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Tamara S. Wagner
Home was complicated in nineteenth-century Australia and New Zealand.
Troughout the century, domestic fction of Britains antipodal colonies refected
and at times struggled with shifing defnitions of settler identity. Te resulting
ambiguities created an opportunity not only to articulate anxieties about colo-
nial settlement, but also to renegotiate attitudes to the home, homemaking and
womens changing roles. Settler domesticity was variously conceptualized by ide-
ologies of empire, in emigration propaganda and within ideals of transportable
English domestic values. Te realization of this imported domesticity, it was
ofen pointed out, could be crucially limited by the realities of everyday life in the
bush, at remote stations as well as in the colonies rapidly expanding urban and
suburban spaces. Most signifcantly, however, home did not only, or even neces-
sarily, mean the weatherboard cottage that had proudly been decorated and made
homely, and which might sport china vases, prints taken from British newspapers
and magazines, rows of well-thumbed books and perhaps even a piano, success-
fully shipped overseas. Nor did it easily encompass a landscape that remained, for
many a settler, an unfamiliar and at times hostile environment. Back home long
continued to refer to the places that emigrants had come from, where settlers
families originated, or with a growing vagueness, to an imperial centre that many
nineteenth-century Australians and New Zealanders had never seen or perhaps
only briefy visited. Te nationalist movements of the late nineteenth century
changed and further complicated prevailing attitudes. But expectations of what
home was and where it was located were an especially vexed issue for writers of
domestic fction. Teir narratives, by defnition, concentrated on concerns of the
home: not merely on household matters, homemaking, domestic struggles and
how these concerns changed across the seas, but also on the homes elusiveness at
a time of unprecedented global movement.
In the course of the nineteenth century, narratives produced down under
engaged more and more critically with diferent kinds of homesickness: the
longing for old or new, supposedly better and once resented homes as well as a
2 Domestic Fiction in Colonial Australia and New Zealand
more literal sense of being sick of home. Te bush might refuse to be domesti-
cated, and so might those who have fed to the antipodes precisely in order to avoid
domesticity and the tyranny of fve oclock tea;
settler homes might feel restric-
tive precisely because of their close replication of domestic spaces back home;
returns to an England of the imagination or of imported fction might be dis-
appointing; greater global mobility may seem a way to hold the empire together,
but multiple migrations might well be an unsettling experience. Te concepts of
Home (country of origin; imperial centre) and home (the domestic sphere)
became increasingly slippery terms not just in publications coming out of Aus-
tralia and New Zealand, but also in British-centred representations that reacted to
and indeed were infuenced to a hitherto underestimated extent by settler writing.
Colonial settler fction formed part of nineteenth-century transoceanic liter-
ary interchanges and genre developments that radiated through English-language
writing across the Pacifc as well as the Atlantic. Narratives about settler homes
placed in the foreground far-reaching concerns about domesticity and imperial-
ism that involved the entire Anglophone settler world, or nineteenth-century
Anglo-world, as New Zealand historian James Belich has recently termed it.

Tese narratives articulated anxieties about home, how it could be transported
or replicated, and how domestic values as probably the most defnitional aspect
of Victorian culture would bear up elsewhere. While portable domesticity
or portable Englishness were crucial concerns invested with much hope and
anxiety throughout the empire,
the transportation of the values and material
culture in question was necessarily a much more drastic and permanent issue for
emigrants meaning to settle than for those temporarily stationed elsewhere. In
colonial settlements that were meant to create a Better Britain there was simply
more at stake for emigrants and for the empire. Domestic fction of these set-
tlements provided the medium in which to address, negotiate and frequently
reformulate the resulting anxieties about home and empire. Initially modelled
on, but increasingly conceived in deliberate reaction to imperial, British-centred
representational forms, such narratives with a domestic focus participated in a
larger cultural matrix of literary interchanges that worked both ways.
Domestic Fiction in Colonial Australia and New Zealand brings together a
series of essays that explore the representation of settler homes in colonial Aus-
tralian and New Zealand writing, reading it vis--vis the antipodes changing
function in Victorian culture. Drawing on a wide range of diferent texts and
critically discussing their ofen diametrically opposed, even internally self-con-
tradictory attitudes to domesticity, the individual chapters work together to
make a case that antipodal domestic fction needs to be read and reassessed as a
distinct literary development that had a formative infuence on nineteenth-cen-
tury literature in English. Imported narrative forms such as the Bildungsroman,
the courtship and marriage plot, the New Woman novel or the format of the
Introduction 3
serial story itself played out diferently in antipodal settings.
Te expansion of
British emigrants over the course of the nineteenth century ensured that what
happened in the colonies would connect to the imperial centre and vice versa.
Te antipodes as an imaginary space had consequently several functions in nine-
teenth-century English-language publications that were written, circulated and
variously interpreted throughout the Anglo-world of the time.
A much-needed revaluation of antipodal cultural movements and their two-
way engagement with nineteenth-century British writing, therefore, also asks us
to reconsider the colonies changing narrative roles in British-centred, imperialist
texts: how Harriet Martineaus Homes Abroad (1832) already reveals uncertain-
ties about transportable Englishness, about domesticity and civility both there
and back home, even as Van Diemens Land functions as a useful space of projec-
tion, or how Charles Dickenss Great Expectations (18601) probably the most
iconic Victorian novel about nineteenth-century Australia, with its problematic
evocation and then elision of convict narratives reads diferently when consid-
ered in the context of the serialized settlement novels that appeared in British
journals at the time. Conversely, Australian and New Zealand settler narratives are
frmly situated within transoceanic literary networks of the time. Tese narratives
include such classics of settler literature as Rosa Campbell Praeds An Australian
Heroine (1880), Miles Franklins My Brilliant Career (1901), Julius Vogels Anno
Domini 2000 (1889) and Ethel Turners childrens book Seven Little Australians
(1894) and its sequels novels well-known in Australia and New Zealand, but
rarely discussed in the context of nineteenth-century global formations
well as newly researched archival material. A close reading of Jessie Westons Ko
Mri, or, A Cycle of Cathay: A Story of New Zealand Life (1890) in the fnal chap-
ter exposes the gendered workings of cultural imperialism, complicating how
metaphors of home in colonial New Zealand sidestepped the displacement of the
Mori from their homes. At frst sight, indigenous populations might primarily
register as a disturbing absence in domestic settler fction, but a closer look at the
texts reveals ofen elided ambiguities.
