Georgiana Molloy, Jane Porter and the Significance of Exploration Narratives for New Beginnings in a Strange Land


  • Peta Beasley (University of Western Australia)



Sir Edward Seaward's Narrative“, first published in 1831, was an instant success: the London Quarterly Review“ acknowledged that it had gone into its second edition within twelve months. Edited by Jane Porter, Sir Edward Seaward's Narrative “follows the model of other exploration narratives, but diverges from the formulae in its focus on ‘homespun achievements' and ‘conjugal bliss and domestic contentment' rather than mutiny and massacre. (William Lines, An All Consuming Passion “(New South Wales: Allen & Unwin, 1994), p. 189.)

Georgiana Molloy arrived in the Swan River colony in 1830, settling in the remote south-west of Western Australia. With no home comforts Georgiana had to adapt to the many hardships of colonial life in this unfamiliar land. Despite her time being mostly absorbed in the daily grind, she was determined to find time to read.

In 1834 Georgiana wrote in a letter to her best friend in England that she was reading Sir Edward Seaward's Narrative“. This was the first work of fiction that Georgiana had read since arriving in the colony, and yet this novel, I propose, was the motivation for her finding purpose and passion in her harsh surroundings. This paper will explore how Sir Edward Seaward's Narrative, “with its focus on ‘homespun achievements', mutual support, companionship and adherence to the Sabbath, became for Georgiana the foundation of beginnings in the challenging and harsh environment in which she found herself. (Ibid.)