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Placing the Story of Women: Pubs and Work in Australia’s History


Thursday May 02, 2024


Eureka Centre Auditorium


FREE. No bookings required.


T: 03 5333 0333


There has always been a deep connection between pubs and Australian communities. Usually the first, and sometimes the only building in a country town, and on every street corner in cities, pubs were run largely by women. Pubs provided communities with so much more than drinks and accommodation, being vital gathering places, hosting everything from weddings to wakes. Deeply entrenched in Australian cultural life, the pub is largely perceived as a masculine space. But pubs were often owned by women, and the bulk of the labour was traditionally done by women, in dining rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, and bars. Dianne will explore why and how pubs were a vital source of waged work for women, and the pub’s fascinating history of cultural and social change.

Professor Diane Kirkby is a respected historian of women, work and the labour movement. She has authored several books including the highly-acclaimed ‘Barmaids: A History of Women’s Work in Pubs’. Her work has won the Australian Historical Association’s WK Hancock Prize, and most recently awarded the 2023 Australia and New Zealand Law and History Society Prize. She is a Professor of Law and Humanities at University of Technology Sydney. Diane is an elected Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, the Australian Academy of the Humanities, and the American Society for Legal History.

Attend Talking History in person at the Eureka Centre (no booking required). Past lectures can be viewed on YouTube by clicking this link.

Image: ST Gill, 'Refreshment Shanty (Ballarat) 1854' [detail], 1854, watercolour & gum arabic on paper 25.3 x 34.2 cm, Gift from the Estate of Lady Currie, 1963. Collection of the Art Gallery of Ballarat 

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