Te narratives analysed here all address the complex, ofen competing con-
cepts of home in the nineteenth-century settler world and thereby complicate
prevalent ideals of settlement and settler domesticity. Tey critically question
and at times explode ideologies of imperialism and nationalism as well as of
the home as the womans rightful or exclusive realm. Tey push aside or, alter-
natively, show that there is more to the new countries literary potential than
increasingly clichd tales of bush or gold-digging adventure, and they do so by
reacting as much against the domestic genres produced in Victorian Britain and
North America as against the representation of the antipodes overseas. Tere
certainly are colonial domestic novels that embrace settler domesticity. Tese
narratives may highlight the importance and even joys of colonial homemak-
4 Domestic Fiction in Colonial Australia and New Zealand
ing. Yet even in af rming ideologies of both imperialism and domesticity, such
stories of comparative success ofen made critical points about false expectations
as promulgated in emigration propaganda, for example and thereby critically
reshaped writing about the colonies.
A startling number of domestic narratives by Australian and New Zealand
writers eschewed imperialisms appropriation of domestic ideology. For one,
the bush could make things worse for women, more confning as well as physi-
cally dangerous. Yet, narratives that set the mundane realities of trying to run a
household amidst droughts, bushfres and snakes in the foreground consciously
dismantled the pre-eminence of male mateship myths. Tese cultural myths
celebrated the independence and male companionship that the adventurous
bush was deemed to demand and foster and, as such, became a defning element
of Australian and New Zealand national identity.
Tis self-defnition was criti-
cally called into question in fction with a domestic focus. At the same time,
however, representations of a hostile outback that identifed untamed spaces
with uncomfortable, even impossible, homes ironically reinforced the prevail-
ing idea of the bush as no place for a woman. As Marilyn Lake has pointed out
in an article on frontier feminism, in frontier societies white men roamed free,
but mens mobility seemed to spell womens misfortune.
A masculinist context
such as Australias, Lake suggests, saw the elevation of these practices [drink-
ing, gambling and a predatory sexuality] to the status of a national culture, and
hence womens mission of respectability could acquire a particularly subversive,
threatening dimension.
Domesticity itself was subversive in this context. It was
the alternative discourse that threatened male self-defnition. Accommodation,
however, was increasingly being made for this seeming alternative. Tis compro-
mise became embodied by the fascinating fgure of the Bush Girl. She was the
counterpart of the bush- or stockman and a welcome symbol of thriving settle-
ment for rising nationalist movements.
In her 1899 article A Daughter of Greater Britain: Te Australian Girl, pub-
lished in the British periodical Girls Realm, Australian novelist Rosa Campbell
Praed described the Girl of the Bush as the natural product of the peculiar
features which make Australia unlike all other countries: it is the Bush Girl
who represents emphatically the Australian type.
Praeds own fction, however,
was markedly more ambiguous, as several of the analyses in this collection make
clear. Altogether, some of the most successfully created fctional bush girls of
the time signal an uneasiness about womens opportunities in the bush. Ofen,
the young heroines symptomatically fail to grow into womanhood, at least
within the confnes of the narratives. Conversely, when the narratives do follow
their later life, these women are frequently shown to resent or fear the loss of
freedom associated with colonial girlhood. Alternatively, they go overseas, like
many of their (female) authors increasingly did. As we shall see, there was no one
Introduction 5
single way of transposing domestic or feminist concerns onto other spaces. New
Woman fction was simply not the same in Australia or New Zealand as it was in
Britain. For one, it did not grow out of or refect the same reaction against nar-
ratives that set up the domestic as a haven from or solution to outside pressures.
As Tanya Dalziell has pointed out in her recent study of Settler Romances and the
Australian Girl, it is a mistake to suggest that the Australian Girl is little more
than a local manifestation of this fgure [the British New Woman].
Australian and New Zealand New Woman fction illustrates the extension of
diferent forms of domestic fction in the settler colonies, while showing how
such adaptations of new narrative forms was never just a matter of exportation
or transference into another backdrop. Te following discussions bring together
a range of approaches to settler life and to the types of fction it was expected to
produce, and yet which were frequently debunked or self-consciously reworked.
Nineteenth-Century Literature at the Antipodes:
Context and Methodology
Domestic Fiction in Colonial Australia and New Zealand directs critical atten-
tion to the neglected genre of domestic settler fction, while participating in a
rethinking of the circulation of ideas from the colonies back to the imperial cen-
tre. Nineteenth-century literature and art created some of the most poignant
and lasting images of settler homes. On both sides of the Pacifc as well as the
Atlantic, pro-emigration posters, advice manuals for the future settler, caution-
ary tales and popular fction capitalized on a pervasive fascination with colonial
expansion, with the frontier, the possibilities of the New World and the dif cul-
ties of setting up home elsewhere. Tey helped establish images of ideal settler
homes, meeting an urgent need for af rmative representations of the new lives
that would-be settlers were planning overseas. However, while domestic settler
authors to some extent reaf rmed these images, they also took into account the
dif culties and potential setbacks of colonial homemaking. Tey stressed limita-
tions, suggesting the impossibility to reconstruct English domesticity or, at the
other end of the spectrum, to transpose new ideals, crazes or controversies, such
as literary sensationalism or New Woman writing. But as these writers of difer-
ent forms of domestic fction rejected the colonies clichd representation at
the imperial centre, they also needed to engage critically with cautionary tales,
including explicit anti-emigration propaganda. If they dismantled mateship and
deglamorized the bush, they did so by self-consciously contributing to the for-
mation of new nationalist canons, even as or perhaps precisely because they
wrote with a twofold readership in mind.
Troughout most of the century, the majority of settler authors simulta-
neously addressed a local (colonial) readership and readers elsewhere. Tis
6 Domestic Fiction in Colonial Australia and New Zealand
elsewhere long remained frst and foremost the imperial centre. It was there
that most books by Australian and New Zealand authors continued to be pub-
lished. As colonial magazines began to fourish, they provided a venue for serial
fction that could target local readerships and even a specifc reader such as the
colonial girl.
Initially modelled on British-based, imperial publications, these
magazines were moreover increasingly informed by nationalist movements.
