FONDLY REMEMBERED: Gloria Burley was a renowned local author who founded the Whitsunday Writers Festival.
FONDLY REMEMBERED: Gloria Burley was a renowned local author who founded the Whitsunday Writers Festival. Jacob Wilson

Gloria's life a story well told

A SEASONED traveller, bright, witty, funny and a fine writer.

Those words sum up Gloria Burley, the renowned Cannonvale author who died on September 18.

She may have been born in the United Kingdom, but Gloria found her home in the Whitsundays.

Gloria was the driving force in the establishment of the Whitsunday Writers Festival, which began in 2010, and penned two books titled A Rolling Stone Gathers No Husbands and Blood & Guts.

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Husbands chronicled many of her travels, with Gloria visiting more than 100 different countries during her life.

Blood & Guts summed up her exploits as a nurse in regional Australia.

Deb Friend, a longtime friend of Gloria, provided an insight of the woman behind the pages. "She was very entertaining company - funny, bright and witty - and had friends all over the world, who she liked to visit whenever time allowed,” Ms Friend said.

"She was also a fighter and very strong - she beat breast cancer and bowel cancer years ago.

"Gloria was an amazing lady - strong, feisty and not afraid to speak her mind.

"She also had charm and when she wanted to, she could charm the birds from the trees.”

That charm was instrumental in the growth and success of the festival, with authors coming to the festival for the love of the event and the Whitsundays.

One such author was the prolific Peter FitzSimons, who reflected on his memories of Gloria.

"I will remember her fondly. Fine woman. DYNAMO,” he said.

"And I still can't remember how she talked me into coming to the smallest, albeit most charming, writers festival I have ever attended! Vale Gloria.”

She was farewelled at a memorial service at the VMR Building on September 26, where plans were put in place to stage the Whitsunday Writers Festival next year in her honour.

Gloria is survived by her partner Ivan and sister Frances.


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