Elmari Whyte<br />
[<strong>Source:</strong> Rana Rankin Photography]
Elmari Whyte
[Source: Rana Rankin Photography]

Project Title: Domestic Service in Interwar Australia

Principal Advisor: Dr Geoff Ginn

Project Abstract: The institution of domestic service occupied a conflicted place in interwar Australia due to its inconsistency with the national narrative of Australia as an egalitarian, modern society. That image – as distinct from the stratified, antiquated British motherland – gained momentum with Australia’s national self-realisation resulting from World War I. Despite representing servants’ lives as imbued with belonging and partnership to would-be domestic servant migrants, the inequalities of class, gender, and race permeated the institution in Australia. This project will evaluate how interwar Australian domestic service, in its display of those characteristics, warred with the country’s aspirations for egalitarianism and modernity.

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