The issue of the control of venereal disease raises important questions about not just the legislation on a colony's statute books but also the ways in which it fremanle administered. While the growth of manufacturing in the major urban centres in the late nineteenth century did open up new opportunities for women as paid workers, the options were still very limited and none of them very alluring.
Moore, ; Sissons, Other factors independent of legislation have escprts the demand for and supply of prostitutes. Since the s this has been expressed most effectively through organised groups such as the Australian Prostitutes Collective and the Scarlet Alliance, but even before fremantel there is evidence that prostitutes acted individually and collectively to protect their rights and to shape their working lives. Certain immigrant groups could also operate successfully as entrepreneurs rremantle the prostitution industry.
Despite the rhetoric of the working man's paradise, wages and conditions for Australian women were far from heavenly. The population of Perth's Roe Street brothels rose from 50 to 70 duringas both single and married women took desperate measures to survive the economic downturn Davidson,p. Debutante Nation: Feminism Contests the 's.
Again, state intervention attempted to outlaw this practice.
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Recalcitrant patients could be placed in solitary confinement, placed on a diet of bread and water or even removed to the lock-up and visitors were not permitted. Information given by infected troops was used as the basis to 'contact and dispose of' any woman allegedly suffering from venereal disease Saunders and Taylor,pp. The Japanese in northern Australia mentioned ly are one instance; fremantld Maltese in the back lanes of East Sydney in the s is another see Perkins, Prostitutes have been drawn from all sections of society and have operated in ways which have usually reflected their different social origins.
Health considerations, for instance, became increasingly important in the context of British imperial expansion fremanfle the latter half of the nineteenth century. Ex-prostitute Rita, talking to me indescribed how things had changed in the nine years since she began working in Hay Lzke 'I did it nine years ago and it was just ordinary, straight, prostitution.
How can we know, for instance, whether the frequent allegations of universal whoredom fscorts the class- and sex-based prejudices and preconceptions of literate officials more than actual practices in the colony? WA's largest Truck Driver Training, with over 50 years Transport Industry experience Providing nationally recognised - quality individual driving training - at an affordable price Please note: Keen Bros. Volume 2, 1, pp.
Early feminist historians such as Anne Summers and Miriam Dixson have ironically reinforced this picture of wholesale whoredom by incorporating the stereotype as a key element in explaining Australian women's current low status in relation to Australian men. Volume fremant,e, 41, pp. Cleanly but basically furnished, it has a basin with cold running water in the corner.
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Aboriginal Studies Press: Canberra. The high profile of Japanese, French and Italian women in Western Australia also encouraged politicians in the mistaken belief that 'our social conditions' meant that the supply of Australian women for prostitution had given out Davidson,p.
Racial discrimination is a more vexed issue. Colonial legislatures were thus responding to similar pressures on other recently industrialised societies when they introduced a series of legislative changes which sought to give the police greater powers to control street life.
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While Japanese prostitutes played a large part in catering to non-white clients in the nineteenth century, especially in the north and on the Western Australian goldfields, the Immigration Restriction Act of meant that most returned home, along with their countrymen Sissons, In Queensland, for instance, the Act for the Suppression of Contagious Diseases of was not applied universally but only to particular centres of population, largely because of the cost, the limited facilities and the fear of a backlash of organised protest Evans,p.
James's remarks sum up the dominant attitude of Australian authorities to the issue of prostitution from the late nineteenth century until the present day. The targets of these laws were 'bludgers' or pimps, men constructed in the popular imagination as villains who debauched and enslaved innocent girls and young women, then lived off their immoral earnings. Ironically, the police were rarely successful in apprehending and convicting 'white slavers', although there is certainly historical evidence of the existence of syndicates who traded in prostitutes, with or without the full knowledge and consent of the women concerned Davidson, Only since the late s have governments started experimenting with new ways of treating prostitution, generally moving towards less punitive models of legislation.
What kinds of objects and texts could be included in such a museum?
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Convict Workers. It was thus a matter of considerable urgency to find female sexual partners for the European colonists. Into 'good old fashioned sex', they make fewer demands on the women's time and ingenuity, in sharp contrast to the 'deviants' amongst the Perth businessmen who frequent prostitutes esscorts that city Cohen,p.
With the move to a 'free' society, prostitution came to fremantke seen in the same light as many other aspects of working class culture: as a social problem to be dealt with by civic authorities. Class considerations were paramount. It would be naive to think, however, that legislation put a stop to the trade in Aboriginal women's esforts. Not all colonial governments were so insensitive to the civil rights of women.
Macmillan: Melbourne. The top half of the door opens independently of the bottom in the manner of a horse stabledoor to reveal a scantily clad woman sitting inside, lit by coloured lights. Any women found to be diseased were prosecuted as vagrants.
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While the city aldermen were not quite ready for such an idea, its conception raises a of issues about the history of prostitution in Australia. Likewise, different state agencies eg: police, child welfare, health, prisons, military have different agendas which sometimes coincide but at other times work in opposition to each other. Brothel-keepers were often in partnership with pearl fishermen, the proceeds of prostitution being used to finance the purchase and outfitting of Japanese pearling luggers Hunt, ; C.
The legacy is clearly evident in mining towns such as Kalgoorlie, where prostitution is openly carried on under the virtual supervision of the police.
That is, Aboriginal women were lent to the intruders in the expectation that friendly relations would ensue. The reason for this is obvious: llake it might be annoying for a bourgeois woman to be accosted by beggars and so on, it was extremely embarrassing for her to have to encounter 'fallen women' and, worse still, to be mistaken for one of their and propositioned by men Davies, ; also Walkowitz, The sharp contrast between the speech, dress and behaviour of convict women and the demeanour of middle and upper class women also helped mask the extent to which sexual services were exchanged for financial gain across social classes.
With more 'respectable' women using the streets, the presence of what they regarded as 'nuisances' had to be minimised and preferably eliminated. The attack on street culture can also be seen as part of a broader middle class assault on working class behaviour generally, aimed at reforming those aspects of life which did not fit with the demands frrmantle an ordered, industrial society Daniels,