In 1829 Eliza Shaw exchanged her world of English drawing-rooms and embroidery for the brushwood huts and backbreaking labour of a pioneer settlement in Western Australia. She left Leicestershire with her husband Will, six children, two servants, some livestock and tools. They were never to see England again . . .
After long months at sea, then a disastrous arrival at the infant settlement of Fremantle when two of their sons were drowned, the family finally settled on the upper Swan River about 90 miles from Perth. The heat and sand, the hardships and calamities, the brilliant flowers and birds, the strangeness of the Aborigines, and the courage and comradeship of the small band of settlers are all recorded here through the eyes of a remarkable woman.
Eliza Shaw died in 1877, so her story encompasses almost the entire first half-century of the settlement of Perth and its surrounds. She left an invaluable legacy of letters and journals.