Would you like to see some of the documents I uncovered while researching the life and death of Louisa Collins?
Well, here they are.
My publisher will probably think I'm crazy for doing this but I firmly believe that the information I uncovered belongs not to me - but to YOU.
Some of the documents that I've uploaded onto this new site www.louisacollins.com are more than 100 years old.
Historians, librarians and archivists have worked diligently over the past century to make sure that these documents - Lousia's letters from gaol; the statement given by her 10-year-old daughter in court - were kept clean, dry and safe.
Why would those people do that?
Because they wanted YOU to see them. Not me. Or, at least, not only me. They wanted EVERYONE to be able to see them. They knew that we'd come looking one day. There is no other reason to keep documents - the only reason you'd go to all that trouble is in the expectation that one day, someone will come looking.
I firmly believe that Louisa's story deserves to be as well known as Ned Kelly's. Her life - and her struggle to get a fair trial, and the campaign by women to get the vote so they might have a say in such matters as capital punishment - is a story that all school children should be taught.
I can't make that happen ... but I can put on the public record many of the documents I uncovered as part of my research into Louisa's story.
I'd be thrilled if you'd read them. Think about them. Use them for your own research, if you like.
My book is the first about Louisa Collins but it shouldn't be the last word. I'd love to have a thousand conversations about the role she played in shaping our nation's history, and if this new website helps get those conversations going I will be thrilled.