On 6 May 2021, I presented a talk about the criminalisation of poverty to an audience of sixty-two people via Zoom for the Genealogical Society of Victoria. The video of the talk is now available.
In this talk, I speak about my great-great grandmother, Margaret O’Connor, and her younger sister, Annie O’Connor. The two women were second-generation Irish-Australians who lived in Waterloo, New South Wales, Australia, over a century ago. Scorned by the judiciary as ‘most undesirable’ women, Margaret and Annie’s so-called legal and moral ‘crimes’ included smoking opium, drunkenness, swearing, being tattooed, doing sex work, and consorting with Chinese men.
Through my research, I hope to offer insights into the lives of women who, like Margaret and Annie, were criminalised by poverty, and of new ways to write about them.
If you would like me to do a deep dive into your family history, please get in touch.
Disclaimer: This talk mentions language used in historical newspaper articles. Users are warned that it contains language which reflects attitudes of the period that are inappropriate and offensive today.