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

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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.

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.

Content: Eureka Centre

Accessibility Information

  • Caters for people who are deaf or have hearing loss.
  • Caters for people who use a wheelchair.

  • Thu 2 May

5:30pm–6:30pm

Eureka Centre Ballarat

102 Stawell Street South, Eureka VIC 3350

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Accessibility Information

  • Caters for people who are deaf or have hearing loss.
  • Caters for people who use a wheelchair.

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Across Victoria’s Midwest, we acknowledge that we travel across the ancient landscapes of many First Peoples communities.

These lands have been nurtured and cared for over tens of thousands of years and we respect the work of Traditional Custodians for their ongoing care and protection.

We recognise the past injustices against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in this country. As our knowledge grows, we hope that we can learn from their resilience and creativity that has guided them for over 60,000 years.

As we invite people to visit and explore Victoria’s Midwest, we ask that alongside us, you also grow to respect the stories, living culture and connection to Country of the Ancestors and Elders of our First Peoples.

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