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A List of Articles for a Lady's Use, during her Passage to India...

Date: 1850s
Dimensions:
Overall: 285 x 221 mm, 0.01 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Advertisement
Object No: 00000780
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    Description
    Although the majority of immigrants travelling to Australia in the 19th century were government assisted, unassisted single men or families, there was a small but significant group of unassisted female immigrants who with their wealth, education, cultured and refined habits, and religious convictions hoped to fit in to colonial society. Whilst Mrs Norton's List of Articles Recommended for Travel is comprehensive enough to provide for the most fashionable traveller to the colony, it is also a list of clothing suitable for the growing number of unassisted women immigrants.

    SignificanceThere was a small but growing group of unassisted female immigrants to Australia in the 19th century. Unfortunately the overall picture of these women is a partial one owing to the limitations of the historical evidence. Handbills such as this become symbolic of a particular type of immigrant to Australia in the 19th century neglected by other sources.
    HistoryUnassisted immigration to Australia first became significant in the 1820s. By then there was an established society in Australia (notably Sydney) within which the wives and daughters of the colony's pastoral, mercantile and civil establishments were 'becoming ladies of superior accomplishments'. The adherence to the rules of this upper class society in colonial Australia has been noted by historians such as Katrina Alford as being more affected and studied than in London itself (1984:p127).

    Although the majority of immigrants travelling to Australia in the 19th century were government assisted, or unassisted single men or families, there was a small but significant group of unassisted female immigrants such as Anne Drysdale, Caroline Newcombe and Jane Williams who - with their wealth, education, cultured and refined habits, and religious convictions - hoped to be able to fit into colonial society.

    The prejudices of the women's families, the colonial elite and the sexual politics of that period often saw these independent women's motives for immigration and travel reduced to that of greater marital prospects for English women in the Australian and other overseas colonies. 'If you go under suitable protection, possess good health, are not fastidious...the worst risk you run is that of getting married...Here women beat the 'lords of creation'... Ellen Clacy 1853 (Charlewood, 1983, p66)

    The actual reasons for immigration as an independent woman were of course far more complex ranging from perceived political and social freedom and better economic opportunities to better health.

    Unfortunately the overall picture of these unassisted female immigrants is a partial one owing to the limitations of the historical evidence - as independent women they were not subject to detailed government records - unlike assisted women immigrants; they were forgotten in the more traditional male history of Australia; their diaries have disappeared (Hassam [1995p15] noted that out of 850 immigrant diaries kept by institutions in England and Australia only 14% were written by women) and when they did write about themselves - like Louise Meredith - they tended to focus on the upper class of the colonial elite rather than on the typical independent middle class woman of the period.

    Due to the limitations in the historical record, material items such as this handbill take on a social and historical significance. They become symbolic of a particular type of immigrant to Australia in the 19th century neglected by other sources.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: A List of Articles for a Lady's Use, during her Passage to India...

    Primary title: A list of articles for a Lady's use, during her passage to India, or any other part of the World

    Related People
    Printer: W Stevens

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