Accessibility Tools

  • Content scaling 100%
  • Font size 100%
  • Line height 100%
  • Letter spacing 100%

Matrons behind the Bar

by
December 2003–January 2004, no. 257

Beyond the Ladies Lounge: Australia's female publicans by Clare Wright

MUP, $34.95 pb, 240 pp

Matrons behind the Bar

by
December 2003–January 2004, no. 257

Clare Wright’s Beyond the Ladies Lounge, a history of Australia’s female publicans, has been engulfed in a haze of marketing. Rarely has a thesis-turned-book attracted so much publicity. This book has been brilliantly promoted and has excited media attention.

Female publicans: it’s a great subject. Wright turns the spotlight on Australian pub culture and discovers women not just serving behind the bars but running the hotels. Apparently, this has always been the case. Her research reveals that as many as thirty per cent of Melbourne’s city and suburban hotels were licensed to women by 1889, and more than half a few decades later. Her work, therefore, upends both the view of the pub as a male stronghold and the contention that in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries women had almost no self-employment opportunities. It also complicates the notion of separate spheres deployed by many gender historians as an analytical tool, where women are confined to the private sphere while men venture into the public domain.

Aviva Tuffield reviews 'Beyond the Ladies Lounge: Australia's female publicans' by Clare Wright

Beyond the Ladies Lounge: Australia's female publicans

by Clare Wright

MUP, $34.95 pb, 240 pp

From the New Issue

Leave a comment

If you are an ABR subscriber, you will need to sign in to post a comment.

If you have forgotten your sign in details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to ABR Comments. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.