Te fction they published refected growing confdence, but also a new self-
consciousness. Nonetheless, stories about the settler colonies that addressed a
twofold readership both here and there engendered the most interesting nar-
rative spaces. And while adventure or sensational tales frequently continued to
supply what readers in the metropole expected to hear about typical bush life,
domestic fction of the antipodes self-refexively wrote against both clichd rep-
resentations overseas and against ideologies of male mateship at home.
Antipodal domestic fction, this collection shows, was neither a negligible subset
of colonial settler fction nor a mere mirroring of British-centred domestic writ-
ing that reproduced Victorian domestic paraphernalia by transferring familiar
plotlines into a diferent background. As a distinct genre development, it instead
critically negotiated and in the process helped to shape literary movements both
in the colonies and back home in the imperial centre. It thereby did more than
simply rework and, in turn, redirect representations of the empire in British-cen-
tred narratives; it informed nineteenth-century English-language literature on a
much more global scale than is usually assumed. Despite growing interest in such
transoceanic linkages, there still is a dearth of critical material on either these
narratives or their signifcance for colonial (including settler) literature and,
beyond, for nineteenth-century literary developments more generally. Ignored
in discussions of Victorian domestic writing because of their location and there-
fore ofen diferent points of interest as well as view, domestic narratives of
colonial Australia and New Zealand have similarly been sidelined in overviews
of settler literature. Tese overviews commonly foreground representations of
male mateship, deliberately or inadvertently reaf rming its identifcation as the
defning element of settler identity. Representations with a domestic focus, then,
seem easily dismissible: when they embrace settler domesticity, they seem merely
tales of courtship and family life coated with a sweet and sticky sentimental-
ity: they might allow the bush to be exotic, but nothing about it must remain
disturbing for very long.
Alternatively, when such narratives of everyday lives
in colonial settlements show how the stark realities of emigration and bush life
afect women, they threaten to undercut both nationalist and imperialist ideolo-
gies. As a result, Susan Martin has argued with reference to colonial Australia
in particular, womens fction was violently rejected and ridiculed as trivial,
conservative, Imperial, anti-nationalistic and un-Australian.
It was considered
incompatible with the prevalent masculinist settler identity.
Introduction 7
Similarly, although more attention has been accorded to colonial domestic
fction over the last decades, domestic settler writing is still largely sidestepped
in traditional postcolonial studies. Standard postcolonial reassessments of the
nineteenth century concentrate almost exclusively on Britains colonies of con-
quest and occupation. In her introduction to a collection of essays that stresses
the importance of acknowledging settler colonialism as a separate, if related
development and concept, Annie Coombes proposes that Britains settler colo-
nies in Aotearoa/New Zealand, Australia, Canada and South Africa should be
discussed together since they have a number of features in common in terms
of their colonial histories. Prominently among these commonalties is not just
their common status initially as colonies and subsequently as Dominions, but
also their ambivalent relationship to the imperial metropolitan centre.
ambivalence emerged in the course of the nineteenth century and is refected
in both British-centred and settler narratives of the time. Tese metropolitan
colonial relations
were defned against what was happening, or had already
happened in what might loosely be termed the colonies of conquest and exploi-
Although Angela Woollacott rightly points out that [e]ven viewing
them as two categories begs many questions, since the racial ratios, hierarchies,
land distribution, and cultural accommodations were so diferent in the various
settler colonies, Belichs concept of the Anglo-world facilitates a much-needed
rethinking of (post)colonial metropolitan relationships.
Te Anglophone settler world was decisively shaped in the course of the
nineteenth century,
and Britains antipodal colonies were uniquely positioned
within an already sizable and variously expanding settler empire that was at once
more and less than the British Empire. General colonial expansion was met
with increased global mobility due to new transport technologies, including
regular use of steamships from the mid-century onwards, as well as changing
government policies with regard to emigration. Precisely because the lost or
renegade colony that had become the United States of America was to remain
the favoured emigration destination of Britons throughout the nineteenth
and early twentieth century, much of the pro-emigration writing attempted to
create a preference for imperial destinations. Tis preference was understand-
ably pushed by emigration societies, especially government organizations, but
it also permeated popular fction.
Diana Archibalds 2002 study Domesticity,
Imperialism and Emigration in the Victorian Novel infuentially read together
nineteenth-century representations of North America both Canada and the
US and of Australia and New Zealand to show how central this settler empire
was for the fction of the time, and how several controversies about emigration
and settlement could be mapped out in domestic fction back home. Although
Archibalds now seminal discussion has been most infuential for examining
how in Victorian Britain promises of domesticity and new homes abroad
8 Domestic Fiction in Colonial Australia and New Zealand
became co-opted in the service of empire,
the empire under discussion is
what Belich has more recently termed the settler empire: a central part of the
expanding nineteenth-century Anglo-world. And while we must not forget that
an essential aspect of the contradictory relationship between imperialism and
domesticity remains the ofen elided problem that the term settler has about
it a deceptively benign and domesticated ring,
reassessments of settler domes-
ticity have given new impetus to studies of colonialism, metropolitan colonial
relations and indeed modern forms of global capitalism as it began to emerge in
the nineteenth-century Anglo-world.
Over the last decade, numerous studies of gender and empire have built on
and expanded Archibalds point that in the course of the nineteenth century,
domesticity and imperialism dissolved as seemingly complementary ideolo-
gies to show how women participated in imperialist expansion and also how, as
Woollacott puts it, gender could cut across the metropolitan/colonial divide.

Indeed, as Lisa Chilton points out in Agents of Empire: British Female Migration
to Canada and Australia, 1860s1930, it is now no longer acceptable to pub-
lish histories that purport to be survey studies of the British Empire that do not
adequately take into account colonizing and colonized women.
In her intro-
duction to Gender and Empire, part of the Oxford History of the British Empire
Companion Series, Philippa Levine similarly stresses that to consider the British
Empire as a very masculine enterprise a series of far-fung sites, dominated
by white men dressed stif y in sporting and hunting clothes, or ornate of cial
regalia tells only a fraction of the story.
