Robert Sticht, Mt Lyell Mine and Railway Company’s first General Manager, certainly carved his name into international history, but until the novel “Marion” was published by Brett Martin in 2014, little was known about his wife Marion.
Born in mid west Illinois USA, Marion spent her formative years in Colarado, was educated at Vassar – New York, and travelled Europe in 1888-89. In 1895, aged 30, she married Robert and relocated to the other side of the world to live in this remote mining community in Tasmania’s western wilderness.
The best way to understand more about this amazing lady’s life is to read Brett Martin’s novel “Marion”, published in 2014. Martin relays the story of how Marion carved a life of supporting her internationally acclaimed husband, and raised a family in a world so vastly different to what she left in the USA and how after her husbands’s death she exchanged her life at Penghana surrounded by staff, fine art, books, paintings, entertaining dignitatories, governors, members of the royal family for a shack in Balfour Tasmania. Her longing to return to the USA never eventuated.
A snippet of my favourite excerpt from Brett Martin’s book: “…. I turned my back on my beautiful house and my life in it and I did not look back……..We are all still there, ghosts in the walls, caught in the dust, caught in the light streaming through the stained glass, our skin-dust hidden in every edge and corner and gap of every room. Our hands shaped and polished the Blackwood banister. Our sweat is in the floorboards, our music vibrates deep inside the ballroom walls and its floor still echoes to the stamp of our gay feet. Our breath and tears and laughter imbue the very walls. We will never leave. We will always be there….”
When you stay at Penghana we will gladly share the knowledge we have gained about Marion’s life here at Penghana.