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.

The Gareloch, Argyll & Bute, Scotland

View across the Gareloch, a place that Georgiana Molloy loved when she lived there in 1828 and 1829 – and missed for the rest of her life.

Colours of the Gareloch

The pebble beach at Roseneath (Rosneath) at the place where Georgiana would have taken the ferry between the home of the Reverend and Mrs Story (Helen Boyle Dunlop) and Keppoch House, where she was staying with the Dunlop family.

The Gareloch

Visitors to the Gareloch have tried to describe its beauty for centuries and each time I go there I feel lost for words. This 19th century description comes close to capturing what Georgiana saw around her each day. “Whether it be in summer, when not a cloud rests on the blue ether of the sky, […]

The ruins of St Modan’s, Roseneath

The ‘barn-like’ church was cold, uncomfortable and bare of decoration, with an earth floor. Crofters walked for up to an hour to attend Sunday service and washed their feet in the cold water of the Clachan burn before entering. After enriching their souls, many of them warmed their bodies with a few drams of illegal […]

The old graveyard, St Modan’s, Roseneath

Each time we go back to Scotland I take more photographs of the grave inscriptions, the ones that were there when Georgiana was staying at the original manse and the graves of her friends who died after she left for Western Australia. The oldest gravestones in that ancient community bear only images, not words. Georgiana […]

The Gareloch seen from the hill behind the old manse

View of the Gareloch from the hill behind the manse where Reverend Robert Story (senior) and his wife Helen were living in 1829 when Georgiana stayed there with them. She walked often on the hill, and went there after she’d accepted John Molloy’s proposal of marriage to think over her decision.

View of Roseneath across the Gareloch from Rhu (Row)

Georgiana made the journey from Keppoch House across this narrow stretch of water many times between 1828 and 1829 in the small ferry. On the evening I took this photograph it was calm but sometimes a strong current makes crossing difficult.

Ruins of the old pier, Kilcreggan

I knew that ferries took people and stock between the small villages on the Roseneath peninsula- there were few roads in the region at that time – and Georgiana drew a sketch of Kilcreggan in her diary. The pier there was a stopping off place for the ‘wherry boat’ and in 2014 we went there […]

Keppoch House

Georgiana was standing with Margaret Dunlop looking out from the front steps of the ‘portico’ when she saw John Molloy, her future husband, arriving in his carriage for their wedding.

Reception hall, Keppoch House

The impressive fireplace in the very grand hallway of Keppoch House. It’s not difficult to imagine this mantelpiece decorated with the wedding flowers that Georgiana picked from the flower garden early on the morning of the ceremony.