Especially in the second half of the
nineteenth century, she continues, Making a new home became the colonial
task given to women, whether planting roses in the withering Indian sun to emu-
late an English cottage, or braving the winters of the Canadian prairie in log
However, while (temporarily) expatriated colonial wives in India, for
example, could tend their rose gardens in the belief that they were at least
metonymically cultivating a part of the empire, for settler societies an emphasis
on domestication increasingly presented potential problems of self-imaging and
self-presentation. Levine rightly points out that by the 1850s
the image of colonizing as a rough-and-ready frontier practice was beginning to give
way to an insistent demand for white settler areas to look more like Britain, and in
particular more like a domesticated Britain of both natural and familial order.
When we consider not just the expectations of frontier narratives back home,
but more importantly, the still prevalent identifcation with ideologies of male
mateship in the antipodal settlements, it is hardly surprising that this shif was
met with some resistance. For women writers it could provide an opportunity,
but one that was riddled with ambiguities. Te result was a paradoxical rela-
Introduction 9
tionship to homemaking, which could fnd an intriguingly revealing and ofen
pointedly ambiguous expression in domestic settler fction.
Tis ambiguity partly arose from what has been identifed as intrinsic
paradoxes of settler colonialism. In Unsettling Settler Societies: Articulations of
Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Class, Daiva Stasiulis and Nira Yuval-Davis pinpoint
the central paradox of settler societies, arguing that these societies simulta-
neously resisted and accommodated the authority of an imperialist Europe.

What is more, maintaining a stable settler rule meant creating at least the illu-
sion of a unifed imagined community despite the prevalence of class, ethnic,
religious and other divisions among settlers.
Tis involved a sidelining if not
silencing of women as much as of settlers of diferent (non-Anglophone) ori-
gins and indigenous populations. Simplistic alignments between these diferent
kinds of others, however, is misleading. Indeed, the presence or in many cases,
a disconcerting absence of the indigenous peoples in domestic settler fction
registers several ambiguities not only about colonial settlement in general, but in
particular about settler domesticity. Te identifcation of female settlers with the
bringing of civilization a slippery concept and hence a slippery identifcation
as well alone already reminds us how vital it is to acknowledge womens com-
plicity in various forms of cultural imperialism throughout the British Empire
and beyond, throughout the settler world.
Te bush might require a feminizing infuence, and this suggests it as a place
where women might prove their aptitude for civilizing indigenous inhabit-
ants of colonial locations and live up to the potential need for her to survive
without male assistance either in a rugged colonial location or in the event of
war at home.
But narratives set in the wild untamed spaces of the New Worlds
were as likely to highlight the tragic outcome of such civilizing experiments. Tis
might then serve to signal womens unsuitability for the bush or, conversely, the
bushs unsuitability for domestication. Tat the fction of the time was complex
in its attitudes and could at times be contradictory becomes evident, for exam-
ple, when an Aboriginal servant saves a female settler from hostile bushrangers
at a remote station, as recounted in retrospect in Ethel Turners Seven Little Aus-
tralians, or when Rosa Praed depicts female settlers who have been raised in the
bush as being familiar and comfortable with but ofen also exploitative of
Aboriginal culture. Tey might successfully engage in their own racial mimicry,
as Dalziell has pointed out in a discussion of Praeds Fugitive Anne: A Romance
of the Unexplored Bush (1902),
but such mimicry is presented as disturbing. As
we shall see in a close reading of Praeds Mrs Tregaskiss (1895) in Chapter 8, the
Australian-born girls identifcation with Aboriginal culture can be registered as
a vexed issue that externalizes womens ambiguous relationship to the bush.
A much more disturbing ambiguity is created by female settlers complicity
in imperial expansion. Women, Margaret Strobel has already pointed out in an
10 Domestic Fiction in Colonial Australia and New Zealand
infuential essay on gender and race, gained opportunities lacking at home and
played a central role in shaping the social relations of imperialism and hence
were complicit in its spread.
Lake has more recently stressed the signifcance
of this complicity in the context of settler colonialism. It is arguably there that
the ambiguity of imperial gender relations is the most forcibly felt. On the one
hand, gender relations and the family could be subversive, countering the cul-
tural mythologization of the frontier experience as emblematic of the national
experience; on the other hand, what Strobel has diagnosed as womens participa-
tion in cultural imperialism rendered their domestic role a tool of the empires
However, as Dalziell emphasizes in her discussion of what she terms
settler romances, [i]t must not be assumed, as it so ofen is, that colonial endeav-
ours in Australia enjoyed inexorable support from settlers and the inhabitants of
the imperial metropolis in England.
Tis is a timely reminder that standard
postcolonial approaches and their extension to gender and empire discourses
cannot simply be projected onto settler colonialism. For one, much postcolo-
nial theorizing, which has singled out canonical literary texts as colonialisms
chief technology and foremost machinery for their parts in reconciling the
colonized to imperial projects and values simply does not apply in the same way
to the settler colonies.
Tere was an additional level of complication, moreo-
ver. Back in the metropolis, settlers were ofen disparagingly viewed, considered
what Ann Laura Stoler has called fctive Europeans, and diferently classifed
in evolutionary categories.
Dalziell points out that the Australian Bush Girl,
for example, came under ethnographic scrutiny in British-centred or metro-
politan representations.
Clearly, it is not possible simply to impose traditional
postcolonial frameworks on settler societies, although new approaches to the
tensions of cultural imperialism and womens complicity, for example may use-
fully be correlated to similar paradoxes within settler colonialism.
A much more promising venue of investigation is comparative work on the
nineteenth-century Anglophone settler empire. As we have seen, this settler
world comprises both those parts of North America that had formed the United
States of America at the end of the previous century and those colonial settle-
ments that were really only beginning to expand in the centurys second half,
such as Aotearoa New Zealand. What further complicates this settler empire are
precisely the connections between its respective settlements. Te transportation
of convicts to parts of Australia as arguably the continents frst systematic mass
settlement was itself in reaction to the loss of Britains American colonies in
the late eighteenth century. By the time convict emigration stopped completely
in 1853, in response to a long-lasting Anti-Transportation movement, approxi-
mately 150, 000 convicts had been transported. Many had subsequently settled
in states that had never served as penal colonies, and many proceeded to New
Zealand. Yet while New Zealand was consciously conceived as a Better Britain,
Introduction 11
a model colony that should and would enjoy the advantages of Britains long
experience as a colonizer of other Neo-Europes,
and where major settlement
really occurred only afer the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840,
Australia continued
to struggle with what Patrick Brantlinger has termed [i]n metaphor, at least, the
pollution of an entire continent, the down under of the world, which began
with convicts who were also colonists and empire-builders.
