Doris Violet May Wadham was raised and educated in Adelaide, South Australia. After finishing her education at the Adelaide Art School and Murdoch University, she trained as a typist. In 1941, she married Frank Ellis Gare, with whom she had three children. She accompanied him in 1946 to Salamaua in Papua New Guinea, where he was employed as a district welfare officer, and on his other assignments to Carnarvon in Western Australia and Geraldton. Using the pen name Nene Gare, she published her first and best-known novel The Fringe Dwellers in 1961. It was made into a 1986 film of the same title by Bruce Beresford. Her other novels included Green Gold (1963), and she wrote two volumes of reminiscences titled A House with Verandahs (1980) and An Island Away (1981). Her collection of short stories entitled Kent Town (1997) was published posthumously.