Convict Maids destroys the myth that the female convicts transported from Britain and Ireland to New South Wales between 1826 and 1840 were mainly prostitutes, professional criminals and the 'sweepings of the gaols'. Deborah Oxley argues that in fact these women helped put the colony on its feet. Oxley shows that the women were generally first offenders, transported for minor offences. They were skilled, literate, young and healthy - qualities exploited by the new colony, which needed them both in the labour market and as wives and mothers. This is the first major study to analyse the backgrounds of female convicts against the general labour force. It also compares the legal systems and economies of Britain and Ireland, placing the women's crimes in context. Convict Maids draws on historical, economic and feminist theory, and is impressive for its extensive and original research.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 520 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm
'... raises a wealth of stimulating new questions about convict women, the colonial enterprise, both British and Australian society and, indeed, about the very bases of economic analysis.' Australian Feminist Studies
"The strength of Convict Maids is the sytematic quantification of the indents in chapters 2 through 6. Valuable information is provided on subgroups: English versus, Irish...valuable comparisons are made with the overall populations of England and Ireland." Ralph Shlomowitz, Journal of Economic History
"...this is an excellent chapter in that long book toward unbiased recognition of the women of Australia." JPC