Katherine Gallagher was born in 1935 in Maldon, Victoria, graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1963 and taught in Melbourne for five years before moving to Europe, living first in London and then in Paris for nine years. In 1979 she moved back to London, working as a secondary teacher and after 1990, as a poetry tutor for the Open College of the Arts, Jackson's Lane, Barnet College and Torriano, London. During this time she co-edited Poetry London as well as working extensively with primary school children. She is currently a member of the Editorial Board of Writing in Education.
In 1978, she was awarded a Writer's Fellowship from the Literature Board, Australia Council, and in 1981, she won the Brisbane Warana Poetry Prize. Her book Passengers to the City (Hale & Iremonger, Sydney, 1985) was shortlisted for the John Bray National Poetry Award. She also writes children's poetry and many of her children's poems have appeared in anthologies. In 1994, her translation from French of Jean-Jacques Celly's poems, The Sleepwalker with Eyes of Clay introduced by Peter Florence, was published by Forest Books, London. In 2000, she was awarded a Royal Literary Fund Award.
From 2002-8, she was Education Officer for Writers Inc and was Writer in Residence at Railway Fields Nature Reserve, Harringay, London, July-October, 2002.
In 2008, she received a London Society of Authors' Foundation Award. Her poems were featured on the A.B.C's POETICA programme, Radio National in June, 2009. She has read her poetry at festivals and universities in the UK, Australia, Germany, Italy and France and her poems have been translated into French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Romanian and Serbian.