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The 'Radharc' team made their first production in in Donegal, a short film about customs relating to St Brigid's Day. Between and the Radharc team would produce over films in Ireland and 75 countries worldwide.
The films dealt with human rights, injustice, faith, religion, persecution, struggles against oppressive regimes, famine, and Christian heritage. The popular series ended production in after the death of Fr Joe Dunn. Subic Bay, Philipines, Olongapo Topic: Religion and Belief Contributor s: If you wish to licence video or audio clips, still images or text, or would like further guidance please contact us. If you feel your copyright has not been respected please contact us.
Night Flight to Uli The Black Irish Escape to Nowhere Down and Out in Dublin Radharc in Derry New Day in Brazil Stories from Irish America Radharc Communications Centre Weather Heatwave for Ireland Heatwave in Ireland Summer Sunshine Activities Triskel Arts Centre At 30 Portia Robinson , writing in the mids, presents the opposite view of the women of Botany Bay as good wives, good mothers and good citizens.
If they were prostitutes, she says, it was as a result of their criminal environment in Britain rather than conditions in Australia. On the contrary, Australia offered women the chance for redemption Robinson, , p.
In the final analysis, it is impossible to know exactly how many women engaged in commercial sex during the convict period. Despite this, prostitution obviously was a key institution in convict society, providing one of the few economic options for women who supplied a high level of demand for sexual services in a disproportionately male population Alford There is a sense, too, in which the actual numbers of women working as prostitutes is irrelevant to an understanding of the place prostitution played in colonial society.
What is more important is the fact that those in authority believed it to be widespread yet, apart from ritual expressions of disgust, showed a high degree of toleration for the practice. As noted earlier, this toleration reflected the official belief that prostitutes provided a necessary outlet for the powerful lusts of working class men.
It was also accepted because the women who provided this service were, from the point of view of the ruling class, the 'other' - working class women with values and behaviour markedly different from those of women of their own class. The sharp contrast between the speech, dress and behaviour of convict women and the demeanour of middle and upper class women also helped mask the extent to which sexual services were exchanged for financial gain across social classes.
Because of this, convict society, particularly in the earlier decades, was noticeably more tolerant of women of 'easy virtue' amongst its upper echelons than was contemporary British society or later colonial society.
Deborah Oxley , p. Working class women's role in this society was primarily to reproduce the working class: An intrinsic part of this role was the provision of sexual services to men, through marriage, force or payment.
Sex was commercialised and turned into a commodity. The convict era was thus crucial in setting the pattern for the history of prostitution in Australia. It saw the establishment of the sex industry as an important part of the life experience and work options of women within colonising society; it was also during this period that the extent of prostitution came to be used as a gauge of the worth of colonial women and of the success of colonial society more generally.
Prostitution assumed a rhetorical and symbolic significance quite apart from its importance as an avenue for women's economic survival. Meanwhile, as prostitution of European women flourished in the penal settlements, wherever the white colonisers intruded on Aboriginal lands sexual contact between white men and black women occurred soon after.
In some cases this was the result of Aboriginal people extending traditional hospitality to visitors. That is, Aboriginal women were lent to the intruders in the expectation that friendly relations would ensue. In some cases, too, Aboriginal women became more regular companions for white men, often as a deliberate strategy to incorporate the newcomers into the Aboriginal kinship system.
It was also, no doubt, sometimes a matter of personal preference on the part of Aboriginal women, who welcomed the novelty the white men provided and perhaps also wished to cast in their lot with the ascendant power in the region. All too often, however, sexual interaction was coercive and violent, with Aboriginal women being conquered and taken in the same way that Aboriginal lands were.
In the aftermath of dispossession Aboriginal women were often left with little choice but to engage in prostitution, either for money or for goods, in order to survive as individuals and to contribute to the survival of their kin.
They formed the pivot of what Deborah Bird Rose , Ch. As access to hunting grounds was increasingly prevented and sources of food became rapidly depleted, Aboriginal people were forced to participate in the white economy to survive.
