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Searching for Charlotte – The Fascinating Story of Australia’s First Children’s Author

Since their earliest years, Kate Forsyth and Belinda Murrell had spent time listening to family stories, enthralled by the adventures of their ancestors. Their 4 times Great Grandmother Charlotte, was a storyteller and writer and often, Kate’s family would drive to country NSW to visit places about which Great Grandma Charlotte had written.  Author’s themselves, Kate and Belinda decided to follow a lead to discover if Charlotte was truly the first Australian Children’s Author.

So begins a comprehensive story; it is part Biography, part Genealogy and part of a discovery trail where Kate and Belinda piece their family history together and mesh it with their lives today. The values of family, education and strong, feisty women are certainly found in the sister’s own present circle. Chapters are written by Kate and then Belinda, each addressing a path of exploration. They begin their search in the old family home in Kent, UK, where Charlotte was born, search records and archives for every scrap of information on the ancestors.

It seems the family were very well to do with Charlotte receiving an exceptional education. After a family disaster, she accepted a post as a Governess to Maria Macquarie’s children in New South Wales. At age 30 she set sail for Australia. On board she met James, who proposed to her shortly after. Charlotte accepted, they married and set up home in the country. Four much loved children were born to the couple, when again disaster struck and Charlotte had to use all her creative energy to keep her children and raise money.

The authors have involved the reader in their story Searching for Charlotte with many side issues and spinoff tales told. We follow their emotions and excitement for each discovery they make and for each confirmation of their theories. Those researching family trees will connect with this aspect of the story. For others, knowledge of early Australian History will be added to again.

Author Kate Forsyth and Belinda Murrell
Publisher NLA Publishing
ISBN 9780642279699
Website https://bookshop.nla.gov.au/book
Distributor NLA
Released November 2020