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Tasmin O'Connor: "To Work the Fair Ones Orderly and Well”

Tasmin O'Connor: "To Work the Fair Ones Orderly and Well”

The Management of Female Convict Labour at the Penal Station of Moreton Bay - For 18 years the settlement of Moreton Bay was a closed penal station, denying access to the free and freedom to the bond. Some 2,000 convicts passed through Moreton Bay, the majority served between 7 and 14 years hard labour in chains and 144 of them were women. It is the intention of this paper to reveal something of the anomalous and elusive female experience. The analysis centres upon a particularly harsh, but highly theatrical, display of punishment inflicted upon the women in the chapel in 1829. By examining the meanings attached to this single event the wider dynamics of class and gender and of punishment and resistance are exposed and explored. This single long forgotten episode resonates through the history of Moreton Bay, demonstrating the unique way in which women were perceived and managed in this intensely masculine, militarised and punitive environment.

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