The Silver Thimble

Georgiana Molloy's sewing thimbleGeorgiana’s thimble is a very personal item and she would have taken great care in choosing it, as it needed to fit snugly as feel just right. She would have used it constantly while sewing new garments for her family; not to mention the constant mending which was necessary. The silver thimble is in good condition and Georgiana would have kept it polished and shining.

Many young people today would not have used a thimble. In previous generations, hours of sewing by hand would have meant pushing the needle through the fabric thousands of times and result in sore fingers, especially with thicker fabrics.  The thimble was placed on the longest middle finger and was very ergonomic in allowing the needle to be pushed quickly and with some force.

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Unpacking the Workbox

Dear Friends, it has been a long time between posts. My apologies. I still adore this project and it is now back on the front burner.

I started this project in 2004 and the research stage was a joy. I am assembling a key reference group for the project and will keep you informed as we go. But first I would like to share some photographs of a precious item. The Workbox of Georgian Molloy. So let’s start unpacking it!

The photographs were taken with permission of the National Trust.

Under the first layer which is a collection of sewing and craft bits and bobs, is the deeper compartment.

This holds special items and memorabilia collected by Georgiana.

This little brown carved nut was found wrapped in a few layers of paper.

When unscrunched the paper reads  “Bullet which wounded Cptn Molloy at Waterloo.”

Opening the nut revealed a white heavy (lead) ball. There was also a separate and newer note added by a decedent.

E. D D C

i.e. Mary Dorothea Du Cane (nee Molloy)

Mum’s                               ^                                                          Workbox

with Hubert’s bullet found in

Grandpapa Molloy after Waterloo

This is an astonishing item and not surprising that it was kept in the special and precious collection. It is well known that John Molloy fought at Waterloo under Wellington in the prestigious unit of the 95th Rifle Brigade. His grandchildren were aware of the stories about his military history as they quoted Hubert (surely a French name) as the source of the bullet.




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Julie Kinney Group Tour of Crosby Lodge

“Thanks to your research and assistance I was able to visit Crosby Lodge the childhood home of Georgiana Molloy nee Kennedy  with my tour group in 2012. As most of the group were from the south west I knew it would be of great interest as two years earlier I had taken some of the same people  to view some of Georgiana’s original botanical specimens at Kew Gardens Herbarium.
Crosby Lodge has been a hotel since 1970  and the owners Michael and Patricia Sedgwick  are really keen on the history and Australian connection of Georgiana and have books and memorabilia scattered about for guests to peruse.

I was able to book us in for drinks in the walled garden which is where it is thought Georgiana first developed her love of flowers. This was  to be followed by dinner in the traditional dining room. We all stood at the main entrance on our arrival and thought about life in those days before making our way to the front door. Everyone wanted to ring the bell to announce  our arrival and we were most warmly greeted by Patricia whom I had been corresponding with for some time and felt like she was an old friend.

We  enjoyed the atmosphere outside and sat around in the twilight discussing what each of us knew and sharing it with Patricia. Then we were encouraged to wander and discover. A walk through the wooded garden outside the walls and it was so easy  imagine Georgiana wandering and collecting primroses and bluebells in season. I suspect not much has changed since then in that part of the garden. Later the  formal large table we sat at for dinner made for an atmospheric meal and we wondered how those early settlers like the Molloys could ever have left the comfort of homes like this  for what they came to in Australia. Such incredibly adventurous and brave souls.” Regards Julie

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A Box of Memories

The workbox belonging to Georgiana is at Wonnerup House in Busselton and is a real treasure. Lots of possibilities for research on not only the box itself but all the items inside. The needle case which sits alongside the box is interesting.  I wonder if it has been repurposed to become a needle case. Is it even from the 1820’s because it looks like a resin production.


Can you throw any light on the needle case?

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Georgiana’s Handwritten Letter, 4th April 1830

You will see that there are 4 pages and extra some photos to show the relationship of the pages. Just follow the order of the text in the POST BELOW  to help fill in the missing words marked with xxxxxx. We are very happy to see all interpretations.

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Georgiana Letter to Transcribe!

Welcome to all those interested in our virtual media project!  You may notice numbers have been inserted pre xxx.  This is for you to reference your translations when you Post, for our edits.  GOODLUCK!