Overcoming this
history as a penal colony despite and through other forms of emigration could
be seen as a victory of the imagination: the emigrations to Australia were not
only a defeat of distance but were also a triumph over the old convict image of
the southern continent.
Settler fction was part of this victory, but it was a feat
that involved disturbing elisions and silencing as well as a triumphing over and
a kind of writing back to Australias image in British-centred representations.
And since the antipodes continued to be lumped together in Victorian popu-
lar culture, nineteenth-century New Zealand fction sought to foreground the
diferences between the two continents. Migration between them increasingly
featured in the literature of both, shedding a diferent light on their changing
representation and self-image.
Te nineteenth century did not merely see emigration fows on an
unprecedented scale, but also wider-ranging global movements that included
back-migrations, moves to and fro for trade, travel and, occasionally, repeated
emigration attempts. Te fction of the time did more than simply refect this.
Multiple migrations might mean an opportunity for adventure or fnancial gain
in straightforward tales of successful gold digging, for example. Narratives with
a domestic focus, by contrast, were much more likely to highlight how unset-
tling this could all be. Tus, returnees were ofen regarded with suspicion back
home, and back-migration could easily be interpreted as a kind of failure: as the
result of failed emigration. And while real-life encounters, travels and multiple
migrations featured in disparate forms in the fction of the time, there were also
important literary connections and exchanges that went beyond direct infu-
ence or intertextual references alone. In fact, there were deliberate rewritings
of both British-centred and American fction. Advertising strategies harnessed
and further boosted both the literary infuences and readers habits, ofen in the
efort to trade on the latter, which tended to obscure the subtleties of the former.
Tus, advertisements for Ethel Turners fction pronounced her the Australian
Alcott ironically because she rewrote and indeed partly parodied Louisa
May Alcotts American classic Little Women (1868).
Beyond this there were
complex connections and self-consciously revisionist imaginary uses that raise
intriguing questions about the settler worlds representation and function in the
literature of the time: how, for example, did the Americas and especially the ren-
egade US feature in antipodal narratives, and how did their representational
12 Domestic Fiction in Colonial Australia and New Zealand
strategies difer from or react to the narrative use that British-centred fction was
making of both the antipodes and the Americas?
So far, however, the growing interest in nineteenth-century literature, or lit-
eratures, in English has largely lef Britains antipodal colonies at the peripheries.
Most ofen the focus remains on the transatlantic alone: on, as Paul Giles has
pointedly put it, read[ing] English literature transatlantically.
Te increasingly
encompassing category of these literatures of the nineteenth-century settler
world, however, provides a promising platform for a thorough reassessment of
the narrative forms that were being produced throughout the English-speaking
parts of the globe. Equally important is how these divergent representational
forms infuenced each other. Such a reassessment simultaneously opens up a new
perspective on British fctions engagement with the antipodes while connecting
New Zealand and Australian studies to a larger reappraisal of nineteenth-cen-
tury global formations, including the literature of a global nineteenth-century
marked by unprecedented transoceanic movements and literary exchanges.
Te present project participates in several current developments in literary
and cultural studies: transatlantic studies are being extended to encompass a
more transoceanic focus; new considerations of settler colonialism are push-
ing postcolonial studies into diferent directions; more nuanced negotiations of
nineteenth-century ideologies of gender and empire have begun to set emigrat-
ing families, colonial girls culture and such other heroines as the colonial New
Woman or the half-caste newly into the foreground. Methodological shifs in
comparative studies of literature in English are making new connections pos-
sible connections that only become visible when we (to extend Giless phrase)
read English literature transoceanically. In Towards a New Transatlanticism,
Amanda Claybaugh has stressed that [n]ineteenth-century novelists and critics
took for granted what present-day scholars have only recently begun to acknowl-
edge: that the literatures of Great Britain and the United States should not be
read in isolation from one another, and Leonard Tennenhouse has proposed
the concept of a British diaspora that initiated the beginning of a wide body
of Anglophone literature.
Tennenhouse applies the cultural logic of diaspora
to discuss exclusively how early American authors reinvented the homeland by
producing a generic notion of Englishness particularly adapted to the North
American situation,
but this is an important critical shif that begs to be
extended further. Indeed, the idea of a British diaspora makes arguably even
more sense when applied throughout the Anglophone settler world.
Tat such an extension is slowly taking place is signalled perhaps most clearly
by Giless recent article on Antipodean American Literature. In coining this
phrase, Giles builds on his defning work on nineteenth-century transatlanti-
cism to suggest that American writing ought to be considered not just within
a postcolonial matrix, but in a matrix that situates Britain at the apex of a tri-
Introduction 13
angle that held America and Australia, the old colony and the new colony, as
its alternate points.
Tis matrix continues Giless refracting of canonical tra-
ditions through comparative readings in which [t]o relate British culture to its
American counterpart, then, is by defnition to open up wider questions about
the defnition and status of literatures in English.
Tis extension of transatlantic
studies works in parallel with a similar thrust towards a much needed reassess-
ment of the two-way fows of infuence between metropole (imperial centre) and
colonies. As Woollacott has stressed, [i]t is now well established that colonial-
ism has been an interconstitutive process that shaped British society and culture,
although [c]omprehending Londons place within the empire is a challenge
historians have only begun to take up.
Not only are the literary and larger cul-
tural as well as commercial interchanges of the nineteenth-century Anglo world
newly discussed and contextualized, but their signifcance for Victorian Britain
and nineteenth-century literature at large can thus be newly evaluated as well.
Meanwhile, even as current work on settler colonialism newly engages with
the slippery diferences between colonies of settlement and of occupation,
asking us to question the usefulness of this bifurcation,
recent research on
Victorian material culture has elucidated the hitherto neglected signifcance of
English culture and specifcally English domesticity as a portable commod-
ity. Janet Myers has pinpointed the Victorians conceptualization of a new form
of portable domesticity that was of particular relevance in the construction
of settler colonies: it enabled British emigrants throughout the second half of
the nineteenth century to envision and to create Antipodal England.
Plotz has similarly coined a concept of cultural portability as a new way of
imagining community through the transportation of domestic objects, works
of fction included.
