Robin Walsh is a graduate of UNSW with a BA (Hons) in early Australian history, and holds a graduate diploma in Library Science. He began his career in librarianship in 1976 at the Mitchell Library, Sydney, and has been working as a reference and research librarian at Macquarie University Library since 1980.
As senior research librarian at Macquarie University, Robin is also curator of the Lachlan Macquarie Room – the original parlour room from Macquarie’s home on the Isle of Mull, Scotland – located inside the University’s Library.
Elizabeth Henrietta Macquarie (nee Campbell of Airds)(1778 – 1835) was the second wife of Governor Lachlan Macquarie, who served the colony of New South Wales between 1810 and 1821. Their indomitable partnership survived personal loss and public scrutiny to shape the face of Australia.
Elizabeth embraced her life in this strange and largely unexplored country. She left a special imprint on the people and places of New South Wales through her advocacy of the arts, architecture, gardening and education. However, it was her family life that would consume much of her energies: her roles as wife, mother, nurturer and widow deeply influenced her outlook and inspired her wider social initiatives.
The book In Her Own Words explores – with explanations, annotations and transcriptions of Elizabeth’s surviving letters and her illuminating journal of her voyage to Sydney – how this remarkable woman forged a life that spanned the globe and transformed a colony.
“…At that moment his eyes, were turned up to heaven. He continued to breathe gently, for some time, and at length, it ceased, without a groan, or struggle of any kind. I was on my knees, beside him, and had hold of his shoulder. Every one was perfectly tranquil. He was certainly undisturbed, at the last… The moment of his departure was to me the most sublime of my Life. I felt as though my soul was ascending with his to heaven…”
ELIZABETH MACQUARIE, 1835 ON THE DEATH AND BURIAL OF LACHLAN MACQUARIE
More information on Elizabeth Macquarie can be found at the excellent Macquarie University site –The Lachlan & Elizabeth Macquarie Archive
“In Her Own Words is a handsome, large-format book, lavishly illustrated with prints of contemporary paintings, illustrations of some of Elizabeth’s writings and several maps, all of which set the tone of the work and decisively place Elizabeth and the narrative in context….this is a valuable contribution to the Macquarie archive.”
– Sylvia Marchant, The Canberra Times
“In Her Own Words: The Writings Of Elizabeth Macquarie is a beautifully produced and illustrated work, with original source documents and modern photographs of places close to Mrs Macquarie’s life….a book to treasure and a pleasure to read.”
– Barbara Hall, Inside History
“The premise of Walsh’s book is to let Mrs Macquarie’s character and feelings, as revealed in her own letters and journal entries, illuminate episodes of her life and of what has now become Australian colonial history. Because of the author’s extensive research and informed insights, this strategy succeeds. On their own, many of Mrs Macquarie’s writings would be interesting but perplexing. Thanks to Walsh’s careful selection and sensitive provision of interpretive information and background they form a reasonably cohesive narrative.”
– Greg Ray, The Newcastle Herald
“The book’s format suggests it’s a coffee table book, but it’s way too good to languish next to the remote control. It’s a marvellous insight into another era, seen through the eyes of a woman who was intelligent and articulate. The source notes running beside the maint ext offer extra detail for us history geeks.”
– Jenny Baldwin, ABC Gardening Australia Magazine
ABC1 7.30 Report piece on The Book and Elizabeth Macquarie