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Born at Manly, New South Wales, Australia in 1960, Bennett’s parents divorced before her birth. She was raised by her mother and grandparents in the family home at Seaforth and attended Mackellar Girls High School at Manly Vale and Ku-ring-gai High School at North Turramurra. In 1979 she enrolled at the Alexander Mackie College of Advanced Education attaining a Diploma of Fine Arts in 1982 and a Graduate Diploma in Art Studies the subsequent year.