Plotz develops this concept in reference to Britains colo-
nial expansion throughout the empire and therefore necessarily foregrounds the
consumption of imperial, i.e. British-centred products in colonies of occupation.
Te circulation of magazines and books throughout the empire extended what
Benedict Anderson has termed imagined communities of readers.
fction, at frst sight, seems to provide the ideal form and medium for portable
As Plotz af rms, in the Victorians idea of a cultural empire the
novel as a self-suf cient but mimetic narrative, bound in covers but free to roam,
presented a symbol and a material realization a graspable item of portable
High Victorian novels were very tangible objects and as such well
qualifed as the logical breeding ground for refections on cultural portability.

Tese three-volume novels, Susan Martin and Kylie Mirmohamadi have pointed
out in a recent discussion of sensation fction in nineteenth-century Melbourne,
steamed their way towards the antipodes, ofen to be received, assessed, and distributed by
the proprietors of the circulating libraries which had become important ports of call in the
literary landscapes of colonial cities, and welcome depositories of literature from Home.
14 Domestic Fiction in Colonial Australia and New Zealand
Although writing back from the settler colonies during an age of empire neces-
sarily remained a double-edged sword, fction increasingly steamed both ways:
in manuscript form, as serialized narratives and eventually also as bound novels.
Since nineteenth-century popular magazines were read throughout the empire,
they might certainly work as a tool of cultural imperialism and a way to keep
a British diaspora connected even beyond the confnes of the empire. Recent
studies of periodical publications, however, have shown how much more com-
plex both the circulation and readers consumption of serialized fction was
especially in the settler colonies. As Michelle Smith has shown in her study
of the imperial girl, the emergent girls print culture of the late nineteenth
century picked up on and continued to foster a new connection between impe-
rial imperatives and a range of new freedoms for girls.
Girls movement into
arenas of action and adventure within this print culture owes much to impe-
rial justifcation: they move beyond the domestic out of necessity or for the
beneft of empire and are therefore not subject to critique but, conversely, are
Domestic settler fction participated in the changing perception of
girl- and womanhood, but as Smith shows in her contribution to this collection
(Chapter 5), women writers from or at the antipodes also critically engaged
with the fgure of the Bush Girl as a common type.
Most settler authors wrote for both local and British-centred magazines and
publishers. Te ambiguities resulting from this dual readership as well as from
diferent expectations and ofen from authors transoceanic experiences found
an intriguing refection in fction. While this showcases how culturally reveal-
ing popular fction from the antipodes could be, the ambiguities simultaneously
draw attention to the complexities of literary as well as larger cultural exchanges.
Clearly, these exchanges were not unidirectional. Serial fction about the settler
colonies was enormously popular and provided a context for what have now
become canonical works such as Great Expectations, which was itself serialized
side by side with now largely forgotten narratives of the antipodes. Although the
novel has ofen been read in the light of its peripheral engagements with transpor-
tation and colonial return, it has seldom been situated within the broader feld
of antipodal settler literature. As Jude Piesse stresses in her contribution to this
collection (Chapter 3), recognizing the tropes and dynamics that emerge from
broadly contemporaneous settler novels serves to elucidate signifcant points
of formal and thematic parallel to Dickenss novel. Conversely, a closer look at
the works by Australian and New Zealand writers shows how both local and
imported publications were not just consumed or rewritten, but also re-pre-
sented in colonial fction. As Philip Steer stresses in his chapter on antipodal
home economics (Chapter 10), contextualizing domestic settler fction in the
light of shifing colonial and imperial economic conditions allows rarely dis-
cussed texts to be recognized as having much broader thematic and geographic
Introduction 15
horizons than has hitherto been assumed. Te present studys main focus is on the
representation of settler homes and how the slippery terms of home, homeland
and homemaking at once refected and helped to probe shifing attitudes to the
empire, (transportable) domesticity and the confnes of domestic fction. Simul-
taneously, it investigates the infuences of domestic narratives about colonial
Australia and New Zealand on nineteenth-century genre formations. Domestic
Fiction in Colonial Australia and New Zealand thereby also seeks to contribute
to a more encompassing reappraisal of nineteenth-century literature in English.
Chapter Outlines
Te collection opens up with a discussion of the antipodal colonies complex
and changing representational functions in British-centred publications of the
early and mid-nineteenth century. Te frst set of chapters looks at well-known
writers and considers how the antipodes captured the imagination of writers
in Victorian Britain. In Retracing Domestic Space: English National Identity
in Harriet Martineaus Homes Abroad (Chapter 1), Lesa Scholl examines how
domestic space was envisaged as a reinvention of Englishness in the colonies,
but became complicated, especially in its representation in the imperial centre,
by Australias persistent association with penal settlement. Written at a time
of social and political unrest, of cholera outbreaks and Reform Bills, Harriet
Martineaus Homes Abroad (1832), Volume 10 of her Illustrations of Political
Economy (18324), attempts to project a diasporic domestic space onto the
penal colony of Van Diemens Land, but this dislocation, much like the convicts
transportation, simultaneously represents a desire to remove this threat from
Englands shores in an attempt to retain an image of social and political stability
at home, thus reasserting the idea of Englands civility. In exploring the colonists
diasporic anxieties and their reconstruction of domestic space, Scholl shows that
even as Van Diemens Land continues to stand in as a useful space of projection,
the antipodes also represent a new hope: an escape and opportunity, away from
the social constraints and deprivation within England. Yet, within this hope,
there is also a longing for an imagined homeland specifcally for the privileges
of Englishness that were not possible within Englands shores.
