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About the Scott notebooks

Begun by AW Scott around 1839, the notebooks contain entries by all four Scott daughters (Fanny, Mary, Harriet and Helena). Earlier notebooks (such as this one) are closely connected to the sketches and drawings made as the family collected and observed butterflies and moths first in Sydney and later on Ash Island.

The notebooks show how the butterfly and moth project developed from these observational records and drawings into its more ambitious book form over a number of years. By the time Harriet and Helena took over the notebooks around the mid 1840s, the Australian Lepidoptera book seems to have been the much clearer focus of their efforts.

Scott family notebook 1 page 3
Scott family notebook 1, page 3 Image: Australian Museum
© Australian Museum

This is an extract from the Scott family notebook 1, page 3.

"...(3) The general color underneath is similar to above but darker. The grub fed upon Dock leaves, and invariably refused the Vine. The body of the moth thick & downy.


No 6. represents a grub of the natural size and appearance found on the leaf of the Black Grape on the 8th Decr. 1838. On the 14 it began to spin having attained to the size of 4 inch and got much duller in color. its next was simply leaves joined together by a strong thread. On the 26 Dec, I took the chrysalis out and placed it in bran. The grub ate voraciously of the Vine leaf. No 7. represents exact size and..."

Download the handwritten notebook (PDF 23556 kB)

Download the transcription (PDF 146k kB)