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Minding Her Own Business: Colonial businesswomen in Sydney

Minding Her Own Business: Colonial businesswomen in Sydney


Winner, Ashurst Business Literature Prize, State Library of NSW

A history that populates the streets of colonial Sydney with entrepreneurial businesswomen earning their living in a variety of small – and sometimes surprising – enterprises.

There are few memorials to colonial businesswomen, but if you know where to look you can find many traces of their presence as you wander the streets of Sydney. From milliners and dressmakers to ironmongers and booksellers; from publicans and boarding-house keepers to butchers and taxidermists; from school teachers to ginger-beer manufacturers: these women have been hidden in the historical record but were visible to their contemporaries.

Catherine Bishop brings the stories of these entrepreneurial women to life, with fascinating details of their successes and failures, their determination and wilfulness, their achievements, their tragedies and the occasional juicy scandal. Until now we have imagined colonial women indoors as wives, and mothers, domestic servants or prostitutes. This book sets them firmly out in the open.

"A completely new and deeply human story that will radically reshape our understanding of nineteenth century colonial cities, business history, women and gender." - Grace Karskens, School of Humanities and Languages, University of New South Wales

Catherine Bishop
Published 2015
304 Pages
232mm x 152mm 
ISBN 9781742234328

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