Cold Blows the Wind – Streets and Lanes of Hobart Town

Hobart Town 1879 At the Australian census of 1881, Tasmania was recorded as having a population of 115,705. Of these, 21,118 people lived in Hobart. Hobart was by this time an established city, the capital of the island state, with elegant sandstone buildings and the same well functioning institutions found in Britain: Parliament, Courts and … Continue reading Cold Blows the Wind – Streets and Lanes of Hobart Town

The Bridled Tongue – Some Background

Usually there are years of research over a wide range of topics involved with any historical novel. Although much of it is, thankfully, not described explicitly in the novel, it all helps to plausibly reconstruct the world as it was. I have drawn together here a number of the blog posts I have written on … Continue reading The Bridled Tongue – Some Background

Some Family History

I have ancestors from Ireland, England, Scotland and Canada, most of whom had arrived in Australia by the 1850s, with only a couple of Jenny/Johnny-come-latelys in the late 1860s. I have been obsessively researching them for fourteen years now, after inheriting my parents' papers in the early 2000s. My father attempted to research his forbears, … Continue reading Some Family History

Book Review – The Marriage Certificate by Stephen Molyneux

The Marriage Certificate by Stephen Molyneux is definitely one for the genealogists. It opens with the discovery of a marriage certificate in an antiques centre by Peter Sefton, an amateur genealogist. Thinking that there is something vaguely inappropriate for such a personal memento to be on display, he buys it in the hope of perhaps … Continue reading Book Review – The Marriage Certificate by Stephen Molyneux


Quite some years ago I applied for a job cataloguing maps. The interview  was going well when one of the interviewers placed a map in front of me and asked me how I would catalogue it - it was a cadastral map overlaying a topographic map of an area of Melbourne in the 1880s. I … Continue reading Maps