In the early colonial period, where convict labour was readily available, Aboriginal women's sexuality was often the only saleable item possessed by the survivors who eked out a precarious existence on the edges of white society.
In the north, the labour of young men was also valued, but here the almost total absence of white women placed Aboriginal women in even greater demand. They were indispensable as domestic workers as well as performing a wide range of non-traditional women's work, such as stock work and mining, in certain areas.
For all these workers, satisfying the sexual demands of their co-workers and bosses was usually considered part of the job. The more fortunate were able to obtain something in exchange for their sexual favours - such as extra rations which were shared with their kin in the camp.
The less fortunate were treated as sexual slaves, confined for the use of white managers and stock workers. Ann McGrath a, relates the Northern Territory practice of keeping a number of young 'stud gins' locked up in a chicken-wire enclosure as an enticement for white labourers, who were otherwise reluctant to work in the so-called 'womanless North'.
While this practice contributed to the economy of the pastoralists, the relatively benign practice of exchanging sex for extra rations contributed enormously to the survival of Aboriginal groups dispossessed by pastoralism and mining or living in areas where the bush tucker was radically depleted.
But it was not just Aboriginal women who were engaged to satisfy the lusts of men in the North. In the late nineteenth century Japanese and, to a lesser extent, Europeans and Australians operated brothels, especially in ports and mining centres. The more southerly the location the greater the proportion of Australian and European women and the fewer the Japanese found in sex work.
The earlier goldrushes in Victoria and New South Wales, by contrast, were served almost entirely by prostitutes from Britain and Australia. Japanese brothels were a prominent feature of waterfront life in ports such as Broome, Darwin and Thursday Island, where the inmates catered for the wide range of nationalities engaged in the pearling, pearl-shell and fishing industries, as well as those employed on cargo and naval vessels.
The role these women played in the economic life of the ports was as great as their contribution to its social facilities. Brothel-keepers were often in partnership with pearl fishermen, the proceeds of prostitution being used to finance the purchase and outfitting of Japanese pearling luggers Hunt, ; C.
Moore, ; Sissons, Aboriginal women were also involved in prostitution in the maritime industry, though their case is somewhat special.
In Western Australia, for instance, until legislation in prohibited the practice, they were employed both as divers and prostitutes on the pearling luggers which operated out of ports such as Broome and Roebourne Hunt, ; Reynolds, On shore, women from local areas and others abandoned by drovers, miners or troopers far from their own country, waited in the mangroves at the river mouths to sell their wares to the fishermen as they came ashore with their earnings.
Again, state intervention attempted to outlaw this practice. It would be naive to think, however, that legislation put a stop to the trade in Aboriginal women's sexuality. This continued, albeit in a more clandestine fashion. The frontier has had a special legacy in the way in which prostitution is treated by sections of Australian society into the present. There is still a certain 'out of sight out of mind' mentality regarding sexual relations between women of Aboriginal descent and non-Aboriginal men which extends to commercial sex, especially in rural areas.
For most of the twentieth century Aboriginal women were controlled by the various state 'protection Acts' rather than the civil and criminal laws which were used to police non-Aboriginal prostitution. They were thus put in a separate category to other prostitutes.
In some ways this had negative consequences for the women concerned, since the powers of the Chief Protectors of Aborigines were far more far-reaching than those of the police in relation to non- Aboriginal prostitutes Huggins and Blake, In other ways their separateness was more positive.
The fact that Aboriginal women usually traded sex in fringe-camps or on isolated stations rather than city streets meant that they escaped many of the moves by police and criminal organisations to control their activities and earnings. The balance of these factors must have varied considerably with the experience of individual women. The frontier years also had ramifications for non-Aboriginal sex workers. The legacy is clearly evident in mining towns such as Kalgoorlie, where prostitution is openly carried on under the virtual supervision of the police.
As in colonial days, the police and apparently the majority of the local community consider the brothels a necessary part of life in a mining town where men still outnumber women. This acceptance and semi-official control has been a mixed blessing for the women concerned.
