New film captures historical story of Scott Sisters of Ash Island

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Harriet and Helena Scott worked and grew up during the 1840s-1860s on Ash Island, which is now part of Kooragang Island, learning to be scientific illustrators.

Illustration of butterflies by the Scott Sisters

Their story has now been captured by the University of Newcastle’s Cultural Collections as part of the Stories of our Town series.

In April 2020, the University’s Cultural Collections/GLAMx team and its film maker partners Glenn Dormand and Tony Whitaker were among one of the five successful applicants sharing $1.2 million from the NSW Government’s Round Five of the Newcastle Port Community Contribution (NPCC) fund to help fund twelve films on the important historical stories of Newcastle and its port and estuary.

The Scott Sisters documented the flora and fauna of their island home in beautifully crafted images, recording the transformations of insects from caterpillars into moths and butterflies. Their work was world class, but women and girls of the time were unable to attain a University degree.

The Stories of Our Town Project presents Newcastle’s key historic stories through Novocastrian eyes and points of view.

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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.