Kathleen Wallace was born at Uyetye on Todd River Station, east of Santa Teresa mission. Her mother's country is Therirrerte and her father's country is Todd River side. The area incorporating Santa Teresa is the homeland of her grandfather (mother's father). As the eldest child in her family, Kathleen was entrusted with her grandfather's Dreaming stories.
Kathleen first came to Santa Teresa Mission (Ltyentye Apurte) as a young child to get rations with her family. She was given the name Kathleen by the nuns and stayed, living in the mission dormitory and attending school there until she was 19.
Kathleen started to paint watercolour landscapes at school during the 1950s, tutored by a visiting European artist, Mr Sojack. She worked as a teacher's assistant and assistant adult educator, prior to completing a R.A.T.E. teacher's program.
Kathleen started work at the Keringke Art Centre in 1987 and is currently the art room supervisor. Since that time she has become renowned as the leading painter of watercolour landscapes on boxes and on paper and is also the outstanding painter on silk. Her textiles were included in Raiki Wara: Long Cloth from Australia and the Torres Strait, NGV, 1998.