Dr Deborah Jordan, Visiting Fellow with the Harry Gentle Resource Centre, is presenting her talk, ‘What We Want’: Queensland’s Colonial Feminisms, at the Queensland State Archives on Thursday 2 November at 11.00am.

Dr Jordan is a Petherick Reader at the National Library of Australia, an internationally recognised Nettie and Vance Palmer scholar, and Adjunct Fellow in History at Monash University. She specialises in research on women at the intersection of literature, history, and environment, and is currently working on a book on the first wave of the women’s movement in Queensland.

This ‘QSA Talks’ presentation addresses how biography intersects with social movement through the lives of early settlers Mary McConnel, Fanny Trundle, Lady Sarah Lilley and others who became suffragists and philanthropists.

The first generation of women settlers in Queensland (arriving before separation from New South Wales in 1859) were profoundly determined by an imperial problematic and colonial encounters. The frontier wars, brutal convict origins and limited number of white women shaped the nature of early free settlement.

Take-up of pristine Indigenous lands proceeded apace, especially through the promotion of immigration and a land grant system. The male-only vote for the Lower House had strict eligibility requirements, and a white man could have multiple votes depending on assets. Despite the huge influx of settlers who were to outnumber them, pastoralists dominated the economy and parliament for the next fifty years.

The depth of divisions between white women, let alone between women of different races, on the issue of the ‘property’ vote and the impacts of the wage disparity between white and black labour becomes clearer. The version of colonial feminisms these women argued shaped later campaigns for full adult suffrage.

This event, held in partnership with the Queensland State Archives, will also be live-streamed. For more information and to book, click here.