Mrs Charles (Ellen) Clacy (1830-1901) was a clergyman's daughter who, in 1852, travelled to the Australian goldfields. Published in 1853, on her return to England, this work, the first edition of which sold out almost immediately, is essentially a guide for prospective emigrants. It includes, within the lively narrative, practical advice on the cost of living, the labour market, gold-digging regulations, and marriage prospects. Mrs Clacy published several subsequent books, but her life remains obscure. Research suggests an illegitimate pregnancy or an absconding husband, unmentioned in the upbeat and respectable narrative, but possibly echoed by the highly coloured 'tale' of an anymous emigrant woman, whose lover (twice) leaves her pregnant at the altar to go to the goldfields, with tragic consequences. However this relates to Mrs Clacy's actual circumstances, her writing vividly depicts the mixture of opportunity and hazard in nineteenth-century Australia, illuminating the country's early social history.