Little Miracles

“A re-enactment image – not the real dress!”
We always wondered if there were any letters from Georgiana out there in the world that were not in our collection that we have sourced in Australia and the UK . One has just found its way to us via a collector who purchased the letter at an auction. The letter is from Georgiana to her friend Elizabeth.

Before I continue, I must tell you about the wonderful Patrick Richardson Bunbury, a descendent of Georgiana and John Molloy, who has been our quiet and dedicated transcriber. Over the years Patrick has typed up some of the most difficult letters and diaries and so he was the first person we told when we were contacted by the collector in the UK who has the newly discovered letter.

This discovery which the collector notified us about also highlights the importance of having a website and blog. We really value people around the world who share our interest contacting us.

Back to the new discovery – while we are undertaking the necessary release forms to get permission to publish the entire letter, we can tell you that it contains information that we always wanted to know. i.e. Where did she get married and what did she wear?

The wedding of Georgiana Kennedy and John Molloy was a pivotal moment in both their lives. Georgiana had prayed in search of an answer to her future. For some time she had felt extremely content staying as a guest at the Dunlop family home. She had left her own home in Carlisle because she was unhappy with her family and some of their wayward ways. When her closest friend Helen Dunlop married the Reverend Story and moved from Keppoch House to the Rosneath Manse, Georgiana felt she may be overstaying her welcome and even considered becoming a governess in India.

About this time, Governor Stirling wrote to John Molloy from the Swan Colony in Western Australia inviting him to participate in colonizing a vast land in Western Australia. He also suggested it would be wise for Molloy to bring a wife with him. John Molloy and Georgiana were not particularly well known to each other but he knew of her family and had probably had heard of her virtues. (We have a draft of John’s proposal where he signed off using his own nickname which Bernice has finally deduced to mean “Nose of the Crow”). At short notice and with the encouragement of her elders Georgiana accepted John’s offer, knowing full well it meant leaving her home, country, family and friends.

In the two books about Georgiana previously published, it was assumed she was married at Rosneath Church because the marriage was conducted by the Rev. Story. Our research of the documents could never verify this. With the help of Mike Rumble, it transpired that the ceremony was extremely likely to have taken place at Keppoch House. In Georgiana’s diary she mentions collecting the wedding flowers from the garden at Keppoch House and “putting them in their rooms”. She made no mention of any travel on that day – something she usually would note in her diary. Additionally, it was not unusual to use the formal rooms in a big house for a wedding and one the Dunlop daughters is on record of having been married at there.

The letter Georgiana wrote to her dear friend Elizabeth, talks precisely about the wedding taking place at Keppoch House which is final confirmation! But even more enchanting for us is that she describes her wedding dress, which means we can more closely approximate the dress for any filming or representation.

Bernice travels to the London for her education consultancy work quite frequently and she happened to be leaving a week after we got the news. She managed to fit a visit into the collector (to photograph the letter) and also travelled up to Cumbria (despite the extreme weather and floods) to follow up on a lead from the letter and in the hope of discovering more. Bernice, our researcher, undertakes this on a voluntary basis, as we are not currently funded for this project. At the Cumbria records office she made some headway to only be frustrated with a lack of time. When time allows she hopes to continue at the very next opportunity because while we have many of Georgiana’s letters to her family, it is very likely she wrote frequently to close friends.

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