Hodgkinson was born on 13 May 1887 in
South Yarra, a suburb of
Melbourne, to Ada Josephine (née Edmiston) and Albert James Hodgkinson, a sugar planter.
 The family later moved to
Lennox Head, New South Wales,
 and after her father's death, Lorna and her mother moved again to
Perth. After studying at the Perth Girls' School, she began working as a student teacher in 1903.