Sunday, August 14, 2011

Notorious Australian Women

Australians have made heroes of bushranger Ned Kelly, mutineer Fletcher Christian and cricketer Shane Warne but their female equivalents have failed to imprint themselves on the national psyche in the same way.

The 20 subjects of Notorious Australian Women were well known to their contemporaries but few are still household names. Some were justifiably notorious, others attracted attention simply for breaching social mores and some don't really deserve to be labelled notorious at all.

Kay Saunders has picked her subjects from early settlement (prisoner Mary Bryant, bushranger Mary Cockerill, freedom fighter Walyer), through the 19th century (shipwreck survivor Eliza Fraser, good-time girl Lola Montez, transvestite Ellen Tremayne) to the 20th century (including author Pamela Travers, designer Florence Broadhurst, crime boss Tilly Devine and journalist Lillian Roxon) and they are a diverse bunch.

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