Current writing projects

THE WATER DOCTOR’S DAUGHTERS

29/6/2012  – It occurs to me that I should give a brief explanation of how I came across the story of Dr James Loftus Marsden and his daughters.  It”s a little convoluted, but bear wih me.  For some time I have been researching and publishing material on  Lachlan Macquarie, an early  and much admired governor of New South Wales.

Maquarie’s only son, Lachlan Macquarie Jnr, was born in the Colony but returned to the Isle of Mull with his parents in 1822.  He married Isabella Campbell, whose sister Mary became stepmother to the Marsden children  in 1851.  Lachlan Jnr was a hopeless alcoholic and before his premature death  in 1845 he had been  accused of   improper conduct  with his sister-in-law Mary.  I  believe that the old stories  about Mary and Lachlan Maquarie  Jnr resurfaced during the trials over the deaths of Marian and Lucy Marsden,  and may have  harmed the prosecution case.

 

A TASTE OF THE THAMES

 

24/5/2012 –  The contract  for A Taste of the Thames has now been signed by myself and Robert Hale.  The manuscript  is due in London by July 30  although I am aiming for the end of this month. Would be good to have it launched in time for the London Book Fair  next April.  Rob and I are busy finalising licences etc for the pics.  Over thirty of  the sixty odd illustrations are Rob’s own photographs, so we don’t have to worry about those!

19/6/2012 – Well, due to all the rain  here I managed to  finish the manuscript six weeks early… despite my lap-top  suffering a complete and very alarming  meltdown!  It now sits on its own little fan.  The ms.  was  proofed in both hard copy and on-line over and over again by both Rob and myself .  Mind you, I found Rob shaking with laughter over  some of my typos!  We have some really unique  illustrations and they  have definitely  added a lot to the book. The hard copy and digital version have been  posted to London.

29/6/2012 – Received word  this week that the ms. and illustrations  have arrived safely.  Meanwhile  the Museum of London have  forwarded  me two  images of  a Roman brothel token, retrieved from the Thames near Putney  last year.  The image on the front of the token  is of an explicit sex act.  Just as well there is a bit of corrosion in a crucial spot or it may be deemed too graphic for publication! 

TWELFTH BATTALION AIF – TROOPSHIP GEELONG

22/5/12

Now at 35,000 words of A Butterfly On His Shoulder. Visited the Mitchell Library when in Sydney last week and found lots of material, including the published diary of the 12 Twelfth Battalion. Have also sourced a photograph of two Tasmanian nursing sisters who were aboard the Geelong, the troopship that transported the 12th Battalion to Egypt and subsequently to Gallipoli.

19/6/2012

Having neglected this project to complete  the ms. of  A Taste of the Thames  I can now take up where I left off.  Will be visiting the lovely Mitchell Library again next week to do some more research. We are going down by train, which will be a bit of an adventure!

 

                                UNTITLED

29/6/2013

I fear that A Butterfly On His Shoulder has remained on the back burner. My trip to Sydney was postponed and following a chat with some writer friends I  somehow launched into a new project. It is quirky and  light-hearted; a pure joy to work on.  This   has provided a good break from the emotion of writing about World War One.  I envisage it as  15,000 word ‘stocking filler’  for Christmas 2013.     Have completed 6, 000  words but  will put it aside  now and get back to my main work-in-progress…honestly!

 

 

SS WARATAH

1/5/12

My  story on the  SS  Waratah appears in this month’s issue of Quadrant.  It tells the story of  the passenger ship SS  Waratah, which disappeared without trace off the coast of South Africa  while enroute from Australia to London in 1909.  On board were 211 passengers and crew, many of them Australian.

The ship is often described as Australia’s Titanic.  There is a ghastly theory that the ship was disabled  in a severe storm and drifted south to eventually  perish in the Antarctic.

Oh Southern swell! Oh Southern swell!

Sad tragedies lurk in your kelp and shell.

(Alfred Styan Dendy, 1910)

 

 

SHELL-SHOCKED GALLIPOLI VETERAN

30/4/12

Have completed the first 30,000 words  of my new project, which has the working title,  A Butterfly On His Shoulder . I have now  included a brief  preface, which explains that the book traces the often parallel  lives of  Gallipoli veteran  Private Arthur William Singleton and that of Captain  Victor Richard Ratten.  Captain  Ratten was Arthur’s Regimental Medical Officer, and  a  completely bogus doctor .  My next step will be to visit the New South Wales State Library, which holds several books  and an unpublished thesis relating to the story.

5 Comments
  1. Thanks Pauline for letting me know about your web launch. Congratulations!
    I read you article about breakfasts around Europe…I couldn’t agree more! I was away for a Spa weekend with friends followed by a few days with Hamish’s cousin in Scotland and I’m now struggling to lose the extra pounds!
    Well done on finishing the book early, your weather sounds much like ours here in England!

  2. Thanks Pauline for letting me know about your web launch. Congratulations!
    I read your article about breakfasts around Europe…I couldn’t agree more! I was away for a Spa weekend with friends followed by a few days with Hamish’s cousin in Scotland and I’m now struggling to lose the extra pounds!
    Well done on finishing the book early, your weather sounds much like ours here in England!

  3. Thanks Rita

    Everyone seems to relate to the breakfast story! Hope you didn’t eat fried Mars bars in Scotland.

    Now that A Taste of the Thames is finished I can relax a bit. Will be wonderful to be back in the UK next year, even though it will be winter.

  4. Hi Pauline

    Great to see your backgrounding of your interest in the story of Dr Marsden and his daughters – and the link to Lachlan Macquarie Jnr’s sister-in-law Mary Campbell. Convoluted? A little, but an intriguing micro-story. I look forward to reading the full story of the ‘Water Doctor’ and the associated court case.

    Robin

  5. Hello Robin

    My interest in the Macquarie family has led to me meeting all sorts of interesting people (yourself included) and to visiting the most wonderful places, especially the Isle of Mull. That it also led to the writing of The Water Doctor’s Daughters is an added bonus. I feel very grateful to our mutual friend and research subject, Governor Macquarie!

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