Mary Braidwood Mowle arrived in Sydney in 1836 at the age of nine aboard a convict ship on which her father Dr Thomas Braidwood Wilson was Surgeon Superintendent. She grew up as a privileged child on an estate granted to her father at Braidwood in south-eastern New South Wales where he was known as the 'laird'.Her fortunes changed. Orphaned and penniless at 16, she married at 17 and went to live in a bark hut in the Australian Alps. Later she moved to a farm on the Limestone Plains (on the site of Parliament House, Canberra). Here and later at Eden where her husband became Collector of Customs she recorded in her diary the life of a woman in those difficult days, when childbirth was so often life-threatening, childhood illness and death common, and the Australian colonies were wracked by drought and depression and then the upheaval of the discovery of gold.Mary Mowle's accounts offer a rich, captivating insight into life in mid-nineteenth century Australia. Through her diaries and Patricia Clarke's painstaking research the people of the infant colony come to life.From the pages of A Colonial Woman emerges an authentic picture, seldom glimpsed before, of how families and particularly women and children lived in early Australia.A Colonial Woman is a goldmine for local historians and those researching family history in early and mid-nineteenth century Australia. In addition to well-known landowning families such as the Murrays of Yarralumla, the Campbells of Duntroon, the Ryries and Gordons of Braidwood, the Kings and Powells of Bungendore, the Walkers, Mannings and Archers of Twofold Bay, many others — convicts and their descendants, free settlers and government officials —appear in its pages.At Twofold Bay there are the sailors, whalers and traders as well as squatting families and settlers from Bombala, Cooma and all over the southern Monaro and northern Victoria who passed through the port of Eden. They all come under the eye of Mary Braidwood Mowle in her diary. All these references are supplemented and explained in the author's notes and they can be easily reached through a comprehensive index.Patricia Clarke is a distinguished writer, historian, editor and former journalist who has written extensively about women in Australian history. Several of her books are biographies of women writers and others explore the role of letters and diaries in the lives of women. Her books include The Governesses, Pen Portraits, Life Lines (with Dale Spender); biographies of Australian writers Louisa Atkinson (Pioneer Writer), Jessie Couvreur (Tasma and Tasma’s Diaries) and Rosa Praed (Rosa! Rosa!). She jointly edited two books of the letters of Australian poet Judith Wright (The Equal Heart and Mind and With Love and Fury) and she has written widely on media history. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities and a Fellow of the Federation of Australian Historical Societies.


A Colonial Woman by Patricia Clarke



    • Wix Facebook page
    • Instagram Social Icon

    © 2016 by KATE Proudly Created with