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Gender, place and travel: the case of Elsie Birks, South Australian pioneer


Stratford, E, Gender, place and travel: the case of Elsie Birks, South Australian pioneer, Journal of Australian Studies, 24, (66) pp. 116-128. ISSN 1444-3058 (2000) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1080/14443050009387617


In 1894, a young South Australian teacher named Elsie Birks travelled from metropolitan Adelaide to the margins of the Riverland with her family to establish a Utopian socialist settlement. From 1894 to 1897 she kept diaries of her life in Murtho and wrote numerous letters to friends and family colourful observations of her community, and how it constituted itself and its place. Here I present an analysis of these documents and other letters penned in 1945 that record her reflections on this earlier time. I map the colonial visions of Elsie Birks and do this by exploring the terrain on which the Murtho experiment took place, outlining the trajectory of the village settlement movement in general and Murtho in particular. Doing this, I draw connections between Birks' Murtho and contemporary ideas about the relationships among storytelling, gender, travelling and the significance of place.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Human geography
Research Field:Social geography
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Stratford, E (Professor Elaine Stratford)
ID Code:19178
Year Published:2000
Deposited By:Geography and Environmental Studies
Deposited On:2000-08-01
Last Modified:2021-02-09

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