All seven readers enjoyed it and the Diary generated lots of great discussion including her angling for a husband with sufficient wealth to support her in style, the almost absent mention of Aborigines living nearby yet attending a corroboree one night, the travel methods and distances, the medicines used, the interaction socially with other families, the dominant decision making of the husband about where they would live etc., her love for her many children and discussion about their lives, her parents including her father's fall from grace and inability to really succeed in business, the move from London to Australia and the early colonial lifestyle, the ship travel, various characters written about, David Jones in Sydney etc. etc.
None of us thought she was a thoughtful writer of emotions - in later years we thought her husband may have vetted her diary ... but an extremely interesting read.
Caroline’s Diary: A woman’s world in colonial Australia
The chance discovery of a cache of diaries, written more than a century ago, lying in the back of a drawer of the historic property, Brownlow Hill, house revealed to the owner Joan Downes the real reason for the family’s forebears coming to Australia.
Caroline’s Diary brings to life the courage of a young Englishwoman raised in comfortable circumstances at the time of London’s Great Exhibition in 1851 and the family’s subsequent forced flight to Australia. Caroline Thomas found love in Sydney, but her adored husband moved her, often without notice, from the city life she had always known to a relatively isolated country life where she faced the dangers of pregnancy and birth, the deaths of several of her eleven children, the chronic illness of her husband and the death of her sister during the Siege of Lucknow in India.
We read how Caroline made a comfortable home as a young bride at Buckinbah in sparsely populated central New South Wales, then as a young mother their sixteen year residence at Saumarez, a gracious property on the outskirts of Armidale now owned by The National Trust, and later with her growing family at Wivenhoe, south of Sydney near Camden.
About the author
Anne Philp (née White) has a particular interest in the lives of early settlers on the land in northern New South Wales and Far North Queensland. Anne grew to love Saumarez during her many holidays spent there with her aunts, until the property was transferred to the National Trust in 1984.