Snapshots from the Georgiana trail

Finding the details in a story that stretches across Europe and from Scotland to Western Australia has meant doing much of the research remotely, using the Internet and accessing digital files sent by email. Seeing something new on screen is exciting but by far the most wonderful times have been visits to explore the places in John and Georgiana Molloys’ lives.

Here are some photographic memories of our travels in Cumbria, Scotland, London, Warwickshire and Western Australia.

June 6th 1830 and 2016

On 6th June 1830 Georgiana collected some ‘little blue flowers. and placed them in her baby’s coffin before she nailed down the lid. She wrote later that there was very little else in flower because it was the beginning of winter. A few weeks ago Mike and I went to Augusta with botanist Dr Alex […]

Where Georgiana walked

Most of the buildings that still stand in the Carlisle Cathedral precinct would have been familiar to young Georgiana Kennedy in the early 1800s. Like her own family history, they represent many generations who went before. If you visit today, you can walk where she walked and see the same ruins of the original priory […]


This brilliantly coloured Beaufortia squarrosa (Sand bottlebrush) has been flowering steadily now in the bush at home for at six months. It’s growing in very dry, sandy soil and it receives no special care from me, even during the summer when temperatures are in the thirties and there has been no rain for three months. A few […]

Little blue flowers

The research journey of discovering more about Georgiana Molloy and her life has been a long one – more than a decade – and it continues now, even after the publication of the new Picador edition of my book. I think that’s what it is about research that fascinates and motivates and keeps you going […]

One quarter of a penny

This is an 1829 George IV farthing. Prince George acted as Regent during the mental illness of his father, King George III, giving the name ‘Regency’ to a distinctive period of English design in clothing and architecture based on his lavish tastes. In 1821, Georgiana was at boarding school in London when the coronation of […]

Lodes and loads

Old documents fascinate for so many different reasons. Here’s an example of the way a writer’s own world is almost made real again in the words used. This builder was writing to Georgiana’s father requesting payment for materials and work on the family home, Crosby Lodge, in 1807. The amounts owing on this invoice were […]

Tiny details

Minutiae…  Small pieces of information can fascinate.  They don’t usually answer the big questions but they work together in magical ways to bring the past to life.  An individual is placed in a more detailed setting and their world is populated with real objects, against a background of colours and sounds. Even now, for most […]

John Molloy and the Battle of Waterloo

Two hundred years ago today, 18 June 1815, John Molloy survived the Battle of Waterloo. As dusk fell, and after a day of fierce fighting near a country crossroads in Belgium, the men still left alive in his battalion were desperately trying to defend the now famous farmhouse ‘La Haye Sainte’. Lieutenant Molloy was seriously […]

The Augusta homesite of John and Georgiana Molloy

Over the last eighteen months I’ve posted many photographs of places in England and Scotland, and of documents in archives there. Australian readers say they enjoying seeing them. Looking through some video today reminded me that there are lots of people reading these posts who don’t live in Australia or, if they do, they’ve never […]