On 9 July 1800, Pierce Collits was tried at the Old Bailey in London for receiving stolen goods, including muslin, lace and handkerchiefs, and sentenced to fourteen years' transportation.
On 14 December 1801, Pierce and his wife Mary, a free woman, arrived in Sydney on the Minorca. They would have endured a journey of some months on a vessel that carried both convicts and free settlers, and have landed in a colony that was only 13 years old when they arrived.
I thought writing a book about children at home during World War One would be interesting. However, as I began my research I found I was in for two shocks. The first was how little had been recorded about the lives of children during the Great War. I expected piles of books and journal articles, and I was very disappointed. Thank heavens for Trove with its vast collection of newspaper articles. Thanks, too, for the Victorian School Magazine of those years, which recorded the contribution that those kids made. Those who wrote history a hundred years ago wrote of the deeds of men.
On Sunday 20 March, Professor Nicholas Jose will visit the Library to deliver the 2016 Eric Rolls Memorial Lecture. Professor Jose is a novelist, essayist, playwright and academic. He studied for his undergraduate degree at the Australian National University, and gained his doctorate at Oxford University, before returning to ANU to teach in the English department from 1978 to 1985. He then taught briefly in China, before serving as Cultural Counsellor in the Australian Embassy Beijing from 1987 to 1990.
On Saturday 19 March, Linda Jaivin will visit the Library to discuss the perils and seductions of writing about China in the context of her own experiences as foreign journalist, memoirist, travel writer, librettist, essayist and novelist.
On Thursday 10 March, join multimedia artist Tianli Zu and Chinese art scholar Edmund Capon as they discuss their appreciation of Chinese culture as experienced from two vastly different backgrounds. They will converse over 5 themes: Identity and definition, continuity, ideological and 'spiritual' threads, nature and landscape and the contemporary diaspora of artists around the world.
We were lucky enough to borrow time with Tianli and Edmund to ask a few questions about their recent projects and career influences.
When you write someone's biography, you try to find some common bond with your subject. Aviatrix Lores Bonney and I are unalike in so many ways but there is one thing we have in common. We both wear pearls! I laughed out loud when I read how she came to like this simple, elegant jewel.