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Women on the South-East Queensland Frontier

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 February 2016

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A typescript of a woman's diary deposited at the Mitchell Library in the 1970s contains some intriguing exchanges for the historian of the frontier. The diarist is unnamed — never a good omen for a primary document — but the uneven entries and the diary's passing mention of some of the people on Durundur Station from October 1842 to May 1843 give it the weight of authenticity. Our informant, ‘the wife of an employee of the Archers’, arrived on the station in October 1842, only six months after the north had officially been opened for free settlement and only a little over twelve months since David Archer had established this pastoral lease. She had arrived as part of a group of fourteen labourers and mechanics sent from one of the Archer estates in Scotland, and settled on one of the few stations to establish good relations with the traditional owners of the region. Her employer was among the more religious of the Archer brothers — a renowned family of Queensland pastoralists — and he was much taken with the idealism of the Evangelical movement. He refused to hunt the Dalla of the Blackall-D'Aguilar Ranges from their country and was determined to build peaceful relations with the traditional owners.

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1 Extracts from a diary, 17 Oct 1842–14 May 1843 Made on Durundur Station by the Wife of an Employee of the Archers During a Visit by Dr Ludwig Leichhardt’, TS with MS additions, ML Document 1825, Mitchell Library (hereafter ML).Google Scholar

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