Stout research centre seminar series: talk by Bettina Bradbury (Wellington, 27 March 2019)

Head along to the next in the Stout Research Centre’s Family Seminar Series:

Caroline’s Dilemma. Fighting a husband’s final wishes in colonial Australia.

Edward Kearney was dying in a hotel in Melbourne when a lawyer’s clerk drew up his final wishes in September 1865. His will offered his widow, Caroline a reasonable annuity of £100 a year. It also promised further money for the support and education of their six children. However, these bequests were conditional on her moving to Ireland with their offspring. Should she fail to do so, refuse to live in a house to be chosen and furnished for her by his brothers, remarry, or have another child, her support would end. This was Caroline’s dilemma. She had never been to Ireland. She migrated to Australia from England at the age of sixteen with her parents and six siblings in 1851. Edward migrated earlier, arriving as a single man from Ireland around 1842. I have been seeking to piece together the family histories that lay behind this draconian will. The talk will explore Caroline’s struggles against the forced extradition mandated by Edward’s will and against the influence of his family. Their family history highlights the workings of male power, the tragic workings of sectarian conflict, and the dynamics of settler colonialism in South Australia and Victoria, the two colonies where Edward leased and worked pastoral land.

About the speaker:

Bettina Bradbury is a Professor Emerita in the department of History and in the School of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, York University, Toronto, Canada and an adjunct at Victoria University of Wellington. She now lives in New Zealand. Bettina is best known for her award-winning publications in the field of feminist family history and social legal history, including, Wife to Widow. Lives, Laws and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Montreal, 2011 and Working Families.  Age, Gender and Daily Survival in Industrializing Montreal, Toronto, 1993; republished, 1996 and 2007. Her current research explores issues of marriage, inheritance and the law in the nineteenth century British Empire. 

Date: Wednesday 27 March 2019

Time: 4.10 p.m. – tea and coffee at 3.45 p.m

Location: Stout Research Centre Seminar Room, 12 Waiteata Road, Kelburn