WINNER – The most outstanding book in any category Victorian Community History Awards 2015
‘The judges said “Fletcher’s sensitive and insightful biography of this remarkable woman deserves the highest accolade in this year’s VCHA”.’ Books+Publishing, 21 October 2015
‘Read this fascinating biography to learn how this gentle, modest, generous woman managed to develop her botanical interests and writing projects around numerous domestic duties as aunt, niece, daughter and carer, but not wife or mother. Discover how, from the home of her pioneer settler family, she became a pioneer nature writer and conservationist, as well as a respected botanist. Meredith’s book was the worthy winner of the major prize in the 2015 Victorian Community History Awards.’ The Victorian Naturalist, December 2015, Vol 132 (6)
‘She turns a quiet, scholarly, modest existence into a book that breathes real life into its subject and celebrates the uniqueness of Victorian landscape threatened by the modern world.’ Dina Ross, Australian Book Review
Jean Galbraith: Writer in a Valley is the compelling story of Jean Galbraith (1906–1999), one of Australia’s most influential botanists and writers on nature, plants and gardens. As a garden writer, she was particularly notable for spreading knowledge of Australian flora and encouraging the cultivation of natives in home gardens. As a botanist she wrote accessible field guides to Australian wildflowers that made a vital contribution to the conservation of native plants. She conveyed the wonders of nature to generations of children through her child-centred stories of adventures in the natural world. Her nature writing evoked the spirit of places she knew well and introduced readers to the beauty of the Australian bush. During a writing career that began in the mid-1920s and spanned seventy years, Galbraith developed new forms of garden writing in Australia and turned botanical writing into a literary art.
This book also explores the relationship between a writer and her place. From her home in Gippsland, inspired by her surroundings, Galbraith put her vision of nature into words and helped Australians of all ages to see their own landscapes in new ways.
Meredith Fletcher is a historian specialising in environmental, local and community history. For twenty years she was director of the Centre for Gippsland Studies at Monash University Gippsland Campus, and is now an adjunct research fellow at the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies, Monash University. Her book, Digging People Up For Coal: a History of Yallourn was short-listed for the NSW Premier’s History Awards.