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The Plight of St Kilda’s 19th Century Servants

The Plight of St Kilda’s 19th Century Servants Servants Training Institute: Sketches at the Servant Training Institute, Richmond [Vic] [picture] (1883). Melbourne: David Syme and Co. State Library of Victoria
Public event hosted by Carmel McKenzie

Sunday, 6 March 2022

4:00pm – 6:00pm

St Kilda Army and Navy Club (upstairs)

88 Acland Street St Kilda

 The Plight of St Kilda’s 19th Century Servants

Reflecting its wealth, St Kilda boasted the highest number of resident servants of any Melbourne suburb for much of the nineteenth century. Most were indentured under contracts that bound them to their employer for several years and those who left before completing their term committed a crime and risked forfeiting their wages. Female servants were expected to remain childless, a stricture that led to the highest rate of infanticide in St Kilda outside of central Melbourne.

In this fascinating and insightful presentation, Carmel McKenzie will examine the living conditions and power dynamics of servants in nineteenth century St Kilda, drawing on numerous case studies gleaned from primary sources. The research forms part of her soon to be published book: St Kilda 1841-1900: Movers and Shakers and Money-makers.

This will be a public event. Booking details will be posted closer to the event.