Australia's Monumental Women: Pioneer Women's Memorial Gardens and the Making of Gendered Settler-Colonial Place
AffiliationSchool of Historical and Philosophical Studies
Document TypeHonours thesis
Access StatusOnly available to University of Melbourne staff and students, login required
© 2019 Thea Gardiner
From its inception in the nineteenth century, Australia’s public commemorative landscape has centred on a white, nationalist and masculine identity. In recent years, Australian public memorials have been subject to increasing public and academic scrutiny. Occupying public space, colonial monuments legitimise settler-colonial narratives of Indigenous dispossession, effacing Indigenous histories, counter-narratives, and claims to land. An important absence from this debate over physical markers of historical consciousness in Australia is the discussion of memorials dedicated to white settler women. These monuments make up only twenty per cent of all Australian monuments, those conceived of and produced by women even less. Australia’s ‘monumental women’ are in need of critical historiographical analysis as the question ‘whose history are we telling?’ continues to permeate both public and academic historical debate. As is broadly accepted in Australian historiography, white settler women – at once coloniser and colonised – contributed to the processes of colonisation in a myriad of ways. The analysis of their historical markers of memory is challenging yet necessary historiographical terrain if Australia is to reconcile with its settler-colonial past and present and find new ways of memorialising in the future.
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