200 If left Norfolk Street

and address not known, to be

returned to 1 Xxx xxxx New Bridge

25  Street

Mrs. Kennedy

3 Norfolk Street



My dearest Mother

We arrived here on Friday 11th. March

after a more boisterous voyage from the Cape than what we

before experienced although I am thankful to say I was

not so sick as previously. We were very ill off for provisions and

our cattle nearly starved from shortages of forage, however

our servants biscuit and rations. Very fortunately we saw a

vessel off Rottnest Isle which piloted us into Fremantle

otherwise we should have gone into Coburn Sound. I can

not describe the sensation experienced when we cast

anchor on an uncivilised shore after a long and tedious

voyage of nearly 6 months. I shall barely attempt a description

of the country which employment I hate but knowing

your anxiety I shall sketch a point. Rottnest to all

appearance composed near the shore of high sand

banks, in the interior small hills, with clumps of 2 xxxx

trees, as we approached the mainland the scene is very

striking trees of full growth within them branches untouched

by the storm and unpruned by man the tufts of rich green

on them gave to them the appearance of Joy, close by the beach

were several settlers huts composed of mud and 3 xxxxxx

tents, and sheep and cattle in flocks with here and there

4 xxxxxxx xxxx casks and goods from the different



vessels. In the bay were the Wanstead, Thomson’s Brig, Egyptian,

Protector and a great many vessels between 10 and 14 in

number. You may suppose my beloved family how glad

we were to arrive at our place of destination. Molloy

received a kind note from Dr. Simmons offering us

his hut and servants and much regretting his

being obliged to accompany the Governor to the South, where

we were expected. It was reported the Warrior from her

long passage was lost, and some boards were picked

up with W r r  on, much resembling the word Warrior

therefore our coming was thankfully hailed. The

Governor had desired a seat in his boat might

be offered to Capt. Molloy to convey him to Perth the seat

of Government, but no mention was made of me so

I would not let dear Molloy rest until he consented

to let me accompany him up Swan River. There

is rather a dangerous place to cross called the

Bar, a line of Rocks at the confluence of the

Swan & Canning Rivers with the Pacific, but it is very easy

in a calm sea to steer clear of it, we landed at the

Port called Fremantle, and I instantly proceeded

to examine the shrubs and trees, being the

autumn there were no flowers, some of the trees




are most aromatic. We rejoined the Boat and

sailed up an immense River. The Swan is

beautifully wooded to the waters edge with

both copse, wood and magnificent old

trees large ferns and rushes about 6 or 8 feet

high, in the water are very curious 5 xxxxxx resem

bling large brown 6 xxxxx quite transparent

and something like a 7 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

xxx when they move or are disturbed by the water

Several white marquees and tents studded

the sides of the Banks, and here was a

torn 8 xxxx one vessel with 9 xxxx xxxxx page torn

large grey rocks which added to the variety page torn

we were out of one bay and into another all the page torn

which is 14 miles to Perth as we entered Melville

Water General Darling’s Range appeared in the

distance and we saw the smoke of several

native fires, it is impossible to describe the

magnificent wood with the boughs 10 xxxx xxxx

xxx and quite like a forest, remember the trees

in this climate are always green. We at length

arrived at Perth bearing no resemblance to a town

but many wooden & thatched mud houses scattered

about, the trees only cut to make way for these buildings

quite a thicket of low shrubs, Grass Plants 8 & 10 feet

high, Palms like one in a tub at Holbrook near the door a



large cluster they bear a scarlet cone containing kernels on which they fatten pigs

and it is also used for stock. Last Wednesday Molloy and I were in

our boat and but a storm coming on we were obliged to sleep 11xxx

the ground. What should I have once thought of this, but for Molloy

if I could I would sleep in the fire. The heat here is dreadful the ther’t

in summer sometimes 115’. I regret Mr. Besley refused the Bishropic

of Calcutta as he is to be Bishop of Swan River they say. I was

enabled rom the Cape to get two or three little articles of 12 xxxx thing done but

