Edward Octavius Douglas

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Edward Octavius Douglas is the son of Henry Alexander Douglas and his wife, Elizabeth Dalzell. Henry is a descendant of William Douglas, 1st earl of Queensberry and Elizabeth is a granddaughter of Alexander Dalzell, Earl of Carnwath.


[With] £2000 for acquiring land, the brothers Edward and John sailed for Sydney as cabin passengers in the Malacca and arrived in August 1851. In 1854 they went to the Darling Downs and bought, reputedly for £50,000, the 64,000-acre (25,900 ha) station Talgai which in 1853 ran 20,900 sheep. The Douglas brothers found congenial acquaintances among the squatters, many of them newly arrived from Scotland.

Douglas mortgaged them in 1860 to Gilchrist, Watt & Co. to raise £5000, they ran 1991 cattle. He had probably over-stocked and the evidence suggests that the Douglas brothers had not made the profits they expected from squatting. In 1861 Edward returned to Scotland where he purchased Killiechassie House.

Extract from the diary of his wife, Hannah Charlotte Scott-Douglas, (died 1921):

I Charlotte Douglasam the youngest daughter of Sir John Scott Douglas, 3rd Baronet of Springwood Park near Kelso. When I was very young my father died and my mother married Mr William Scott Kerr of Sunlaws, also near Kelso. They had a daughter, who is my younger sister Mary.

My dear mama died six years ago very suddenly when we were travelling in France, and since then I have been living with Mary and Mr Kerr. My elder brother George lives at Springwood Park with his wife Mariquita (whom he met in Gibraltar), and my elder sisters Catty and Sholta live in London. Last year Mr Kerr married Mary's governess Miss Fenessey.

My life is the life of any young lady of the aristocracy. I am privileged and educated, and I spend my day in ladylike pursuits such as drawing, playing music or taking scenic walks. When I am in Edinburgh I attend parties, concerts and balls, but I also go to educational lectures and visit museums. When at home in the Borders, I go walking, and visit our friends. I take my religion seriously, and frequently I wish I were a better person.

However, life is about to become very complicated for me, as you will see. This is the story of my pursuit of love, and my dreadful secret. Through my diary and the letters of my family you can see events unfolding, starting with my meeting Baron Hermann von Liebig in Edinburgh in December 1856.



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Last modified: Wednesday, 18 July 2018