Sunday, 21 April 2013

Amy Maud Robjohns....

I came across this book again – A Border Shepherdess by Amelia E Barr, published 1887. It’s been in my collection of books to read for yonks. While Amelia Barr would have been a trendsetter all those years ago, writing in a time when the market and the world was still well and truly dominated by men, its Amy Maud Robjohns, 1888, who has always interested me. Why? I think when I first saw the carefully inked in name, I wondered what it was like to be a woman in Australia in 1888 when it was still the wild old colonial days and women had limited direction in which they could apply themselves.

There’s a scrap of paper – a bookmark – in the book that I’ve always been interested in. Why did Amy Maud cut this particular piece “Methodist Social Afternoon" out of the newspaper? What did it mean to her? She’s not listed in the careful, formal name keeping of the times – separated strictly by gender and status almost as if touching male and female names was forbidden until married Can you imagine living in that time with the rules of society on how to dress, speak and what was expected of you as a woman?

But back to Amy Maud. Who was she? What did she want out of life? Why did she cut out that piece from the paper? Who was there that interested her? Did she marry? Did she go against the times and choose not to? What would it have taken to defy society and not marry? Did Amy Maud have a good life?

Books – they’re not just about shagging the stuffing out of each other.  

A Border Shepherdess by Amelia E Barr, published 1887. .