- 17 November 1875
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
- 21 March 1945
South Australia, Australia
Hay was born in Adelaide, a distant relative of the famous Victorian literary writer, Sir Edmund Gosse. Educated in Melbourne and at Cambridge, he returned to Adelaide in 1901 where he wrote his three best-known novels, each about Australian convict life, Herridge of Reality Swamp (1907), Captain Quadring (1912) and The Escape of the Notorious Sir William Heans (1919). Hay's writings were more or less ignored in Australia, however, and from 1925 he lived in seclusion with his wife and children near Victor Harbour in South Australia. His reputation in Australia was reassessed with the republishing of The Escape of the Notorious Sir William Heans in 1955 by Melbourne University Press. He had died ten years earlier, from an illness following over-exertion while fighting a local bushfire.