Te next two chapters reassess Charles Dickenss fascinatingly complex
relationship with emigration in the context of settler writing and its seldom dis-
cussed infuence on Dickenss life and work. In Hasten to the Land of Promise:
Te Infuence of Emigrant Letters on Dickenss Life and Literature (Chapter
2), Diana Archibald discusses Dickenss infuential representation of emigration,
drawing new attention to the extent to which his changing depiction of colo-
nial life was, in turn, informed by the writing of newly arrived settlers. Chapter
3 focuses on what might well be termed the canonical Victorian novel about
16 Domestic Fiction in Colonial Australia and New Zealand
Australia. In Ever so Many Partings Welded Together: Serial Settlement and
Great Expectations, Jude Piesse argues that reading Dickenss Great Expectations
alongside a range of serialized novels about settlement published within British
periodicals and within the context of its own original serial format in All the Year
Round, afords a means of both refning the nature of the novels engagements
with empire history and understanding its characteristic preoccupations with
concepts of home, departure, nostalgia and return. Te temporal quality of seri-
alization itself represents the settlement process as a gradualist one, with the serial
novels requiring patience and fortitude on the part of readers as the stories unfold
over time. While reading Dickenss novel in this light reveals a more tangible
route into understanding its engagements with empire than that made available
through investigations of margins and silences, the chapter also draws attention
to emigration and settler narratives that have hitherto remained at the margins
of critical discussion. Tese topical texts include Edward Bulwer-Lyttons Te
Caxtons (18489), Lucy Dean: Te Noble Needlewoman (Eliza Meteyard, 1850),
Frank Layton: An Australian Story (George Sargent, 1854), Te Settlers of Long
Arrow (Louisa Murray, 1861) and Cedar Creek: From the Shanty to the Settlement
(Elizabeth Hely Walshe, 1861). While emigration is usually considered a way of
getting rid of unwanted, troublesome protagonists or, alternatively, of bringing
in ofen dubious and easily sensationalized characters, and seemingly bringing
them in from nowhere in particular, these serialized narratives engage with the
emigration experience centrally and extensively.
Te next chapter (Chapter 4), Grace Moores Te Heavens Were on Fire:
Incendiarism and the Defence of the Home, similarly reads a well-known, if still
rarely analysed Victorian novella about Australia, Anthony Trollopes Harry
Heathcote of Gangoil (1874), alongside more neglected material, including Mary
Fortunes Waif Wanderer articles for the Australian Journal and J. S. Borlases
Twelve Miles Broad (1885). In discussing the threat posed to the homestead
by the arsonist and the ways in which literary representations demonized the
fre bug, Moore pays particular attention to the gender politics of frelighting as
well as frefghting and how fctional stories of fre sought to assert the security
of the (ofen vulnerable) homestead by representing women as defenders of the
domestic. Her chapter considers how fction mediates emotional responses to
fre, such as trauma and hatred, as well as exploring the role that literature played
in recovery and reconstruction.
Chapter 5 critically re-examines the iconic fgure of the Australian Girl in
colonial domestic fction, which was signifcantly ambiguous. While British fc-
tional imaginings of Australian girls lauded their lack of conformity and physical
abilities and ofen depicted them bravely defending the family property with
frearms, Australian narratives exhibited greater contradictions. In her discus-
sion of Te Australian Girl and the Domestic Ideal in Colonial Womens
Introduction 17
Fiction, Michelle J. Smith argues that these narratives evoke an iconic fgure,
while simultaneously expressing their heroines unease or even thwarting their
ambitions in order to counter prevalent understandings of the Australian Girl in
masculinist literary culture and nationalist imperatives for women. Smith draws
on the works of several, very diferent women writers of colonial Australia,
including Rosa Campbell Praeds An Australian Heroine (1880), Catherine Mar-
tins An Australian Girl (1890) and Ethel Turners still popular childrens book
Seven Little Australians (1894), as well as Miles Franklins acclaimed My Bril-
liant Career (1901), to show how these milestone fctions of girlhood for both
adult and juvenile audiences gave voice to the lived experience of Australia for
young women, and how their publication in Britain contributed to an emergent
reciprocal transpacifc fow of literary culture. Te following chapters continue
this focus on diferent examples of antipodal fction with a domestic focus by
concentrating on individual settler authors in Australia and New Zealand. Tese
individual case studies combine important recovery work of hitherto seldom
discussed material with critical reassessments of traditional and new approaches
to colonial and domestic fction.
In Fugitive Homes: Multiple Migrations in Ethel Turners Fiction (Chapter
6), Tamara S. Wagner explores multiple migrations in a cluster of Turners turn-
of-the-century novels. Famous for her representation of a unique Australian
childhood that ofer both girls and boys more freedom, Turner intriguingly never
presented either emigration or settler life in an unequivocally positive light. On
the contrary, she was ambiguous not only about the bush and hence the Bush
Girl but also depicted failed settler homes and exposed the disconcerting
efects that especially multiple migrations had on families. Te Wonder-Child
(1901), Tat Girl (1908) and Fugitives fom Fortune (1909) track in detail how
some of Turners child protagonists struggle to come to terms with several moves
across the globe and sometimes fail to do so. Teir struggles with dubious home-
coming and homemaking ofen include undesirable or unrealizable returns back
home to an England that is unfamiliar, estranged and hence other. Yet Turners
depiction of settler homes and frequently their failure similarly questions
clichs about imperial relations with the settler colony as well as about Australia
as circulated in Victorian popular culture. Not only is the imperialist centre
thereby newly positioned within the British Empire; America, as the other New
World, plays an equally shifing role. While failed homes and settlements alone
may make a startling appearance in the works of an avowedly nationalist Aus-
tralian writer, the triangulation of metropole and settler colony with America
becomes a means to articulate anxieties about homemaking at a time of unprec-
edented transoceanic movement. Turners orphaned, exiled or otherwise lost
child characters embody the shortcomings and impasses of imperial networks,
of a settler world that is by no means cohesive and easily domesticated. When
18 Domestic Fiction in Colonial Australia and New Zealand
these children succeed, afer all, in navigating the dif culties created by their
several movements and new homes across the globe, it is through a reversal of
expected narrative trajectories. By reading the representation of multiple migra-
tions in the work of a nineteenth-century nationalist Australian childrens writer
through the lens of a widening transoceanic studies approach, Wagner shows
how Turners complex referencing of failed ventures and failed homes asks us to
reconsider established paradigms of imperialist and settler fction as well as to
redefne transoceanic studies.
