Lunch Hour Talks

Lunch Hour Talk 22 June 2023

Image of Babette Smith

22 June Lunch Hour Talk

Speaker: Penny Nelson

Topic: Babette Smith OAM: Breakthrough historian – an amazing life

Babette Smith (image left), 1942-2021, worked in television, theatre and film, but it was the discovery of a female convict among her ancestors that set her writing a series of books on those transported to Australia, including A Cargo of Women, The Luck of the Irish, and Defiant Voices: How Australia’s Female Convicts Defied Authority. Her work sheds new light on the lives of convicts transported to Australia, especially the 25,000 of them who were women.

Penny Nelson is a former TAFE teacher who also worked at the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board and the NSW Ombudsman’s Office. She has her own impressive list of writing on cultural and social topics and is the author of novels and the memoir Penny Dreadful.


Where –  The meeting room at the Customs House Library, at Circular Quay.
When –  The talk will begin at 12.15, The room is open from 11.30 for tea/coffee/sandwiches.
Entry – $20 JSNWL members $25 non-members
PLEASE BOOK BY NOON Monday 19 June 2023
Phone the library on (02) 9571 5359 or email .au

Lunch Hour Talk 16 March 2023

16 March Lunch Hour Talk

Speaker: Dr Isobell Barrett Meyering

Topic: Feminists: anti-mother and anti-child?

When Australian women’s liberationists challenged prevailing expectations of female domesticity, they were accused of being anti-mother and anti-child. Dr Isobelle Barrett Meyering provides a much-need reassessment of this stereotype in her book, Feminism and the Making of a Child Rights Revolution, 1969-1979. Drawing on extensive archival research and personal accounts, she places feminists at the forefront of a new wave of children’s rights activism that went beyond calls for basic protections for children, instead demanding their liberation. In this talk, Isobelle will share highlights from her study, with a focus on campaigns initiated by Sydney activists, from the establishment of communal child care to the provision of support for children in feminist refuges.

Dr Isobelle Barrett Meyering is a historian of Australian feminism, childhood and the family. She is currently a Macquarie University Research Fellow, based in the Department of History and Archaeology. She completed her PhD at UNSW in 2017, where she also taught in gender studies and history, and previously worked at the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse. She has been awarded numerous prizes for her work, including the 2018 Australian Women’s and Gender Studies Association PhD Award and the 2019 David Scott Mitchell Memorial Fellowship at the State Library of NSW. Feminism and the Making of a Child Rights Revolution, 1969-1979, published by Melbourne University Press in 2022, is her first book.