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Image from Exquisite Bodies exhibition at Wellcome Collection, London

As part of History Week 2018, Melissa Holmes will explore the process and progress of life and death for women in the early days of the colony of New South Wales.

Women bore the heavy burden of breeding in a burgeoning colony obsessed with population growth. However, in a pre-industrial society, pregnancy and childbirth were fraught with peril. Infant and maternal mortality rates were brutal.

By the end of the nineteenth century, the odds of a young woman dying in childbirth was one in 32. Until then, childbirth had been ‘secret women’s business’ but, to preserve lives and the future of the colony, the process became paternalized and medicalised.

When: Saturday 8 September, 3.00pm-4.00pm
Where: Phillips Foote (upstairs), 101 George Street, The Rocks, Sydney NSW 2000
Cost: Free – No bookings required.
Hosted by Melissa Holmes