Moved to tears

How lucky we were, those of us who had the magical experience of Jane’s Footprints on that evening in early June.

Sue Carson, as Jane Lashmar, along with Les Montanjees, Scott McDonald, Doug Gray and Michael Stove held the audience entranced for 70 minutes as they told us about Jane’s short life and death on Kangaroo Island, in song, poetry and story.

And they were greeted with a standing ovation from the audience. Lashmar family members were wiping tears from their eyes (and so were a few others, myself included).

Sue Carson sings Jane Lashmar witht he backing of (l-r) Doug Gray, Scott McDonald, Michael Stove (hidden) and Les Montanjees.
Sue Carson sings Jane Lashmar with the backing of (l-r) Doug Gray, Scott McDonald, Michael Stove (hidden) and Les Montanjees.

It was Kangaroo Island at its best and the best performance I’ve seen on the island, by far.

Yes, it was a project that Les and I have worked on for 18 months so clearly I am biased. But, every single audience member was thrilled at what they had witnessed. Bloody wonderful.

And then we had a beautiful tasty settler supper prepared by the wonderful Chapman River Cellar Door people, Helen and Penny in the kitchen and hosts Bruce and Diana Keir.

We are polishing up the recording and releasing it in a couple of weeks. If you are interested in buying a copy, please let me know in the comments box.


Tickets and a bus!

For tickets to Jane’s Footprints, contact Tourism Kangaroo Island on 08 8553 118508 8553 1185 (Australia) or email

Kangaroo Island Council and KI Transfers are running the Rockhopper bus from Kingscote and American River turnoff ($25) and Penneshaw ($20) to and from Jane’s Footprints. Generous discount for concessions. To book contact the Council on 8553 4500 or Only 18 seats available and they’re going fast.

Tickets at TKI

Tickets for Jane’s Footprints are now on sale through Tourism Kangaroo Island.

At Jane’s Footprints, you will be treated to a performance of song and story. The songs, composed by Kangaroo Island local Les Montanjees along with traditional tunes, are led by Sue Carson, who takes the part of Jane Lashmar, backed by local group The Coathangers and guitarist Michael Stove.

The 70-minute performance, which tells of Jane Lashmar’s life and times, is followed by a dinner that evokes the pioneer life of the 1860s, when Jane  lived at Antechamber Bay.

Only 80 tickets are available, at $129 each. To secure yours contact Tourism KI on 08 8553 1353 (Australia) or email


Who was Jane?

Jane Hannah Lashmar lived a short young life until she died without warning in her sleep on 15 November 1865 at Antechamber Bay. She was a mere 18 years and she is buried under a peppercorn tree in nearby Lashmar Conservation Park.

The Lashmar family arrived on the Dudley Peninsula (the eastern peninsula or ‘head’ of Kangaroo Island) in 1858 when Jane was already 11 years old. She was born in Port Lincoln on Eyre Peninsula, South Australia.

In her seven years at Antechamber Bay, Jane would have lived through natural events and been part of the establishment of the farming community in the area. She and her brothers and sisters, and their parents, would have visited the Sturt Light at Cape Willoughby, which first shone its beam in 1852. There was no school but travelling teachers and preachers would have visited and stayed at the Lashmar house near the banks of Chapman River.

At the time of Jane’s death, her brother John Sherbourne Lashmar, older by six years, was already the head of the family. Both parents had died in Adelaide: their father, Thomas Young Lashmar, suddenly in December 1860 and their mother, Jane Lashmar, from tuberculosis in November 1864.

While John ran the farm – and at times the Lashmars ran sheep from Cape Hart to Penneshaw, an area covering about one-third of Dudley Peninsula – Jane had charge of the rest of the orphans. When she died, Lilla was 15, Thomas 13, Fanny 10, William eight and Harry five.