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Women on the South-East Queensland Frontier (Critical Essay)

Queensland Review 2008, August, 15, 2

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A typescript of a woman's diary deposited at the Mitchell Library in the 1970s contains some intriguing exchanges for the historian of the frontier. The diarist is unnamed--never a good omen for a primary document--but the uneven entries and the diary's passing mention of some of the people on Durundur Station from October 1842 to May 1843 give it the weight of authenticity. Our informant, 'the wife of an employee of the Archers', arrived on the station in October 1842, only six months after the north had officially been opened for free settlement and only a little over twelve months since David Archer had established this pastoral lease. She had arrived as part of a group of fourteen labourers and mechanics sent from one of the Archer estates in Scotland, and settled on one of the few stations to establish good relations with the traditional owners of the region. Her employer was among the more religious of the Archer brothers--a renowned family of Queensland pastoralists--and he was much taken with the idealism of the Evangelical movement. He refused to hunt the Dalla of the Blackall-D'Aguilar Ranges from their country and was determined to build peaceful relations with the traditional owners. The high level of interaction between Indigenous Australians and the station in the years 1842-43 is soon apparent in the diary, but so too is the disquiet of staff who did not share the young David Archer's idealism. On 6 December 1842, the diarist comments on how well the group is adjusting to its drastically new situation. 'All settling down, and shaping well as pioneers of a new country,' it reads:

Women on the South-East Queensland Frontier (Critical Essay)
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  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: History
  • Published: 01 August 2008
  • Publisher: University of Queensland Press
  • Print Length: 39 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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