Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Women's stories of the City of Whittlesea

Gwen Hawke and Maureen Doyle are writing a book about "The Quiet achievers: women of the City of Whittlesea" up to 1945. Although they are members of the Whittlesea Historical Society this is a private venture. They commenced researchng the book in late 1997 and have found that, as they researched, the topics and the information grew and grew. They have completed many of the chapters, but because of the extent of the coverage, some are still being written. Some of the themes covered include: doctors, nurses, midwives, irish orphan girls, women and the law, artists and of course farmers.

One of the major stories already completed in that of the Chinese market gardeners at Whittlesea. This had its orignin long before the commencement of the book. In 1984 when Gwen was researching properties for the Society's book "Historic Buildings of the Shire of Whittlesea" by Robert Wuchatsch and John Waghorn (published in 1985) she interviewed an old resident of Whittlesea who, in additon, told her various stories about the Chinese and thier garden near the Whittlesea showgrounds. She kept these notes over the years, continued her research and interest in the topic.

Sadly, many of those interviwed over the past eighteen years have now died. Gwen and Maureen would like to tell their families, and others who have helped contribute to the rersearch with thier stories, know that that the book will be completed in the next two years.

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