Needlework and Women’s Identity in Colonial Australia



In gold-rush Australia, social identity used to be in continual flux: gold on my own used to be not enough to shop for gentility. Needlework and Women’s Identity in Colonial Australia explores how the wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters who poured into the newly formed colony of Victoria used their needle skills as a powerful claim to social standing.

Focusing on one in every of women’s most common day by day tasks, the book examines how its practices and products were necessary in the contest for social position in the turmoil of the first two decades of the rush, from 1851 to 1870. Placing women firmly on the center of colonial history, it explores how the needle became a tool for stitching together identity. From decorative needlework to household making and mending, women’s sewing used to be a vehicle for establishing, asserting, and maintaining social status.

Interdisciplinary in scope, Needlework and Women’s Identity in Colonial Australia draws on material culture, written number one sources, and pictorial evidence, to create a wealthy portrait of the objects and manners that defined goldfields living. Giving voice to women’s experiences and positioning them as key players in the fabric of gold-rush society, the book offers a fresh critical viewpoint on gender and textile history.

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