A Lady's Visit to the Gold Diggings of Australia in 1852-53

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If you have visions of a middle-aged parasol-bearing lady smiling sweetly from her carriage as she tours Bendigo think again. In 1852, 20 year old clergyman’s daughter Ellen and her brother boarded ship for Melbourne then set off to walk to Bendigo. Dressed in her blue serge skirt which doubled as nightwear, she camped under a tent made of blankets, had mutton, damper and tea most meals and on arrival lent her hand to gold washing. And seemed to enjoy it ! And amongst other things she tells of colonial life , transportation, emigration and other gold-fields. But you will need to listen to hear more about bush-rangers and orphans as well as what she did with her parasol.

Ellen Clacy (1830–1901) is best known for her account of A Lady's Visit to the Gold Diggings of Australia in 1852–1853.

Born in 1830 in Richmond, Surrey, England, one of 5 children of clergyman Frederick Sturmer and Mary Norris.

In 1852 she travelled to Australia with her eldest brother to seek their fortunes on the goldfields of Victoria.

Clacy returned to England by ship without her brother a couple of months after arriving in Melbourne, and gave birth to her daughter, also called Ellen Louise Clacy, on board ship during the return journey.

After her return from Australia, Clacy began writing under the pseudonym "Cycla".

In 1854, she married Charles Berry Clacy, a merchant's clerk and mining engineer.

There seems to be some indication that she was abandoned by her husband, and she was said to support herself by writing articles for newspapers.

Ellen Clacy died in London in 1901.

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