Lucy: a private life revealed through public records is an online version of a popular Public Record Office Victoria touring display.
Lucy Sarah Bell’s story is representative of many nineteenth-century women. A farmer’s wife, and mother to several children, Lucy did not lead a public life. We do not even have a photograph of her. Yet we can re-tell Lucy’s story because she, like other ordinary people, used and relied on the services of government. Evidence of this interaction is richly documented at Public Record Office Victoria (PROV).
Public records provide the raw material for many researchers of family and local histories. Lucy’s story, as presented here, draws on many commonly used PROV records, and serves as an example of family and local history research.
Grateful acknowledgement is made to the donors of material for reproduction in this exhibition, listed on the Sources page. In particular we thank Mr Tony Leviston and Mrs Eleanor George, descendants of Lucy, for their assistance, and Anne Beggs-Sunter and the Buninyong and District Historical Society. The PROV staff who compiled the material are: Louisa Scott, Joan Hunt, Colin Kemp, Daniel Wilksch, Diane Gardiner, Sebastian Gurciullo, and Kyle Young.