The vigilance of the police ensures that criminal elements are kept away from the brothels and their inmates, making sex work in Kalgoorlie much safer than probably anywhere else in Australia. However, this security comes at the price of excessive intrusion into the personal relationships and movements of sex workers.
As one former Kalgoorlie prostitute recalled of her years in a Hay Street brothel in the s, after fleeing Sydney because of violence from the 'big fellas': The police won't let you I tell you what, I couldn't cop that, not being free' Frances, , p. In addition to having their personal relationships vetted, sex workers were forbidden to shop in the town after midday and were not allowed to use the local restaurants, hotels, swimming pool or cinemas or to go to the racecourse. This situation persists to the present day Cohen, The sale of sexual services was not, however, simply a product of the sex imbalance in convict society or on the frontier.
On the contrary, prostitution flourished in every late nineteenth century city in Australia even where the sex ratios were more evenly matched. Of course, there were the perennial demands for commercial sex from enclaves of men, such as in the merchant marine and the armed forces. But colonial cities supplied other customers. In this case the demand came from white men who sought sexual release with prostitutes because, in the context of prevailing moral codes, 'respectable' women were not available to meet these demands.
Middle class men, enjoined to defer marriage until they had attained a sufficient level of financial security, were not willing to stay virgins until they married in their late twenties or thirties. Single women of their own class were not generally willing to engage in premarital sex because to do so would spoil their marriage prospects.
After marriage, the desire to limit family size, increasingly evident in Australian middle class families from the s, meant that many couples severely curtailed their marital sexual activity. Men, 'naturally', it was thought, sought carnal solace in the arms of prostitutes. Bourgeois Australians had inherited from England the same double standard of sexual morality which insisted on women's chastity before marriage and faithfulness afterwards in the interests of guaranteeing the paternity of the heirs.
While men were expected to have strong sexual urges and extramarital sex was winked at on their part, respectable women were generally expected to feel little sexual desire of their own and were condemned should they seek gratification outside the marital bed.
Working class men too were increasingly subject to this bourgeois code of morality, and because of relatively high wages in Australia may have been able to afford prostitutes' services more readily than were their British counterparts.
The supply of prostitutes in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries came principally from the working class. Despite the rhetoric of the working man's paradise, wages and conditions for Australian women were far from heavenly.
While the growth of manufacturing in the major urban centres in the late nineteenth century did open up new opportunities for women as paid workers, the options were still very limited and none of them very alluring. In domestic service was still the most popular female occupation, offering women a life of confinement, hard work, low wages and the strong possibility of sexual harassment from male employers and their sons.
Women who preferred the freedom of the factory had a narrow range of female jobs open to them, all of which paid around half the male rate for similar occupations. For young women living at home, this was just enough to make the effort worthwhile. For older women, or those without family or friends to supplement their wages, life was difficult to say the least.
Women with dependents found it almost impossible to subsist and support their children or other relatives on factory wages, while the logistics of balancing childcare and paid work outside the home were daunting. Prostitution was attractive to many such women because, like outwork for the clothing industry, it offered them the chance to work from home.
The increasing work opportunities in shops and offices offered slightly higher status but usually not much more in the way of remuneration. Even if a woman took only one paying customer a day, at the going rate of two shillings and sixpence for a short- time at the bottom end of the market she would earn more in a week than as a skilled tailoress or a lady typist.
In times of economic depression the gap between respectable and unrespectable earnings was even wider Scates, , pp. Given these economic realities, it is hardly surprising that there was always a ready supply of women to meet the demands for commercial sex in Australia's colonial cities. No doubt there were also women drawn to the prostitute's lifestyle for its own sake, as offering a more enjoyable and freer way of earning a living than other kinds of feminine work. Historians have been slower to recognise this aspect of prostitution than they have the economic one.
The forces propelling women into sex work were therefore almost as strong in the post-convict era as they were during the earlier colonial period. But, late nineteenth century Australians were increasingly less willing to allow the open, uncontrolled activities of streetwalkers on their city streets and of bawdy houses in their neighbourhoods. The period from about through to the First World War saw concerted efforts by legislatures and police forces in all the colonies to 'clean-up' their streets, and prostitutes were a major target of this cleansing operation.
