Margaret Forrest

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Margaret Forrest00.jpg
Margaret Forrest wearing a court dress, 1876

Margaret Elvire, Baroness Forrest of Bunbury (22 October 1844 – 13 June 1929 in Picton, Bunbury), born Margaret Elvire Hamersley, was the wife of Sir John Forrest.[1] Born in Le Havre, France, she was a member of the prominent and wealthy Hamersley family; her father was Edward Hamersley (Senior), and amongst her brothers were Edward Hamersley (Junior) and Samuel Hamersley. She married Forrest in 1876 and enjoyed many years in public life, as John Forrest became the first Premier of Western Australia, and later a federal politician. Their family homestead was called Wilberforce.[2]

Lady Forrest had a great interest in fine arts. She had an interest in native plants, and was an accomplished painter of wildflowers. She was a founding member of the Wilgie Club, the first artists' society in Western Australia, and exhibited six wildflower watercolours in the Wilgie First Annual Exhibition of Paintings in 1890. After her death in 1929, her collection was bequeathed to the Art Gallery of Western Australia.[2][3]

In September 1889 Ellis Rowan joined Margaret Forrest in a painting tour. At Boolantha Station, north of Carnarvon, and Geraldton, they painted desert flowers. Their joint exhibition at the Perth Railway Station Reading Room on 5 November is thought to have been the first art exhibition ever held in the colony.[2]

Both the Margaret River and the Elvire River in the Western Australian Kimberley region were named after her.


  1. ^ Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage Knightage, and Companionage. 1920. London. 1920. Retrieved 9 March 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c "Forrest, Margaret Elvire (1844 - 1929)". The Australian Women's Register. The National Foundation for Australian Women. Retrieved 16 Aug 2013. 
  3. ^ Woodward, Bernard H (11 Dec 1889). "The Wilgie Sketching Club". The West Australian. p. 3. Retrieved 16 Aug 2013. 

See also[edit]

  • Crowley, Frank (2000). Big John Forrest 1847–1918: A Founding Father of the Commonwealth of Australia. University of Western Australia Press, Nedlands, Western Australia. ISBN 1-876268-44-1. 
  • Phipps, Jennifer (1986). Artists' Gardens: Flowers and Gardens in Australian Art 1780s-1980s. Sydney, Australia: Bay Books. 
  • List of Australian botanical illustrators