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Single mothers and their children : disposal, punishment and survival in Australia / Shurlee Swain with Renate Howe.
Call No: A3/30/95
Author: Swain, Shurlee. ; Howe, Renate, 1939- ;
Publisher: Cambridge., U.K. : Cambridge University Press, c1995.
Subject: Single mothers. ; Alleinerziehende Mutter. ; Unmarried mothers - Australia - History. ; Illegitimacy - Australia - History. ; Illegitimate children - Australia - History. ; Single mothers - Australia - History. ; Australien. ; Australia. ; Australia - Social conditions. ; Australia - Social conditions - 20th century. ; Australia - Social conditions - 1851-1901. ; History. ; Australia - economic & social conditions & customs ; Australia ;
Material Type: Book
Series Title: Studies in Australian History ;
Pagination: xxii, 264 p. : ill., ports. ; 23 cm.
Notes: Includes index.
Bibliography: p. 251-258.
Public Note: Donated by Jacqueline Buswell
Summary: Machine derived contents note: 1. Introduction: To have an unlicensed child -- 2.The mothers: a perfectly nice girl - an ordinary girl, perhaps your own daughter -- 3. Breaking the news: what are you going to do about it? -- 4. Pregnancy and confinement: medicos, midwives and morals -- 5. Death: very army of murderesses within our midst -- 6. Separation: now put this thing that has happened to you away, forget about it, get on with the rest of your life -- 7. Surviving: you must maintain your own -- 8. Illegitimacy: to punish the innocent child -- 9. Empowerment and resistance: speaking out publicly.

Starting in the 1850s when abandonment and infanticide were not uncommon, the book's main focus ends in 1975 when the legal status of illegitimacy was abolished. While the book traces profound changes from a time when single mothers were locked in gaol for discarding their babies to the point when their situation was recognised in the form of state benefits, the authors find a good deal of continuity over the period. The book covers issues of baby farming, infanticide, abortion, sex education, birth control, adoption and marriage, in effect becoming a history of sexual practice in Australia. It uses a broad range of published and oral sources, drawn from interviews, diaries, court records and the problem pages of women's magazines.

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