Nettie Palmer was born Janet Gertrude Higgins in Bendigo, Victoria and was schooled at the Prebyterian Ladies' College. After taking a BA and diploma in education from the University of Melbourne, she travelled to England and continued her studies in French and German. She returned to Melbourne and completed an MA in 1912. In 1914 she returned to England and married Vance Palmer, beginning one of Australia's most important literary partnerships. ..