A devotion I hope I may fully repay

  • Victoria K. Haskins


Having made no further mention of Mary in her diary after May 1934, when she found Mary’s address at Brungle Aboriginal Station, it seems that Ming did indeed get in touch with Mary again. In early January 1935 Mary wrote to Narrelle and Helen, thanking them for the Christmas presents they had sent her: ‘it makes me think of home when you used to give me a lot of nice things like that’.1 The resumption of Ming and Mary’s relationship after a break of five years was consolidated by the giving of ‘parcels’ of old clothes and the like to Mary. Such one-directional giving has been described as the ‘ubiquitous expression of maternalism’ within the domestic service relationship, a ritual serving to ‘reify the differences between the women’.2 Its continuation years after Mary’s departure highlights the continuing obligations both women felt Ming owed Mary, and must be seen in the context of what was happening in both women’s lives at the time.


Depression Pneumonia Shoe Rote Hate 


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  1. 2.
    Judith Rollins, Between Women: Domestics and Their Employers (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1985), 189–91.Google Scholar

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© Victoria K. Haskins 2005

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