‘The language of flowers has recently attracted so much attention, that an acquaintance with it seems to be deemed, if not an essential part of a polite education, at least a graceful and elegant accomplishment.’ Flora’s Lexicon: an Interpretation of the Language and Sentiment of Flowers 1839 That was written in 1839, but interest […]
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.
The story of Mildred Kitty Ludlow is a sad one but it’s not so different from that of many other female servants during the early colonial settlement of Western Australia. Georgiana Molloy’s diaries and letters tell us about the last years of Kitty’s life and reveal some of Georgiana’s own personal views and values. I […]
‘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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]