Biography, Politics, Source, Women's History

Through Life in Pursuit of Equality – Part I

English newspapers contained similar evidence of male arrogance and insensitivity to women’s rights as in Australia. One morning newspaper reported findings of a medical committee inquiring into whether or not women should be permitted some form of pain relief at childbirth. By a majority decision the male members of the committee decided women should not have relief, as pain may be necessary to establish a mother’s love for her child. The two women on the committee recorded a minority finding in favour of pain relief during childbirth.

Biography, Politics, Source

Descended from a Matriach – Part 2

It was the late 1960s and we were gearing up for the 1967 referendum. The Doug Nichols Hall had been established by that time, and members of the league came in to work, we had photocopiers everywhere, and they were going all the time. We printed thousands and thousands of pamphlets and cards to be handed out at voting booths. Uncle Doug and Stan Davey, as well as the directors of the Aborigines Advancement League, were being interviewed on radio and television constantly. When the referendum was won, we had a huge celebration at the Doug Nichols Hall …

Event, Source, Women's History

Black and Minority Ethnic Women and the Sea in World War 2

… seasickness was the main feature of the voyage. The Atlantic can be particular unpleasant in winter and the Ile de France’s zigzagging worsened it. One of the post women, Miss Rhoden, said she had to hang on with all her strength the veering was so severe – and noisy: ‘the sirens, the banging, the horns, and the whistles; the galvanized cans were banging and clanging.’ And in their cramped cabin women’s perfume and cosmetics whizzed off the shelves, ‘flying through the air like marbles.’

Biography, Politics, Source

Soaring with Eagles – Part 2

Lillian Roth once said her life was never her own, it was charted before she was born. Boy, you’d better believe it. Within a month or two I met an Englishwoman who had lived in India for 11 years and had vowed, after the spirit and vivacity of India, never to return to her homeland. She was looking to fill the void, and found it through workign voluntarily with fledgling Aboriginal organisations adn people. At the time I didn’t really know this, it is only in retrospect, but on first encounter she hugged me like a daughter and I was to become like a daughter, for she became my second Mum, my ‘migloo Mum’, for want of a better word. (‘Migloo’ is a Queensland Aboriginal term for ‘whitefella’.)

Biography, Politics, Source, Women's History

From the Bush, to Sales, to the Airforce – Reflections on the Beginnings of a 20th Century Life

… As a junior, I didn’t serve any customers for almost 12 months, because that was the seniors’ job. Juniors weren’t allowed to speak to a customer. We had to run the messages and tidy up … The seniors at Farmers were trained in what we’d now call customer relations. The juniors were trained too. When I first went there, even though it was only for three weeks, for a sale, I had two days training before beginning in the department. I was paid to be taught where the items were in the store, how to write out dockets, how to speak to people …

Event, Politics, Source, Women's History

Captured by Germans – WWI Women Seafarers

German crew … wondered at the women’s calmness. ‘Aren’t you afraid of being shot?’ they asked. After all, Edith Cavell had been executed by firing squad just seven months earlier. ‘“We are Englishwomen” was considered sufficient reply,’ claimed the women’s company magazine …

Event, Politics, Women's History

Basque Children and their Seafaring ‘Aunties’ – An Evacuation

In world wars, women, almost always volunteers, escorted children – together with disoriented adult refugees – on British ships. Often they were not even being paid expenses. Some were captured, interned and even killed during their WW2 voyages.

Called ‘aunty’, many of the women were experienced travellers and lively independent types, at a time when women’s mobility was still limited and their solo travel problematic. Unsung and overlooked, these pioneers deserve recognition. They were members of a minority who cleverly utilised gendered conventions (‘women are suitable carers for little ones’) to do all the travelling they could, despite low incomes.

Event, Politics, Women's History

Travelling Women

The idea that the woman at home is nothing but ‘of the home’ was contested by reference to travel artifacts in the home; through furnishings as redolent of places far away – as in drapes and couches, wall hangings and bedding; by use o f cooking utensils such as the wok and bain-marie; so, too, styles of cooking and kitchen, breads and beverages. The challenge of the exotic nature of what is so often classed as ‘domestic’, together with the concept of the window as a ‘window to the world’ whilst also being a window into the world, affirmed both the vitality and the importance of seeing anew.