Louisa Lawson

Louisa Lawson. Source: State Library of NSW Louisa Lawson (1848-1920) was a farmer, poet, writer, and a successful newspaper owner. She established Dawn, Australia’s first journal for women readers and lobbied publicly and successfully for women’s rights – including the right to vote. Yet today she is best known, if at all, for being Henry Lawson’s mother. Outspoken, uncompromising, opinionated – Louisa Lawson was vilified in her day by contemporary journalists and politicians and maligned after death by historians who blamed her for Henry Lawson’s alcoholic dissolution. Louisa Lawson [...]

Keynote Panel: The hidden history of women

I was SO looking forward to participating in this panel, in real life. I wanted to meet the other speakers, catch up with the awesome facilitator, chat with audience members afterwards. But one of the few benefits of being forced by COVID-19 to pivot to an online format is this: what turned out to be a fascinating discussion is preserved, via Zoom, for (hopefully) a wider audience. Join facilitator Kelly Gardiner (author and host of the podcast Unladylike) and panellists Mirranda Burton (author of Underground: Marsupial Outlaws and Other Rebels of [...]

Port Fairy Literary Weekend

Next weekend you'll find me in Port Fairy, enjoying and talking about all things bookish. Even The Husband will be there (although it's possible he'll spend most of his time fishing...) Why don't you join us, at the Port Fairy Literary Weekend? I'm on a panel with debut novelist Nicole Kelly (her book Lament is a re-imagining of the Ned Kelly story) and we'll be talking about history and its gendered gaze. But there are so many other excellent writers and speakers on the program that you'll be spoilt for [...]

Mary Macarthur’s Hunter Valley Home

The home of one of Elizabeth Macarthur's daughters looks set to be relocated - to make way for coal mining. According to this online article, The 1820s Ravensworth Homestead in the Hunter Valley, among the first agricultural properties in the area, is now in the way of a proposed expansion of the Glendell coal mine, which wants to extract an additional 140 million tonnes of coal from the site. As a result, operator mining giant Glencore has offered to pay an estimated $20 million to fund a local plan  to [...]

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 [...]

Guest Post and Holidays

Worked like a demon to get the first big edit of the manuscript finished before the end of 2017 - and made it with, at least 48 hours to spare! Then my family and I went to the beach for a week. No wifi. Bliss. Then (thanks to my hard working editor) came back to find the first nine chapters of the manuscript ready to copy edit. So that's what I've been doing, instead of blogging. But if you would like to read a little something, try this Guest Post [...]

Happy Birthday Mary Macarthur

Elizabeth Macarthur’s second surviving daughter, Mary Isabella, would today have turned 222 years old. One of these pictures may or may not be of Mary – they were both originally only labelled as ‘daughter of John Macarthur’ and seeing as how he and Elizabeth had three daughters who lived beyond infancy, it’s now impossible to know who was which. However, based on the clothing, both these miniature portraits are likely to have been painted in the 1820s – a period when the Macarthur family was doing very well [...]

2020-05-28T19:05:06+10:00October 26th, 2017|Colonial History|8 Comments

Help me with this paragraph?

To set the scene, I'm reading my manuscript out loud, to test for clarity and sense. The dog seems nonplussed but the cat is appreciative. I'm also beginning to realise how lazy my pronunciation usually is. Govvumen. Govvament. Government. Anyway. I'm reading the part where it is 1790, Elizabeth has just arrived in New South Wales, and is lonely and bored. It's the third paragraph (in the second half) where I'd like your opinion - what am I trying to imply? Is it clear enough? Elizabeth ‘filled up the [...]

Esther Abrahams – convict, farmer, drinker and an all-round admirable woman

Esther Abrahams in 1811 - aged 39. (State Library of NSW) In July 1786 a teenage girl with dark hair and a long, attractive face, stepped into a shop, took two cards of black lace to the counter and asked the price. "Twenty-five shillings," she was told. Young Esther Abrahams, for that was her name, tartly replied that she would pay no more than a guinea and soon left without buying anything. Moments later, the shop assistant rushed out onto the London street and caught up with [...]

2018-03-24T00:23:01+11:00August 26th, 2017|Colonial History|9 Comments
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