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  • Published: UWA Publishing
  • Date: 2023
  • ISBN: 9780994206411
  • Formats: Print

A Lady’s Pen: The botanical letters of Georgiana Molloy

.A Lady’s Pen provides the first complete and original transcripts of the surviving botanical letters of Georgiana Molloy, the first woman in Western Australia to become an internationally successful collector.


In December 1839, Georgiana Molloy received an unexpected letter from Captain James Mangles in London asking her to collect specimens of native plants in the British settlement where she lived, on Wadandi Pibelmen country in Western Australia’s southwest. During the last six years of her life, they exchanged letters and Molloy sent Captain Mangles three exquisite collections of seeds and dried wildflowers from Taalinup and Undalup (Augusta and Busselton. Eminent gardeners and botanists considered Molloy’s specimens to be of the highest quality they had received from the ‘Swan River colony’ and the surviving specimens are still studied in herbariums around the world, today. In 1843, Georgiana Molloy died having received no payment or formal recognition for her scientific achievements.


Bernice Barry’s A Lady’s Pen: The botanical letters of Georgiana Molloy presents the original extracts that Captain James Mangles preserved of her letters, and are considered the only significant, first-hand source of information about Georgiana Molloy’s botanical work. The historical filters within the letters are demystified and an account of Mangles’ own life helps to restore the voice missing from that long-distance conversation for 180 years.

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