In the wake of the Victorian goldrushes in the mid 19th century, the city of Melbourne boomed,and was transformed from a small town into a bustling metropolis, with all the attractions and excesses that a city can offer. The city also, at this time, became the site for a struggle over morality, sex and power. This program explores this moral panic which emerged in 19th century Melbourne through the stories of two well-known women of the period - the ‘entertainer’ known as Lola Montez [Irish born Maria Eliza Gilbert] and the notorious brothel owner Madame Brussels [German born Caroline Hodgson]
During their lives, both of these women challenged the prevailing Victorian orthodoxies around gender and sexuality. And both of their real life stories were richer and more complex than the public personas that each of them has been remembered by.
Dr Clare Wright – http://www.clarewright.com.au
Professor Rae Francis, Dean, Faculty of Arts, Monash University
Professor Shurlee Swain, Australian Catholic University
Title: Selling Sex: A Hidden History of Prostitution
Author: Rae Francis
Publisher: UNSW Press, 2007.
Title: ‘Madame Brussels - A Moral Pandemonium’
Author: LM Robinson
Publisher: Arcade Press 2009
Title: Negotiating poverty: women and charity in Nineteenth Century Melbourne
Author: Shurlee Swain
Publisher: Women’s History Review, 16(1): 99-112. 2007