Women on the move: gender, money-making and mobility in mid-nineteenth-century Australasia

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Both onward mobility and money-making in the middle of the nineteenth century have typically been regarded as male prerogatives. Transnational mobility has been the subject of much recent scholarship, but the focus has been primarily on elite travellers, ‘imperial careers’ and the movement of ideas around the webs of empire. Scholars have acknowledged that women emigrated, but as domestic servants, governesses or wives. Particularly once married with children, these women are assumed to have settled in one place. This article challenges the notion that women were less mobile than men. Women in business not only demonstrated an awareness of markets beyond the local, but used their ability to make money in order to move around. Their motives ranged from the pursuit of profit and joining (or escaping) family, to avoiding scandal. For some, that mobility was a lifelong habit while for others, it was part of their business plan. This article considers the connections between business, mobility and gender in Australasian cities in the middle of the nineteenth century.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-59
Number of pages22
JournalHistory Australia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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