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Forrest, Margaret Elvire (1844 - 1929)

Lady

Born
22 October 1844
Le Havre, France
Died
13 June 1929
Western Australia, Australia
Occupation
Botanical artist and Political activist

Summary

Margaret Forrest was one of Australia's early botanical artists, and the wife of Western Australia's first Premier. She was born Margaret Elvire Hamersley in 1844, to Edward Hamersley and his French wife Anne Louise (Cornelis). They left London with their two young sons aboard the Shepherd, and arrived at Fremantle in 1837. Edward quickly acquired land around Perth and Fremantle, and became involved in viticulture and horse breeding. In 1843 the family made the first of two voyages back to Europe, and on this first extended sojourn, Margaret was born at La Havre, France, in October 1844. The Hamersleys returned to the Swan River colony in 1850.

From an early age, Margaret Hamersley showed enthusiasm for watercolour painting, spending much time studying and sketching wildflowers. She later travelled on sketching trips with other noted botanical artists Marianne North and Rowan Ellis. She married John Forrest on 29 February, 1876 at St. George's Cathedral, Perth, and became heavily involved in political life, accompanying her husband on overseas and interstate trips. Lady Forrest was an active member of Western Australia's first society for artists and exhibited six wildflower watercolours in the Wilgie First Annual Exhibition of Paintings in 1890. She was a founding member of the Western Australia Society of Arts and the Karrakatta Club which was organised to broaden women's outlook by bringing them in contact with the fine arts. After her death in 1929, her collection was bequeathed to the Art Gallery of Western Australia in 1933.


Source: http://www.anbg.gov.au/biography/forrest-margaret.html [accessed 15/03/2002] and Australian Garden History, vol. 7, no. 6, May/June 1996, p.12.

Related entries

Foundation Member

Archival resources

JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia

  • Correspondence and Diary of Lady Margaret Elvire Forrest, covering years 1858-1913 [manuscript], 1858 - 1913, MN 77, ACC 1009A, ACC 6631A; Forrest, Margaret Elvire (1844 - 1929); JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia. Details
  • Hamersley Family Papers 1839-1922, 1839 - 1922, MN 150, ACC 971A, 1286A, 6491A; JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia. Details
  • Letter from Lady Margaret Elvire Forrest to Capel Brockman, 1867, 1867, ACC 962A; Forrest, Margaret Elvire (1844 - 1929); JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia. Details
  • Letter from Lady Margaret Elvire Forrest to Dr J.S. Battye, 14 June, 1922, 14 June, 1922, ACC 850A; Forrest, Margaret Elvire (1844 - 1929); JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia. Details
  • Letter from Lady Margaret Elvire Forrest to Miss M. St. Clair Layman, 19 April, 1910, 19 April, 1910, ACC 142A; Forrest, Margaret Elvire (1844 - 1929); JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia. Details
  • Letters written by Lady Margaret Elvire Forrest, 1918, 20 October 1918 - 3 November 1918, ACC 1331A; Forrest, Margaret Elvire (1844 - 1929); JS Battye Library of West Australian History, State Library of Western Australia. Details

Anne Heywood and Lisa McKinney

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0327b.htm

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