Mary Christina Dunning was born in Launceston on 15 Nov 1865, the eldest of eight children of John Dunning (1839-1894) and his wife Susannah Sophia Luttrell (1844-1896) who operated the 'Golden Fleece' general store and drapers in Brisbane Street, Launceston. 'Kate Greenaway's Birthday Book for Children', which was presented to Mary by her parents on 28 Jul 1882, is held by the Launceston Library (LMSS 32).
Mary won first prizes for the fruit and nuts she exhibited at the Agricultural and Horticultural Show held at the end of the Tasmanian International Exhibition in Apr 1892. Mary died aged 71 at a private hospital in Launceston on 14 Jun 1937. She was buried privately on 16 Jun 1937 in Section B 15 No. 117 at the Carr Villa Cemetery. Five of Mary's brothers and sisters are pictured in the Launceston Family Album.