Today is yet another milestone: I’ve had an essay, titled Invisible Women, published in the excellent Inside Story magazine. Inside Story’s contributor list reads like a Who’s Who of quality Australian journalism, so I’m feeling bit lightheaded, frankly.
A version of this essay began life as the final chapter of the biography. I wanted to discuss Elizabeth Macarthur’s legacy, and to explain why she was important, and it all came out in a heated rush. But my editor thought not, saying that it differed (in tone and content) too widely from the rest of the book. So out it all went.
Well, not completely. I salvaged some some of my favourite bits for the final paragraphs.
And then, later, when my publicist asked if I could send her some information and context about Elizabeth Macarthur, I simply attached the cut out chapter to my reply email. She liked it, and it was she who found a home for it at Inside Story.
I had to work it up a little before submitting it, ensuring that it worked as a stand-alone piece, but I’m reasonably happy with the final result. But maybe you could tell me what YOU think. The paragraphs about Elizabeth’s attitudes to Aboriginal people were a last minute edition, made at the request of Inside Story’s editor. I think they’re ok, but Elizabeth’s attitude was probably more nuanced than the essay would leave you to believe.
Eliza Forlonge is the metal woman pictured, but why is she standing there with her ram? You’ll have to read the essay to find out!
I was half way through when the call to fasten seatbelts and switch off devices penetrated my consciousness. But now I’m at mum’s, I’ve read it and it’s great! Australians won’t be able to look (or fail to look) at Elizabeth Macarthur or women pioneers in the same way ever again.
Speaking of the Drover’s Wife, Louisa Lawson was another who ran the farm while Henry’s father was away gold mining.
Useful to know that Louisa Lawson farmed too. Goes to my point that it really wasn’t uncommon.