What has kept me going for more than a decade of research? The answer’s simple: there’s always something new to be discovered, something that’s been hidden nearly two hundred years and as each new piece of information adds to the story, everything becomes more clear.
Since researchers and biographers first became interested in finding out more about the Molloys, we’ve entered the digital age and as each year passes more and more old documents become available via the Internet. Even when I thought I’d found everything there was to discover, more kept coming to the surface. It’s possible that some findings may be proven incorrect by future research and new information will come to light so it’s important to continue the work and to share as much as possible.
Here are just a few research moments from the last eleven years.

New research: an astronomical evening

  ‘Astronomy, universally acknowledged the most sublime and interesting of those sciences which admit of popular illustration, is doubly valuable for its powerful influence and effect in the general improvement of the human mind.’ Horace Wellbeloved on Mr Walker’s Astronomical lecture 1826 Since my biography of Georgiana Molloy’s life was published, I’ve been working nearly […]

On this day

Living in Western Australia’s far southwest means that we are always aware of the changes in season. Like Georgiana, I grew up in Britain and whenever I think about what she was doing at different times of year, I know that she, too, would always have thought about the differences between the climate here and […]

The botanical desiderata of Georgiana Molloy

It’s a year since my new biography of Georgiana Molloy was published by Pan Macmillan in Australia and New Zealand (May 2016) so it’s probably time to move on but history just will NOT let go of me. It was exciting to discover so much that was new in the story of Georgiana’s life but […]

In Crosby Lodge

As the weather warms up quickly here in the region where Georgiana spent her last three decades, I’m remembering a visit we made to her childhood home at this time of year.  In the far north of England, not far from the border with Scotland, the village of Crosby-on Eden is in winter’s grip during December. The […]

Digging

I’ve had the great pleasure of being involved in a different kind of ‘digging’ in the last few days, not research from old documents but real digging in the ground. Dr Shane Burke from the University of Notre Dame in Perth WA has hoped for some years to do an archaeological dig in Augusta on […]

A letter from Georgiana

I’ve escaped from the project that’s kept me busy for the last eighteen months and now it’s time to get back to the ‘to-do’ list from last year. It’s been months since I said I’d post some transcriptions so apologies for rather a long delay! In 1831, Georgiana wrote to her good friend, the elderly Mrs […]

Flowers and finds

It’s wildflower season in WA’s southwest and it’s been impossible not to think of Georgiana Molloy in the last few weeks as we’ve watched the bush blooming. Winter’s long wet tail has been good for so many of the native plants and this has to be one of the most spectacular displays for years. We […]

The Molloy diaries online

DID YOU KNOW…? You can view every page of the Molloy diaries on the website of the  JS Battye Library in Perth WA. It’s free. You don’t need to be a member. You can sit at home and view wonderful high-resolution images of all 168 handwritten pages. The latest upgrade allows you to ‘turn’ the […]

John Molloy and the emperor

This sketch, archived among the papers of John Molloy, Georgiana’s husband who was the Government resident in Augusta and Busselton, had always puzzled me. There’s not much doubt that it’s a representation of Napoleon Bonaparte. You can read about my first thoughts here. It took a long time but earlier this year I got much […]

Layers of history

“Often have I laid in bed on board and thought of you all with my eyes shut and could, for the moment, fancy myself at Rosneath.” Georgiana Molloy 1829   When I was at school I was taught that history was a fixed thing, an accumulation of dates and facts that could be learned and […]