Barbara Jane Lawrence was born in Australia to Irish immigrants, although she claimed to be the daughter of a British army officer when looking for work as a governess. In 1880, she married Alexander Frater, Jr., the son of her employers, with whom she had three children. The union was unhappy and the couple were divorced 10 years later. She remarried immediately to Thomas Baynton, a retired surgeon and antiques collector nearly 40 years her senior. She began to write short stories, poetry, and articles for periodicals. Her first published story was The Tramp (1896), which appeared in the Bulletin. In 1902, Mrs. Baynton visited London, where her collection Bush Studies was published and was well received by critics and the public. With the death of her second husband in 1904, Mrs. Baynton established herself as an antiques dealer and society hostess, splitting her time between Australia and England. She contributed occasional articles to the Sydney Morning Herald and wrote her only novel, Human Toll (1907). During World War I, she opened her London house to British and Australian soldiers. In 1921, she married her third husband, Rowland George Allanson-Winn, 5th Baron Headley, and was known as Lady Headley. The following year he went bankrupt and she went back to Australia. She built a lavishly-appointed house at Toorak, a suburb of Melbourne, where she died at age 71.