MILLETT, Janet, as "Mrs. Edward Millett" (fl. 1863-1873). An Australian Parsonage; or, the Settler and the Savage in Western Australia. London: Edward Standford, 1872.

$ 200.00

MILLETT, Janet, as "Mrs. Edward Millett" (fl. 1863-1873). An Australian Parsonage; or, the Settler and the Savage in Western Australia. London: Edward Standford, 1872.

8vo., (8 x 5 inches). 24-page publisher's catalogue at end, dated June 1873. Wood-engraved frontispiece of Government House, Perth. Original publisher's purple cloth, gilt and blind (spine faded to brown, shaken and a bit worn at the edges).

Provenance: circulating library label removed from the front cover.

Second edition, first published the same year without the authoress's name on the title-page. "We found that those who advised our proceeding to Perth by the river had in no degree overrated its attractions. Generally speaking, the one great deficiency in Australian scenery is the want of water, but here at least this is not the case. For more than fifteen miles of its course the Swan resembles an arm of the sea rather than a river, and gives to the fine forest landscape through which it flows that charm which nothing else can supply. Its expanse of land-locked water would form one of the finest natural harbours in the world were it not for the bar into the river's mouth" (page 20).

Janet Millet was also the author of an article published in the October 1873 issue of "The Net" entitled "School Life in Australia", which sought to rally support for the Perth Mission. 

Millett, known as a "sketcher, watercolourist and writer, may have become aware of Western Australia after visiting the 1862 London International Exhibition where an impressive array of that colony’s products was on show; Erickson mentions that she studied its descriptive catalogue of exhibits. The immediate cause for leaving England, however, was the incapacitating medical condition suffered by her husband, the Rev. Edward Millett, whose tic douloureux could be relieved only by doses of morphia. The Milletts disembarked at Fremantle from the migrant ship Tartar on 13 December 1863 and Edward Millett was appointed incumbent of Holy Trinity Church of England, York. They lived in York for five years until Edward resigned his chaplaincy in July 1868. Then they left for London on board the Bridgetown on 10 January 1869.

"At London in 1872 'Mrs Edward Millett’ published An Australian Parsonage; or, the Settler and the Savage in Western Australia , personal reminiscences based on the journal and notes compiled during their stay. It gives a lively view of life in the colony, especially in rural York, which in the book she calls 'Barladong’, the Aboriginal name for the district, 'for reasons which will be readily understood when the limited character of the population of the colony is considered’. She showed a special interest in the Aboriginal people of the district, and soon after her book appeared the editor of a London missionary journal invited her to write an article on the Aborigines of Western Australia" (Joan Kerr for Design & Art Australia online).