Knowing women : origins of women's education in nineteenth-century Australia


    • Theobald, Marjorie R.


Knowing women : origins of women's education in nineteenth-century Australia

Marjorie Theobald

(Studies in Australian history)

Cambridge University Press, 2009, c1996

  • : pbk

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"First published 1996. Re-issued in this digitally printed version 2009"--T.p. verso

"Paperback re-issue"--Back cover

Includes bibliographical references (p. 273-286) and index



Knowing Women is a comprehensive study of female education in nineteenth-century Australia, placed in international perspective. It covers a wide range of topics, including the evolution of the teaching profession; the private ladies' academies and their proprietors; the entry of women to the universities and the professions; the establishment of academic secondary schools, both Church and state; girls' experience of compulsory state elementary schooling; and the schooling of outcast girls. The study is rich in narrative and biographical interest, based, where possible, on the experiences of individual girls and women. Knowing Women explores the ambiguities of its material, showing how education could both open and restrict opportunities for women. The author's perspective allows her to contribute to current historical debates on women, culture, education, sexuality and the state.


  • 1. The woman at the piano: women, education and culture in the nineteenth-century frame of reference
  • 2. The lost ladies' schools of colonial Australia
  • 3. The keystone of the arch? Women and the universities in colonial Australia
  • 4. Inventing the secondary school for girls: Brisbane Girls' Grammar School and Sydney Girls' High School
  • 5. The administration of gender: the case of Victoria's lady teachers, 1850-1900
  • 6. The everyday world of women who taught: some theoretical considerations
  • 7. Daughters of the state: the first compulsory generations, 1870-1890
  • 8. The schooling of outcast girls
  • 9. Notes on writing the history of women's education.

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