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Barbara Bernard George

Innisfail

1867-1936

Description

Life and Work


Barbara sailed to Canada in August of 1889 with her husband Dr. Henry George. She brought along with her sketches and watercolours she had done in Ireland.

Moving to Innisfail in 1893, Barbara cared for a family of twelve on the frontier. Their house would later become an historic site in Innisfail. Much of Dr. George's income was "in kind"- knitted socks, butter and sacks of potatoes. The George children helped Barbara gather local plants she then depicted in watercolour drawings and preserved by pressing. In 1905, Barbara and her husband opened the first natural history museum in the province. Along with her household duties and the circumstances of the times, Barbara continued painting landscapes and native plants.

Reputed to have drawn the Alberta crest, Barbara also created the crests for the City of Strathcona and the Red Deer School Division. She was active in the Anglican Church and the first natural history society in Alberta, now called the Red Deer River Naturalists.

Barbara wrote her memoirs after moving to Vancouver in 1923.