Elsie Clarice Cole was born in Melbourne from English parents. Her grandfather, mother and brother all composed poetry and both her brother and her grandfather achieved publication. Cole was educated at the South Melbourne College and her principal, the poet John Bernard O'Hara influenced her nature poetry. Cole's first publication was in The Bulletin when she was still at school, which The Bulletin published despite her not having put any address on her contribution.
COME away, come away from the straightness of the road;
I will lead you into delicate recesses
Where peals of ripples ring through the maidenhair’s abode
In the heart of little water wildernesses.