Meet Frances Maber


I was born in England, educated in WA and fascinated by stories from the moment I could read. My career was in education, mostly as an administrator and senior manager in the Commonwealth Department of Education (where I was awarded an OBE) and finally as Registrar at Murdoch University. I retired early and we travelled to meet my English rellies and to hunt for my husband’s forebears. In between times I published six children’s books favouring wombats.

This was all good preparation for a novel in which the subject is my great-great-grandmother-in-law. REMEMBERING CATHARINE is a ‘ghost memoir’ based on minimal formal documentation combined with colonial newspaper stories and lots of imagination. Catharine was a tough little bird who survived everything life threw at her. She deserved that her story be told.



This ghost memoir tells the life of Catharine Maber, from her harsh beginnings as a child in Ireland, to her eventual marriage and transportation to a penal colony in Australia. A skilled embroiderer, which often helped her to survive, Catharine tells her story through the making of a patchwork quilt. 

Phil Angus said:

A riveting and rollicking tale of early Australian settlement…

Frances Maber must have put a lot into the research of this tale, as both the historic detail and the “feel” of the times, was very well described.  It was a very interesting read, and although often describing a series of dire misfortunes and hardships, the story didn’t wallow and got on with it, much as the protagonist Catharine obviously did too.  The quilt structure around which the plot was organised, was a great way to reveal the events, and helped sign post the various adventures (and misadventures) very well!  Great debut novel and can’t wait to read the next one!!