Title

“My box of memories”: An Australian Country Girl Goes to London

Publication Name

Anglica

Abstract

In 1954 a young country woman from New South Wales, Shirley Dunk, exercised her agency and travelled to London. This was a journey to the home of her forefathers and copied the activities of other country women who made similar journeys. Some of the earliest of these journeys were undertaken by the wives and daughters of the 19th-century rural gentry. This research project will use a qualitative approach in an examination of Shirley’s journey archive complemented with supplementary interviews and stories of other travellers. Shirley nostalgically recalled the sense of adventure that she experienced as she left Sydney for London by ship and travelled through the United Kingdom and Europe. The article will address questions posed by the journey for Shirley and her travelling companion, Beth, and how they dealt with these forces as tourists and travellers. Shirley’s letters home were reported in the country press and reminiscent of soldier’s wartime letters home that described their tales as tourists in foreign lands. The narrative will show that Shirley, as an Australian country girl, was exposed to the cosmopolitan nature of the metropole, as were other women. The paper will explore how Shirley was subject to the forces of modernity and consumerism at a time when rural women were often limited to domesticity.

Open Access Status

This publication may be available as open access

Volume

30

Issue

1

First Page

53

Last Page

66

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Link to publisher version (DOI)

http://dx.doi.org/10.7311/0860-5734.30.1.04