History High Tales: Minding Her Own Business - Sydney’s Early Entrepreneurs

  • 18 Jan 2022
  • 4:30 PM - 7:30 PM
  • 338 Kent Street, Sydney
  • 37

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  • Members receive 15% discount on full price.
    1 guest at member price.
  • Members receive 15% discount.
    Guests at full price ($65).

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Minding Her Own Business - Sydney’s Early Entrepreneurs


Doors open at 4.30pm

Music The Emeralds 4.45pm-5.45pm

Talk Catherine Bishop 6pm-7.30pm

And you thought 19th century Sydney was a man’s world, and a woman’s place was in the home?

Think again.

Just as they are today, women have always been in business. Sydney’s streets were awash with enterprising women - from demure dressmakers to bawdy brothelkeepers, with the odd ironmonger, plumber and confidence trickster thrown in. Award-winning historian Catherine Bishop explores the stories of these businesswomen – the sensible and successful as well as the bankrupts and bigamists.

Sydney’s businesswomen were a varied lot. Some went into business as widows, left to support half a dozen children when their spouses inconveniently dropped dead; others were life-long spinsters, perhaps rejoicing that their ability to support themselves meant they could avoid marriage. Many, however, were wives, working with their husbands or in independent businesses, or surviving their husbands’ intemperance, ineptitude or desertion. Whatever their circumstances these women and their stories challenge our understandings of Sydney’s history.

Enjoy a program about women in music. The Emeralds one of Australia’s leading viol consorts play Elizabethan and contemporary music on a trio of violas da gamba. A highlight is Brooke Green’s The Spirit of Daphne which is a musical portrayal of Daphne’s psyche as she flees the unwelcome advances of Apollo by turning into a laurel tree. This will be performed by the brilliantly, passionate bass viol player Laura Vaughan.

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