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.

Another layer of research

Removing the 1829 portrait of Georgiana Molloy from its velvet-lined gilt frame reveals the artist’s individual brushstrokes and the colours he used to create the background. Shown here as it was when attached to an easel on backing paper, the portrait shows that its painter knew the shape and dimensions of the oval frame to […]

Georgiana’s journal on the Rothesay Castle paddle-steamer

Georgiana kept a diary of her boat journey around the Western Isles. It’s one of the first glimpses of her skill in using words to describe places and emotions. In this extract she conveys the beauty of the scenery but her mind keeps returning to ‘painful circumstances’ in Rugby. Holders of a research ticket at […]

Charting Georgiana

A reader very kindly sent an astrological chart reading for Georgiana Molloy, given her place, date and time of birth. It has remarkably close and accurate parallels with the person and her life. This extract seems particularly relevant to the life she lived. The background image shows hand-made 19th century bricks in the stable wall […]

Coast Australia, Series 2, 2015

Filming in Augusta with the wonderful Brendan Moar for the second series of Coast Australia, May 2014. The documentary included a section on Georgiana Molloy in Episode 4.

‘Tis the mind that shines

When Georgiana packed in 1829 for the sea voyage to her new home in Australia, she included some reading choices that wouldn’t usually be on the list of a person described as strictly pious, including this copy of the songs of Robert Burns. This beautiful little book was given to ‘GM’ as a wedding gift […]

1829 wedding dress

The beginnings of Georgiana’s relationship with John Molloy were a mystery so discovering the circumstances of their first meeting and the way their connection grew over many years was been one of the most exciting research pathways for me. Georgiana’s private journals leave clues about her wedding dress and veil embroidered with tiny flowers and […]

A letter from Georgiana

Georgiana wrote this letter to a family friend, Mrs Frances Birkett, after arriving in Western Australia and it’s full of personal information about her first year in the colony. For reasons we’ll probably never know, the letter was forwarded to Georgiana’s mother. Mrs Kennedy kept all her correspondence and her personal documents were stored safely […]

A day to remember

Here’s one of my favourite photographs from the last decade on the Georgiana trail: myself with Mrs Patricia Sedgwick at the window of what was once Georgiana’s parents’ bedroom at Crosby Lodge, looking out towards the village of Crosby-on-Eden. I’m no expert on 19th century woodwork, but I think the window shutters are the originals […]

noongarculture.org.au

The Noongar people have been the traditional owners of southwest WA for more than 45000 years. Local Aboriginal people spent time at the Molloys’ home in Augusta, worked on the farm at the Vasse (Busselton) and helped Georgiana with her flower collecting. Their children and hers played together. She often wrote about the Noongar way […]

Heirlooms of paper and ink

18th century writers used personalised, creative flourishes that look so attractive today in our world of word-processing. Here’s one of the old documents in Georgiana’s family archive. Written using the sharpened end of a feather quill, on parchment made from calf-skin, it was signed and sealed in 1713. This close up shows the now hardened […]