne Barker". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 December 2004
[, accessed 01 October 2016.]