The year 2016 brings the prospect of some notable anniversaries in the life of ‘Elizabeth’. We begin here by commemorating the 150th anniversary of her birth, on 31st August 1866, in Sydney, Australia.
From her birth certificate, we know that Mary Annette Beauchamp (to be known much later as ‘Elizabeth’) was born on Kirribilli Point, though the exact location is uncertain.
However, soon after the birth of their youngest child, the prosperous Beauchamp family moved into a large and beautiful home called ‘Beulah’. ‘Beulah’, also on Kirribilli, was aptly named, and Elizabeth’s early years (before the family sailed for London), were spent in this wonderful home, surrounded by a beautiful garden.
I would like here to quote, by kind permission of Chris Naylor, a short extract from Louey’s Story, written by his late mother, a Beauchamp descendant, Elizabeth Beauchamp Naylor. This story is told from the point of view of Mary Annette’s mother Louey, and was printed privately in 2009.
Elizabeth Naylor writes:
- ‘Beulah’ was a wonderfully spacious and altogether charming home set in a large garden. Through tall gums there were splendid views over the harbour to Sydney Cove and well laid-out garden steps went right down to the water’s edge… As Henry [Heron Beauchamp, Mary’s father] remarked, even its name was fortuitous – In Bunyans’s Pilgrims Progress Beulah is a pastoral paradise of birdsong and eternal flowers.
It seems fitting that the earliest memories of the future author of Elizabeth and her German Garden would have been of this beautiful place.
Later in the year, we hope to announce how the International Elizabeth von Arnim Society might mark this very special anniversary.