Women’s Work and Cross-Cultural Relationships on Two Female Frontiers: Eliza Fraser and Barbara Thompson in Colonial Queensland, 1836–1849
This chapter compares the experiences of Barbara Thompson and Eliza Fraser, two white women who lived with Indigenous people on the other side of the frontier in colonial Queensland, to foreground their relationships with Indigenous women. It considers how they negotiated Indigenous women’s worlds, and how Indigenous women negotiated their intrusion. It treats their meeting and adoption into Indigenous women’s networks, speculates on the ways Indigenous women positioned the intruders, and details intimate relationships between white and Indigenous women. Through work, Thompson became a part of the Kaurareg community; through refusal to work, Fraser remained alienated from the Butchulla. This understanding provides a basis for a revised historical and reconciliation practice that both recognises Indigenous women’s work and seeks to reciprocate.