A mind blowing find at the National Library of Australia.
I found out back in 2012 from an article at the time, that my 3 x Great Grandfather, George Robertson Nicoll had written a book and that the library had a copy of it and the original handwritten manuscript in its collection.
The article written by Judy Cannon (no relation to Alex) and titled “For the Love of Travel”, was inspiring and really piqued my interest.
It took another 6 years but I finally got to see both the book and the manuscript in Oct 2018.
There were only 25 copies of the book printed, the Mitchel Library in Sydney has one, this one at the NLA and presumably the rest are scattered around the world. My Cousin Viv in Scotland who is undertaking a proper research study of the Nicoll’s has mentioned that her family lore says that there are a couple more floating around that were dedicated to George’s Neice’s.
Now we come to the manuscript. I half expected it to be some loose bound pages in a folio sleeve, huh! Out comes a big satin bean bag cushion and gloves and a very pensive glowering Librarian instructing me on how to handle the manuscript. He delivers to me a large grey box with a number of different manuscripts housed together. Taking up most of the space was this huge tome of a thing that looked like it was straight from the set of “Gringotts” in “Harry Potter”.
I very gingerly opened it up and was stunned to see that it was filled with the most amazing handwritten script, 319 pages to be precise from my 3x Great Grandfather and then a further 40 pages by his son John Baird Nicoll on a cruise he took with his Wife around the South Pacific. I was gobsmaked. Just look at the title page below.
I couldn’t believe what I was reading, 1890, from memory and about my family. Can’t wait to share more with you. Will post soon.