Elizabeth Macarthur’s Grave

I took the opportunity, late last year, to visit Elizabeth Macarthur’s grave. The Macarthur family graveyard is on a quiet hill, about a mile away from and opposite the family home at Camden Park House (about 70kms south west of the Sydney CBD). Elizabeth’s son William, passionate about botany, planted the site with exotic palms, which no doubt quickly grew tall enough to be seen from the house, but most of the site is now sheltered by native trees. In all my years of researching, I never did find a [...]

Marsden Online Archive

Samuel Marsden. Picture source: Wikimedia Commons It still amazes me that I can sit on my couch of an evening (fire crackling, tv blaring, #1 son immersed in the XBox) and yet the miracle that is the Internet means I can read a journal from 1814 in the original. Shall we pause for moment to consider how brilliant that is? The particular journal I found belonged to one Rev Samuel Marsden.  In Australia he was more or less reviled as the flogging parson but apparently he was (and, [...]

HARDCOPY Professional Development Program – the preparation

The flights and accommodation are booked.  Several work meetings and dinner with a colleague are all lined up.  The suitcase is out of the shed and waiting to be filled with too many shoes.  I always pack too many shoes but how can I possibly know in advance which ones I'll need...? The HARDCOPY program organisers have asked each participant to bring 5 copies of the first 5 pages of our manuscript.  Hmmmm. The first 5 pages of my manuscript have been in existence for so long that they have [...]

2018-03-21T14:55:37+00:00 May 27th, 2015|Writing|9 Comments

Saying Goodbye to your Children

This week I waved my son off to camp - he'll be away for nine days.  Elizabeth Macarthur waved her young sons off too, to be educated in England, for years at a time.  I don't think I can imagine how she felt.  Or can I? Inga Clendinnen explored the problem at length in The History Question: Who owns the past? (Quarterly Essay, Issue 23) We cannot post ourselves back in time. People really did think differently then – or at least we must proceed on that assumption...It is true that [...]

Newsflash – Historian Alan Atkinson Wins $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature

Australian historian Dr Alan Atkinson has won the overall $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature for his third volume of The Europeans in Australia.  He also won the non-fiction category.  Read more about his win here. The other winners were: Non-fiction ($25,000): The Europeans in Australia: Volume III, Nation, Alan Atkinson Fiction ($25,000): To Name Those Lost, Rohan Wilson Drama ($25,000): Resplendence, Angus Cerini Poetry ($25,000): The Beautiful Anxiety, Jill Jones Young adult ($25,000): The Protected, Claire Zorn People's choice award ($2000): Where Song Began, Tim Low As I've already confessed (read the comments for this earlier [...]

2018-03-21T14:55:40+00:00 January 29th, 2015|Writing|0 Comments

Paleography – transcribing old letters

Transcribing Elizabeth Macarthur's letters is at once illuminating and frustrating. I'm currently working on one that Elizabeth sent to Captain John Piper, in 1804.  The original is held in the Mitchell Library, Sydney.  John Macarthur was away in England at the time and Captain Piper, a good friend to both Elizabeth and John, was stationed at Norfolk Island (a secondary penal colony, some 1600kms northeast of Sydney). The letter is a crucial one because in it Elizabeth describes how she and her children fled  from their farm in Parramatta to [...]

Camden Park House & Garden Open Days

Photo Source: http://macarthur.com.au/camden-park-house-and-garden-open-weekend Open 20 - 21 September 2014. Saturday 12noon - 4pm; Sunday 10am - 4pm Historic Camden Park House built in 1835 for John and Elizabeth Macarthur and their family is open for one weekend a year. Tour through this historic Georgian mansion designed by John Verge. Explore the colonial garden filled with spring blossoms and rare botanical plants, and enjoy devonshire tea or BBQ lunch.  Plant, gifts and produce stalls on display as well as Vintage Cars. More information available here at www.camdenparkhouse.com.au. Elizabeth Macarthur [...]

Camden Park House & Garden Open Days

Photo Source: http://macarthur.com.au/camden-park-house-and-garden-open-weekend Open 20 - 21 September 2014. Saturday 12noon - 4pm; Sunday 10am - 4pm Historic Camden Park House built in 1835 for John and Elizabeth Macarthur and their family is open for one weekend a year. Tour through this historic Georgian mansion designed by John Verge. Explore the colonial garden filled with spring blossoms and rare botanical plants, and enjoy devonshire tea or BBQ lunch.  Plant, gifts and produce stalls on display as well as Vintage Cars. More information available here at www.camdenparkhouse.com.au. Elizabeth Macarthur [...]

2018-03-21T14:56:16+00:00 August 19th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments