Georgiana Molloy, Free Settler "Warrior" 1829

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Georgiana Molloy (Kennedy), Free Settler "Warrior" 1829

Birthplace: Carlisle, Cumberland, England
Death: April 08, 1843 (37)
at her residence, Fair Lawn, Busselton, Western Australia, Australia
Place of Burial: Busselton, Western Australia, Australia
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Private and Private
Wife of Lieutenant-Colonel John Molloy, Free Settler "Warrior" 1829
Mother of Elizabeth Mary Molloy; Sabina Dunlop Hale; Mary Dorothea du Cane; John Molloy; Amelia Georgianna Bunbury and 3 others

Occupation: Amateur Botanist.
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Georgiana Molloy, Free Settler "Warrior" 1829

Amateur Botanist, illustrator and plant collector

Published in the "Western Mail" of Saturday 30 October 1909:


"ln this issue we give a photograph oí St. Mary's Church, Busselton, and a sketch of its new pulpit. The pulpit was dedicated by Bishop Goldsmith, assisted by Rev. H. S. Needham, rector of the parish, in the presence of a large congre- gation. The Bishop, in the course of an interesting sermon, traced the early his- tory of pulpits back to the days of the early Christians. He paid tribute to the fine qualities that the characters of the early settlers displayed, in what must have been very trying times. We owed them a great debt of gratitude in that they not only brought civilisation to this great country, but also Christianity. He also referred to the "early history of Bus- selton church. He had in his possession a letter written by tho late Rey. J. Wol- laston, which gave full particulars of the consecration of thc church, whichtook place in 1845, on which occasion no less than 73 persons were present. It was the first stone church in the country, although the Picton church, which " was built of jarrah and still stands, was erected in the year 1842, and a wooden church at Bunbury, since pulled down, in the year 1843. The service was fully choral, Mr. Eustace Cohen, A. W.A.I. A. (the designer of the pulpit), being at the organ.

"The pulpit was erected by the relatives of the late Mrs. Molloy, wife of Colonel Molloy, an early pioneer of the district. It was designed to harmonise with its surroundings, and is of solid jarrah. It is in octagonal form, with heavy angles. The floor is 2ft. 6in. above the church floor, approached by four steps. The panels in the upper portion of the pul- pit are adorned with Maltese crosses sunk into the wood, surmounted with Gothic arches, with sunk spandrils. The lower part is made up of a plain frieze supported on brackets. A. brass plate bearing the following inscription is fitted to the frieze on one side:-"This pulpit is placed here in memory of Georgiana, wife of Col. Molloy, Rifle Brigade, born in Cumberland, England, 1805. Died at Fairlawn, The Vasse, W.A.. 1843. Buried beneath this church with her two children-Mary, who died an infant, in 1830; John, her only sou, drowned at Augusta, 1837, aged 10 months." Thc woodwork is merely finish- ed with oil, no varnish having been used, and is very rich in colour. The timber was mostly cut from disused sleepers, to ensure of its being well seasoned. The work was entrusted to Messrs. Wilson and Banting, of Bunbury, under the per onal supervision of Mr. Eustace G. Cohen, A.W.A. Inst. Architects, Bun- bury, and from his design. The firm de- serves every praise for tho workmanlike manner in which they executed the task, and no account would be complete with- out mentioning the name of Mr. Hart- ness, their joiner, on whose shoulders most of thc actual toil rested. No one, who has not worked hard, seasoned jar- rah knows how trying it is and thc amount of labour involved all the time, keeping tools, etc., keen and in work-ing order. The parishioners of St. Mary's, Busselton, may well be proud of the lat-est addition to their pretty little church. "

Death Notice published in the "Inquirer" of Wednesday 26 April 1843:

"DIED, On the 8th instant, in the Vasse district, after a lingering and painful illness, Georgiana, the wife of Captain Molloy, Resident Magistrate. In so lone a district, where her kindly influence has long been felt, a source of special regret to her neighbours ; but to her husband, and family of female children, a loss only to be appreciated by themselves."

Published in "The Perth Gazette and Western Australia Journal" of Saturday 2 November 1844:

"Colonial Secretary's Office, Perth, "October 23, 1844. "His Excellency the Governor is pleased to direct it to be notified, that the following allotments on the town-site of Augusta have reverted to the Crown on account of non-performance of the conditions of assign-ment ; "No. 1 Elijah Dawson. 2 James Staples 5 Thos. N. Robinson 6 John Williams 20 Daniel Syred 24 J. W. Turner 41 Henry Kellam 44 J. Cooke & G. Layman 49 James McDermott 52 Alex. Dewar 59 Alfred Green Sub. D Thomas Turner " E George Turner « T Elijah Dawson « U John Molloy " V Georgiana Molloy "By His Excellency's command; PETER BROUN."

Georgiana Molloy (23 May 1805–8 April 1843) was an early settler in Western Australia, who is remembered as one of the first botanical collectors in the colony.

Georgiana Molloy was born Georgiana Kennedy in Cumberland on 23 May 1805. In her youth she was caught up in the Christian revival sparked by the preacher Edward Irving. She became deeply religious, and gradually became estranged from her family, who did not share her fervour. Early in 1829, she accepted a marriage proposal from Captain John Molloy, and they were married on 6 August of that year. Shortly afterwards, the Molloys sailed for the Swan River Colony in Western Australia on board the Warrior. The couple then decided to join with a number of other settlers in forming a new subcolony at Augusta.

Until 1836, Georgiana Molloy's life was one of great hardship, typical of early settlers in Western Australia but unfamiliar to one of her social class in England. It is evident from her diary that she was unhappy and wished to return to England. However in December 1836, she received a letter from Captain James Mangles, asking her to collect botanical specimens for him. This letter was to fire in Georgiana a great passion for botany. Thereafter she spent nearly all of her leisure time in collecting, collating and documenting botanical specimens.

Mangles had arranged for a number of people in the colony to collect specimens for him, but had been disappointed with the results. The specimens sent by James Drummond, a professional botanist, were poorly packed and carelessly labelled, and seeds consistently failed to germinate. Other collectors were more careful but largely unskilled. In contrast, Molloy's collections were "full of pressed plants mounted and set out with delicacy and precision, and carefully numbered... showing great evidence of care and cleanliness in the sorting" (Hasluck 1955). Mangles broke up Molloy's collections, sending seeds to a number of horticulturists and botanists throughout England. A number of horticulturists had great success growing from Molloy's seeds, and many new species were described. John Lindley, Professor of Botany at University College London, for example, described many new species from her collections, including Corymbia calophylla.

In 1839 the Molloy family moved to the Vasse district. Georgiana Molloy was visited by botanists Ludwig Preiss in 1839 and Drummond in 1842. She continued to collect seed, making use of the knowledge of the local Indigenous Australians, and she taught herself the rudiments of botany from books sent to her by Mangles.

Georgiana Molloy suffered bouts of ill health after each of her pregnancies. Following the birth of her seventh child, she fell ill and failed to recover. On 8 April 1843, three months after the birth, she died. On hearing of her death, George Hailes, a horticulturist who had been most successful in growing from Molloy's seeds, wrote to Mangles

   Not one in ten thousand who go out into distant lands has done what she did for the Gardens of her Native Country, and we have indeed as regards her specially to lament, that "From Life's rosy Chaplet, the Gems drop away."

Molloy did not receive much recognition for her contributions to the description of the Western Australian flora. The shrub Boronia molloyae was named in her honour, as was a street in the Canberra suburb of Cook. Her collections, which are kept at the Kew Herbarium and the University of Cambridge Herbarium, are attributed to Mangles. She has a school (Georgiana Molloy Anglican School) named after her in the town of Busselton, Western Australia. A book was released in 1994 about her work, An All Consuming Passion: Origins, Modernity and the Australian Life of Georgiana Molloy by William J. Lines. A young adult novel based on her life, Georgiana: Woman of Flowers, by Libby Hathorn (published by Hachette) was launched at the Georgiana Molloy Anglican School in 2008.

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Georgiana Molloy, Free Settler "Warrior" 1829's Timeline

May 23, 1805
Carlisle, Cumberland, England
Augusta, Western Australia
July 11, 1831
Vasse, Western Australia
Vasse, Western Australia
Vasse, Western Australia
January 6, 1838
Vasse, Western Australia
May 8, 1840
Vasse, Western Australia, Australia
April 8, 1843
Age 37
Busselton, Western Australia, Australia
Age 37
Busselton, Western Australia, Australia