Leo St Clare Grondona was born in Melbourne in 1890. He left for the war in Europe in May 1916 and was wounded the following year. Before the conflict, he had been a farmer and had written a novel, Collar and Cuffs: the Adventures of a Jackeroo (1911). In 1929, he stood as a Tory candidate in Camberwell North, losing to Labour’s Charles Ammon.
Grondona became an economist and published The Kangaroo Keeps on Talking: or an All-British Continent (1924), with a foreword by Stanley Baldwin. During the Second World War, Grondona was made camp commandant of Wilton Park, where Italian and German generals were held prisoner.