Te following chapter (Chapter 7) discusses the particular versions of domes-
tic ideology produced in the popular Christian and temperance fction published
by South Australian writer Maud Jean Franc [Matilda Jane Evans (182786)] in
the context of both local and transoceanic distribution networks. In Devout
Domesticity and Extreme Evangelicalism: Te Unsettled Australian Domestic
of Maud Jean Franc, Susan K. Martin examines the representation of fctional
British immigrants in tellingly titled, evangelical texts such as Marian, or the
Light of Someones Home (1861) or Golden Gifs (1869). While the emigrant
girls assigned role in these narratives is to import British culture and aesthet-
ics to the bush, the narratives register important tensions. Whereas some of
Francs novels follow the expected trajectory of the introduction of proper Brit-
ish behaviours, Christian sensibilities and aesthetics, which produce a colonial
fowering of domestic virtue, this is undercut by works like Francs temperance
novel Minnies Mission (1869), which suggest that the goals of the heroine may
be incompatible with ordinary domesticity. Such novels, Martin argues, disap-
point the narrative trajectory of domestic romance without adequate reader
recompense. In exploring this clash in relation to other womens domestic writ-
ing of the period, Martin simultaneously highlights the embeddedness of Francs
work in distribution networks associated with both the Temperance movement
and Christian evangelicalism, which suggests that whatever domestic ideology
she was producing received a wide circulation in both Australia and Britain.
While Chapters 6 and 7 thus critically reconsider underlying tensions and
seeming incongruities in the works of a self-avowedly nationalist writer whose
novels for a young readership were the most successful (Turner) and of an evan-
gelical author (Franc), the next chapters explore the problematic representation
of colonial domesticity in New Woman fction, within late-nineteenth-cen-
tury aesthetic movements, and in the context of economic crises. In Chapter
8, Tats what Children are Nought but Leg-Ropes: Motherhood in Rosa
Praeds Mrs Tregaskiss, Melissa Purdue takes Praeds 1895 Mrs Tregaskiss, a
tragic novel about a New Woman in the bush, to show how Praed played with
expectations for settler homes in order to revise clichd constructions of colo-
nial motherhood. While catering to readers seeking stereotypical stories of the
wild and exotic bush, Praed also revised expectations about settler gender roles.
Introduction 19
In Chapter 9, Te Antipodal House Beautiful: Louisa Alice Bakers Colonial
Aesthetic, Kirby-Jane Hallum reads Louisa Alice Bakers A Daughter of the
King (1894) in the context of the Victorian aesthetic movements adaptation
in colonial New Zealand. Bakers New Woman novel expresses changing and
deeply ambiguous attitudes to a developing colonial domestic aesthetic. Chapter
10, Antipodal Home Economics: International Debt and Settler Domesticity
in Clara Cheesemans A Rolling Stone (1886), proceeds to show how contex-
tualizing domestic settler fction in shifing colonial and imperial economic
conditions allows texts such as Clara Cheesemans melodramatic triple-decker
to be recognized as having much broader thematic and geographic horizons
than has hitherto been assumed. Philip Steer argues that the novels domestic
concerns reach out to engage with contemporary economic relations between
the New Zealand state and British investors.
Te fnal chapter, Kirstine Mofats What is in the Blood will Come out:
Belonging, Expulsion and the New Zealand Settler Home (Chapter 11), addresses
a vital issue of settler narratives that was ofen symptomatically edited out or pushed
aside: the representation of indigenous people, including the complex functions of
the half-caste in discourses on colonial domesticity. If Martineau showed crucial
awareness of prevailing perceptions of both natives and convicts as frightening
others and how these perceptions infected discourses on the home (discussed in
Chapter 1), domestic settler writing was ofen marked by the conspicuous absence
of these others. Mofat analyses the representation of a half-caste heroine in Jessie
Westons Ko Mri, or, A Cycle of Cathay: A Story of New Zealand Life (1890), teas-
ing out the ambiguities in the text. Ultimately, Ko Mri expels the Mori other
from the settler home. Mori may be part of New Zealands history and refective
of the warm climate, beauty and abundance of New Zealands natural world, but
Westons perception of race and anxieties about miscegenation, so troubling to a
twenty-frst-century audience, reveals the cost to indigenous peoples of settler con-
structions of belonging and home.
Mofat situates Westons outlook in her historical context, showing how it
was shared by other late nineteenth-century New Zealand authors, such as Ban-
nerman Kaye, A. A. Grace and William Satchell, but was challenged by novelists
Arthur H. Adams and Jean Devanny in the early twentieth century. For Adams
and Devanny any meaningful construct of home in New Zealand requires a part-
nership between Mori and Pkeh, unorthodox and radical views for the time in
which they lived and wrote. Te chapter and hence this study concludes with
a brief discussion of recent works by Mori authors who depict their own sense
of home and homeland in opposition to the imperialist text. Drawing attention
to important recovery work of seldom discussed texts and stressing the need to
read these texts together with canonical works about the antipodes, Domestic
Fiction in Colonial Australia and New Zealand casts new light on Victorian ideas
20 Domestic Fiction in Colonial Australia and New Zealand
about antipodal culture. It thereby seeks not only to deepen our understanding
of empire and domestic ideology, but also to contribute to and, indeed, invite
further research on nineteenth-century transoceanic interchanges.
A Note on the Terminology
In recent critical discussions of Australian and New Zealand writing, antipo-
dal and antipodean have largely been used interchangeably. Te Oxford English
Dictionary defnes antipodal as Of or pertaining to the antipodes; situated
on the opposite side of the globe, and in its transferred usage as Diametrically
opposite (to anything).
Antipodean usually capitalized likewise means
Of or pertaining to the opposite side of the world; esp. Australasian,
i.e. it
has the specifc geographical marker of typically referring to the opposite side
of the world from Britain and thus Australasia. Antipodal (rarely capitalized)
can refer to geographic locations other than the Pacifc and was indeed frst used
of the Americas. It is this concept of down under that antipodal preserves,
thereby also stressing Australasias metaphorical potential in colonial narratives.
Primarily for the sake of consistency, antipodal has been chosen throughout the
collection. Antipodal domestic fction, therefore, refers both to the fctionaliza-
tion of down under in British-centred domestic narratives and to fction with
a domestic focus written by authors based, or primarily based, in Australia and
New Zealand. Similarly, domestic fction, I have sought to emphasize, thereby
refers to narratives with a domestic focus or interest. Tese narratives are frst
and foremost interested in the home or in concerns related to the home or to
changing ideas about domesticity, without necessarily embracing a domestic
ideology or even presenting domestic confnes positively. Instead, in their focus
on domestic space and issues, including domestic problems or shortcomings,
these narratives counter both the prevalent stereotyping of undomestic colonial
spaces in British-centred fction and an equally clichd mythologization of the
bush as part of settler ideology.