here is April and I have not a 13 xxxxx xxx to get the 14 xxx made. I am

sometimes very ill what with the shaking on board and the

extreme heat. Mrs. Dawson expects her confinement every hour

Molloy has taken a small grant on the Swan River on each side of it

consisting of 2500 acres close to Mr. Trimmers this is only as a sort of resting

place as our large grant in likely to be in the South as it is so much




cooler. We shall be about 15 xx miles from Guildford a market 16 xxxx xx xxxx

from Perth the seat of Government. We have very nice neigh

bours and it is likely to be the most select neighbourhood as

the Governor patronises it much. Abundance of fish and wild

fowl and excellent water I have already xxxx Kangaroo, Parrot

17 xxxxx Crab 18 xxxx they are all 19 xxxxxx resembling

20 xxxxxxx I have been staying at his Excellency’s ever since I arrived

but in a day or two go on a visit to Mr. Trimmer from thence

to our Mud Cottage or excavated house which ever we find will

be the coolest. Mrs.Trimmers servant is a very nice woman

and a capital nurse. As she had  21 xxxxxx affairs

Molloy is very well but very busy and often has to get up at

Daybreak. I have only just heard of the Protector sailing so 22 xxxxx

write to beloved Keppoch and say I would have written of them if their had

been a moment  that I am very anxious for the arrival of the 23 Xxxxxxx

xxx as there are none 24 xxxx get in the Colony. The moths got at my bees

and all died after I left the Cape. I have often seen the natives

they are quiet and very fond of the new settlers. I can 25 xxxxx

for the arrival of the 26 xxx When you can I wish Mrs. Calde

cott would send me out some seeds as they are always useful

Preserves also as there are no fruit at present. I lost Mrs. C’s 27 xxxx

on board 28 xxxx when I was nearly 29 xxxxx and am very unhappy about

it from a lurch of the vessel.  Browns Holland sewing cotton &

Ribbon the most ugly can never come amiss & of course we

will give you and order on Cox & Greenwood for the 30 xxxxx it

All the ladies are of the same opinion respecting Mrs. Byrne as those

on board the Warrior. Mrs. Stirling insists on being with me when I am

ill & 31 xxxx me Baby Linen 32 xxxx I have not made

up my mind xx Staples is very 33 xxxx all the servants are behaving



well thus forming a solitary instance in the

Colony for they are so much plagued with English

servants they have sent for Chinese &c. Cyder (sic)

or Porter would be the most acceptable if you should

hear of any predisposition in Jonathan to send his old friend

Jack any present. I hope in my next to give you an order



for a piano I will write by every vessel. My beloved family

you are ever in my thoughts & no one knows what my feelings

are when I think of the waves that roll betwixt us. Dearest

Doe will by this time will have joined his Regiment. Bye the Bye

I have not one particle of Lace with me & when I can afford

it will soon be giving Mrs. C an order on 34 Xxxx Xxxxx. Your

kind little bundle my dearest Mother brought tears to

my eyes as did also my own Mary’s Pattern Book which

I did not look over previous to sailing. To Eliza say every

thing most affectionate for me and my much loved George



My best love to the Birketts                    Mrs. Butlin

& Mrs. Caldecott & 35 xxxx the most 36 xxxx

believe me my                                       beloved parent

your most sincerely                                attached daughter

Georgiana Molloy

Perth Swan River

Western Australia

April 4 1830.



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Would You Like to Transcribe Words or Letters?

We had a good response to asking you all to help with some words that were xxxxxx in a letter. We are wondering if you would like to transcribe these individual words or whole letters? We can then start posting them for you, as we have some great helpers in the office to keep them up to you. Because we are a busy production company it has been difficult to blog regularly… but now we have more people volunteering to help on the administration. When we have all the letters transcribed we are planning to publish them.

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Setting the records straight…

Patrick Richardson-Bunbury is a descendent of John and Georgiana Molloy. Patrick has been of enormous support to the collection and transcription of the family records. In particular he has devoted untold hours to the transcription of Georgiana’s letters and diaries. Truly the quiet achiever; we are extremely grateful for his contribution to the Jag Films team. Below are some specific areas of his research which reveals some interesting new information

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John Molloy : His parents

There has been some confusing historical information that has been published in a number of books and papers.

Contrary to a report in the Sunday Times of 22 May 1921, John Molloy did know his father and mother. They were William and Mary Molloy, nee Connor*. This information was passed to Mary DuCane nee Molloy by her sister Amelia.

* Letter Edmund DuCane to Georgiana Bisdee, nee Hale.


