Jennifer (JC-S)'s Reviews > Elizabeth Macarthur: A Life at the Edge of the World

Elizabeth Macarthur by Michelle Scott Tucker
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bookshelves: australian-author, australian-womens-writers-challenge, librarybooks

‘Convict ship Scarborough was no place for a gentleman’s daughter.’

Over half a century ago, I learned about John Macarthur and his role in establishing Australia’s fine wool industry. In passing I learned that his wife’s name was Elizabeth. A few years later, I learned about a different aspect of John Macarthur, requiring him to return to England twice to stand trial. Those absences totalled 12 years: 1801-1805 and 1809 to 1817. And as I learned more about this aspect of John Macarthur, I wondered who managed the Macarthur interests in Australia during his absence.

Who was Elizabeth Macarthur? Born Elizabeth Veale, she was 23 years old when she accompanied her husband John Macarthur to New South Wales on the Second Fleet in 1790. She was a young wife, who became the mother of eight children. She was upwardly mobile, very careful of who she mixed with. She proved herself capable of managing the Macarthur interests during John’s absences and other distractions. In this book, Michelle Scott Tucker shows each of these aspects of Elizabeth Macarthur.

Originally the Macarthurs had intended to return to England, but they realised that there were more opportunities available to them in New South Wales. They were both ambitious, but it was Elizabeth whose endeavours enabled so many of their achievements.

This is a biography of Elizabeth Macarthur, but it is also an account of a key period in Australia’s colonial history. Michelle Scott Tucker has drawn on several different sources, including the letters sent by Elizabeth her family and friends.

I’d recommend this book to anyone interested in Australian colonial history.

‘After thirty years of farming, much of it entirely managed by Elizabeth, the Macarthurs were a success.’

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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Reading Progress

June 8, 2019 – Started Reading
June 8, 2019 – Shelved
June 8, 2019 – Shelved as: australian-author
June 8, 2019 – Shelved as: australian-womens-writers-challenge
June 8, 2019 – Shelved as: librarybooks
June 10, 2019 – Finished Reading

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