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Barmaids

Barmaids
A History of Women's Work in Pubs

Part of Studies in Australian History

  • Date Published: November 1997
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521568685

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About the Authors
  • Popular imagination has made the pub an enduring cultural icon in Australian life. Since colonisation the pub has played a quintessential part in Australian life, both socially and economically. In this mixture of labour history and cultural history, first published in 1997, Diane Kirkby explores the central figure of the barmaid. Now a dying breed, she once played the combined roles of mate, confidante, surrogate-mother and sexual object. Drawing on previously unused archives, documentary sources and oral history, Barmaids traces the sexualisation of the industry and the feminist and temperance debates about it. It covers women's demands for equal pay and drinking rights in the post-war period and concludes in the mid-1990s with the labour market changes and drinking customs which saw the end of the old pub culture and the place of barmaids within it.

    • The first history of Australia's drinking culture
    • Makes extensive use of photographs and visual representations of barmaids
    • Suggests new ways of exploring the relationship between gender, work and leisure
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… fascinating and highly readable … meticulously researched.' Panorama

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 1997
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521568685
    • length: 258 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.35kg
    • contains: 30 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    1. 'No place for a woman?': pub-keeping in colonial times
    2. 'The photographer and the barmaid': narrating women's work 1850s–1910s
    3. 'The problem of the barmaids': urbanisation and legislative reform 1870s–80s
    4. 'Wanted, a beautiful barmaid...': temperance and the language of desire
    5. 'White slaves behind the bar': the WCTU, the nation, and 'the barmaid'
    6. 'When men wore hats': gender, unions, and equal pay 1908–49
    7. 'Beer, glorious beer': pub culture and the six o'clock swill 1920–50s
    8. 'In praise of splendid gels': sex, work and drinking culture 1960s–90s
    Epilogue.

  • Author

    Diane Kirkby, La Trobe University, Victoria

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