Alexandra Hasluck in Georgiana Molloy; Portrait with Background, quoted an “not entirely reliable authority” that John Molloy never knew his parents and was the beneficiary of 200 pounds per year while at Oxford and that a cheque for 20,000 pounds was given to him along with the purchase of a commission in the Royal Navy.

There is no record of John Molloy ever being at Oxford (University)* and a cheque for 20,000 pounds seems a most unlikely amount in the year 1810.

* Letter Oxford University to Patrick Bunbury. 3 August 1979.


Gossip had it that John Molloy was of royal parentage. Prince Frederick Augustus, Duke of York* the second son of King George III has been speculated on as having been his father. The Royal Archives at Windsor Castle** have an index of the names of illegitimate children of royalty and have no record of John Molloy. John Molloy’s features did remind those about him of some face very well-known but this remained elusive.**

* ”Portrait with Background” by Alexandra Hasluck. Appendix C.
** Letter Royal Archives to T. Woodcock, Esq., The College of Arms, 18 October 1983. Copy in possession of Patrick Bunbury.
**** “Portrait with Background” by Alexandra Hasluck. Chapter 1


A letter from The College of Arms* raises an interesting point about the possibility that John Molloy might have been a grandson from the* *alleged marriage of the Prince of Wales, later King George III, to Hannah Lightfoot in1759. There were said to have been three children from this marriage. Hannah’s father** was a shoemaker in Wapping as was ***William Molloy.

(King George III later married Sophia Charlotte, daughter of The Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz in 1761).

*Letter College of Arms to Patrick Bunbury. 26 October 1983.
**Britain’s Royal Families. Alison Weir. Page 286, Pimlico edition 1996.
*** Letter College of Arms to Patrick Bunbury. 26 October 1983.


The College of Arms also stated that Harrow School at the time catered for the sons of successful tradesmen as William Molloy was stated to be.


[Author: Patrick Richardson-Bunbury]

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John Molloy

John Molloy, Born 5 September 1789, Died 6 October 1867.

Birth date

The headstone on the grave of John Molloy in the churchyard of St. Mary’s,
Busselton gives his age at his death in October 1867as 87, suggesting that he was born in 1780, always very unlikely given what is known of the date of his entry into the army after serving two years as a midshipman in the Royal Navy. His age at his death was given not by a family member but by William Layton, a carpenter employed at Fairlawn.

The soundest evidence of his true birth year is provided by the Harrow School Register which gives his age as 13 on his entry into the school in1802 thus making 1789 his year of birth. This is confirmed in the reminiscences of George Walpole Leake* who, writing about John Molloy in 1890, states that ‘he was born in 1789’.

*Battye Library


Further evidence that he was not born as early as 1780 can be found in the Will* of his father William Molloy. His son John and daughter Susannah were beneficiaries of his estate. The Will was written in 1804 and in it John and Susannah were stated to be under the age of twenty-one and therefore minors.

*Copy in the possession of Patrick Bunbury.


John Molloy was in his 39th year when he married the 24 year old Georgiana Kennedy in August 1829, thus making an agreeable and suitable match for her. He was not nearly twice her age as has been alleged.

It is not known how and where John Molloy met Georgiana but it is possible that it may have been through her elder sister Elizabeth Margaret. A letter written to him from Wroxeter in December 1828* but wrongly accredited to Georgiana by the authors of “Portrait with Background” and “An All Consuming Passion” was in fact written by Elizabeth. In the letter she claims him as ‘one of my greatest friends’

*Battye Library MN768 3278A/3.


The identity of the writer was quite obvious in the microfilm*of a hand written copy of the original in the Battye Library, both by the content of the letter and the signature being clearly EMK. The original letter was subsequently donated to the library and the handwriting is clearly not that of Georgiana. The letter suggests that Elizabeth Margaret and John Molloy were well acquainted. At the time of writing she was committed to marrying John Besly. Georgiana was living alternatively with the Dunlops and Storys** in Scotland when the letter was written and in a letter written at this time by Mrs. Kennedy*** she writes ‘Elizabeth is staying with friends in Wroxeter.’ In another letter dated 22nd October 1828 she writes ‘Georgiana is still in Scotland & as this place is not dashing enough for her – she is likely to remain’

* Microfilm – Battye Library 501A.
** Georgiana’s Journal – Battye Library
*** Cumbria Archives –


[Author: Patrick Richardson-Bunbury]

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