Freedom Bound: I: Documents on Women in Colonial Australia
1 Jan 1995
Allen & Unwin
Patricia Grimshaw (Lecturer, History Department, University of Melbourne, Australia)
Over generations, Australian women have envisaged a world of freedom. This new collection of documents - letters, diary extracts, poems, public speeches - charts the visions that inspired women and the obstacles that confronted them. Dealing with a period from colonisation to early Federation in 1901, Freedom Bound I shows how intertwined were women's public and personal lives, and how bound by custom, ties, affection and duties. The different meanings of freedom have been shaped by the nature of women's oppression, their quests given focus by their different points of departure. Convict women protested - often violently - at the indignities they endured; Aboriginal women protested at the cruelty of the frontier and the paternalism of the mission; and white middle-class women demanded the freedom to participate in the public world. Together with its companion volume, Freedom Bound II, which deals with the twentieth century, this volume documents the dreams that inspired women, the pleasures and pain that informed their politics and the desires that enthralled them, even as they bade them to be free. It is an essential resource for students and teachers of Australian women's history.