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Lesbia Harford, nee; Keogh was born in 1891. She was the eldest of four children and was born with defective heart valves which restricted her mobility and caused her to tire easily, a continual problem that was to amplify with age.
Raised firstly within the middle classes and then with the family bankruptcy and the consequential departure of her father who ran off to the West Australian goldfields, the fact that her mother entered paid work to make sure her children had an education ascribed Harford with a view of society based around both class struggle and feminism.

Her writing of poetry began in her adolescence and continued her work upon entering Melbourne University in 1915. She was one of the first women to study Law and stood apart from her fellow students not just because she was a woman or for her ill health, but for the fact that she was forced to work holidays and weekends to maintain her studies.

Initially she was attracted to free thought and socialism, so began attending lectures and joined a number of student political societies. As a strong believer in free love she entered into a number of relationships whilst sustaining a stern independent streak. The friendships she began at this time were to sustain her through the troubles of later life. One of these was Kate Lush with whom she was lovers for a short time.

she also had a physical relationship with famous Italian-Australian communist writer Guido Barrachi. There was a third person she related..
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