Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Feisty Female

Local Author, Laurie Chater Forth, was the guest speaker at yesterday's meeting of The Hawkesbury Family History Group

I was lukewarm about attending this talk as I hadn't heard of either Laurie or her book "Margaret Catchpole – Her Life and her Letters ". And, wow, did I get a surprise?

Laurie was a charming, knowledgeable and interesting speaker who, in a quiet way, demonstrated a passion for her topic "Life of Margaret Catchpole". 

Laurie indicated that she would not give a "chapter and verse" talk on the life of Catchpole as most people in the audience probably knew the story of her life. I had heard of Margaret Catchpole, 
convict, and in my life as a librarian had biographies of Catchpole on the shelves but my knowledge of this formidable woman was scant.

I learnt that Margaret Catchpole, a convict, nursed women and babies in the Hawkesbury area in the early 19th century, was a successsful farmer and the first reporter in the district through the reports in her eleven letters (copies of which are held in the State Library of NSW and the national Library of Australia.

Joining a Local Writing Group provided Laurie with the impetus to get writing.  Her journey with Margaret Catchpole started in 1999 with an article in Hawksbury Independent. Isolation separation loyalty identity crisis.

In her talk Laurie outlined the research she had undertaken as she sought an answer to the question "Who was Margaret Catchpole?"

There had been many books and articles written about Margaret Catchpole but, through her research, Laurie was able to prove that many of these accounts were erroneous. Laurie is hoping, in her book that she describes as "an easy read", to have given Margaret Catchpole back her genealogy."

What Laurie gave me was an entertaining and illuminating talk on research methods and the life of a feisty female.

Thank you, Laurie. I am looking forward to reading your book.

1 comment:

Laurie Chater Forth said...

I am so glad you enjoyed meeting Margaret Catchpole. Thank you for the positive words. Laurie


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