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Read the notebooks of the most famous natural history illustrators working in Sydney in the last decades of the 19th century.

Scott family notebook 3, page 13
Scott family notebook 3, page 13 Image: Australian Museum
© Australian Museum

Below is an extract from the Scott family notebook kept between 1840 and 1847, page 13.

"74 found in the domain feeding on Tea Bush and Cherry some went to turn on the 22 September and came out between 22 and the 19 Oct Larvae painted 22 Sep moth 17 Oct, 75 Found at Cumberland Place 6 Sep Went to turn the same day Turned to the Chrysalis on the 15 Sep Took wing 12 October painted 14, 76 found in the Domain 22 Sep 1842 Chrysalis and Larva in the same ?Bunch one Took wing the 30 Sep and we had several after, 77 found in the garden on Cauliflower 29 Dec turned on the 1 January took wing on the 29 Jan 1841, 78 given by Dr Leichhardt painted Chrysalis Took wing 11 April, 79 Found in the domain 21 March Fed on Tea Bush painted Larva 22 Went under ground 25 March Took wing 22 September painted 2..."

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Download the transcription (144 kB PDF)

About the Scott family notebooks

Begun by AW Scott around 1839, each of 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.