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Georgiana Molloy: The Mind That Shines

Bernice Barry


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This meticulously researched biography tells the extraordinary story of Georgiana Molloy, one of Australia’s first internationally successful female botanists.
In 1829, estranged from her family and living in an isolated Scottish village, Georgiana Kennedy made a sudden decision to marry Captain John Molloy of the Rifle Brigade, a handsome hero with a mysterious past.

They emigrated immediately to the remote southwest of Western Australia with the first small group of European settlers, and experienced great hardship in the fledgling colonies of Augusta and Busselton. In times of personal tragedy and privation, botany was Georgiana Molloy’s salvation.

She was self-taught and became the first internationally successful female botanist in WA. Her collections of the indigenous flora of the southwest include type specimens, archived today in the world’s leading herbaria.

From the refined beauty of 19th century England and Scotland, to the dramatic landscape of the West Australian coast, Georgiana Molloy: The Mind That Shines gives new insight into the life of this pioneering botanist. Following a swift marriage, Georgiana and Captain John Molloy, a handsome hero with a mysterious past, emigrated to Australia among the first group of European settlers to the remote southwest. Here, despite personal tragedy, Georgiana’s passion for flora was ignited. Entirely self-taught, she gathered specimens of indigenous flora from Augusta and Busselton that are now held in some of the world’s leading herbarium collections.

Using Georgiana’s own writings and notes, accompanied by full-colour pictures of some of the stunning plants mentioned throughout, Bernice Barry reveals a resilient, independent woman of strong values, whose appreciation and wonder of the landscape around her became her salvation, and her legacy.
Georgiana Molloy arrived in Perth in 1830 as one of the first European settlers and experienced extreme hardship in the fledgling colonies of Augusta and Busselton. When personal tragedy struck, botany was her salvation. Using many new sources, this minutely researched book fills in the gaps in previous publications and reveals for the first time the thrilling history of her husband’s early military career in the Napoleonic wars. Through new information about Georgiana’s childhood and dramatic life she is revealed as a woman shaped by her 19th century world but with views and values that were far ahead of her time. The author’s personal insights into her ten years of research into Georgiana Molloy’s life are threaded through the historical narrative, revealing a quest that anyone interested in genealogy will respond to: the excitement of discovering our origins and the significance of those revelations on our lives.
373 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (chiefly colour), maps (some colour), portraits (chiefly colour), 1 genealogical table, facsimiles (some colour) ; 23 cm #090322/190722
Molloy, Georgiana, 1805-1843. | Women pioneers — Western Australia — Biography. | Women botanists — Western Australia — Biography. | Frontier and pioneer life — Western Australia — Biography. | Australian

Additional Information

AuthorBernice Barry
Number of pages373 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (chiefly colour), maps (some colour), portraits (chiefly colour), 1 genealogical table, facsimiles (some colour) ; 23 cm
PublisherRedgate Consultants, Witchcliffe, Western Australia
Year Published2015
Binding Type


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