Gender Disruption in the Life and Times of Daphne Mayo
The beginning of the twentieth century was an exciting time for women interested in breaking out of the strict confines of the gender roles to which they had been assigned and experimenting with what some described as the gender disruption evidenced in the New Woman. Australia had its fair share of New Women and even had its own conception of the Australian Girl that was “a colonial representation of the greater freedom possible in a younger country.” 1 The Dawn: A Journal for Australian Women was an early feminist journal edited, printed and published monthly by women in Sydney keen to spread these ideas and the possibilities of what the ‘new woman’ in the Australian context might be. Louisa Lawson (Henry Lawson’s mother) was the instigator for the publication of The Dawn from its inception in1888 until its final issue in 1905. An article in The Morning Bulletin in Rockhampton, Queensland on Tuesday October 27, 1896 speaks eloquently of Louisa Lawson, The Poet’s Mother, and how she ‘suffered all her life from that craving for knowledge and culture which one sees in so many bush girls – often suppressed …’. 2 It is quite likely that Mrs Mayo, as she sat in the garden of their home in Balmain on the foreshore of the Sydney Harbour, was reading The Dawn as she awaited in 1895 the birth of her daughter, Daphne, who is the subject of this chapter of Forgotten Lives. Circumstances moved forward quickly for the Mayo family as within a few years, in 1900, William Mayo was offered a position in the growing settlement of Brisbane as a superintendent at the insurance company, Mutual Life Consolidated; and so Mr and Mrs Mayo and their two children, Dick and Daphne, moved to a home in Highgate Hill close to the centre of the growing town.
Recovering History through Fact and Fiction: Forgotten Lives
Studies in the Creative Arts and Writing not elsewhere classified