Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Australian National Herbarium
Lady Margaret Forrest (1844 - 1929)
Born Margaret Elvire Hammersley of well-to-do settlers who arrived at the Swan
River Colony in 1837, Margaret Forrest was educated at home by governesses.
In 1925 she recalled her happy childhood in an interview:
'I had a most happy childhood and girlhood. When released from my schoolroom,
I passed my time pleasantly in singing and painting and riding and visiting
. . in fact, every moment was fully filled, as I was also fond of gardening.
I adore nature and our lovely wild flowers which I have painted from childhood'
In 1876 she married John Forrest who became
the first premier of Western Australia, was elected to Federal Parliament in
1901 and was briefly acting Prime Minister in l907.
(West Australian, 18 September 1925.)
Her interest in native plants, plus her position in society, brought her
into contact with many of the leading botanists and botanical artists who
visited Australia. In 1880, for example, she provided the specimens for Marianne
North, the English botanical artist. In 1889 Forrest set off with Marian
Ellis Rowan to Geraldton and the area north of Carnarvon painting the
She was a founding member of the West Australian Society of Arts in 1896
and of the earlier Wilgie Club, which was possibly the first artists' society
in the State.
Extracted from: Jennifer Phipps (1986) Artists' Gardens
- Flowers and Gardens in Australian Art 1780s-1980s, Bay Books, Sydney.
[consult for source references]
Australian National Herbarium - updated
13 November, 2007
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