How can we explain these moves to reform urban street life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? There is no one explanation which covers the situation in all colonies, but certain common processes are identifiable. And these relate to transformations in the management of urban space common to cities in other English-speaking countries at about the same time.
The growth of an urban middle class which accompanied the industrial expansion of the nineteenth century created a class of leisured wives and daughters who sought to use urban space in new ways, most notably by shopping and promenading in the central business districts.
A variant of this was the fashionable Melbourne pastime of 'doing the Block', or promenading around the Collins, Swanston, Bourke and Elizabeth Streets block of shops. With more 'respectable' women using the streets, the presence of what they regarded as 'nuisances' had to be minimised and preferably eliminated.
Hawkers, beggars and drunks were all targets of this campaign, but prostitutes were especially targeted. The reason for this is obvious: The attack on street culture can also be seen as part of a broader middle class assault on working class behaviour generally, aimed at reforming those aspects of life which did not fit with the demands of an ordered, industrial society Daniels, Colonial legislatures were thus responding to similar pressures on other recently industrialised societies when they introduced a series of legislative changes which sought to give the police greater powers to control street life.
Prostitutes were especially affected by changes to the vagrancy clauses of the police offences Acts, such as occurred in Victoria in and New South Wales in , which made soliciting by women an offence for the first time Arnot, ; Golder and Allen It should be noted, however, that the aim of this legislation was not to suppress prostitution entirely. Indeed, legislators generally accepted the inevitability of prostitution as a social institution - a 'necessary evil', as it was often referred to.
Assuming that men's sexual instincts would find some outlet, politicians argued that it was better that they were satisfied by prostitutes than translated into the seduction or rape of 'respectable' women.
The best one could do was control its more offensive side-effects. On the other hand I do not believe in its being carried on in an open, flagrant and almost insulting manner. I believe it should be kept in restraint' Davidson, , p. James's remarks sum up the dominant attitude of Australian authorities to the issue of prostitution from the late nineteenth century until the present day.
Pressures specific to new societies also saw increasing efforts to control the operation of prostitution in colonial Australia. Kay Daniels charts the changing attitude of the authorities to prostitution in Tasmania after the middle of the century, when colonial legislators were concerned to minimise the visibility of prostitution as part of the transition from a convict to a free society.
The passing of convict society saw a change in the attitude of middle class people to prostitution. While the sexual exploitation of convict women was widely acknowledged, it was accepted as a reflection of the immoral nature of the women themselves, who were not ordinary women but 'whores'. With the move to a 'free' society, prostitution came to be seen in the same light as many other aspects of working class culture: Alongside sporadic and largely unsuccessful efforts to 'rescue' prostitutes was an increasing array of legislation designed to control prostitution.
Similar concerns were evident in Kalgoorlie in the early s. Here the intensely masculine, frontier-style town, with large numbers of alluvial prospectors, was being replaced by a more family-oriented society based upon wage-labour in deep mines.
Such behaviour was considered inappropriate in the presence of increasing numbers of 'respectable' women and children so moves were taken by the police which eventually localised the brothels and severely curtailed the public movement of sex workers Davidson, , Other pressures also affected society's willingness to intervene in the lives of prostitutes. Health considerations, for instance, became increasingly important in the context of British imperial expansion in the latter half of the nineteenth century.
While venereal disease was not a new phenomenon in that century, governments saw it as an increasingly serious problem, especially as it affected the fitness of the nation's military personnel. Prostitutes were targeted as the major carriers of VD and the most vulnerable to control. In Britain, the government enacted the controversial Contagious Diseases CD Acts of the s which aimed to provide a pool of disease- free prostitutes for the use of troops in English garrison towns.
The British military authorities also wanted similar legislation introduced in ports regularly visited by its troopships. Other colonies, notably Victoria and Queensland, introduced such CD Acts without any direct pressure from the military, their intention being more clearly designed for the protection of the civilian male population Evans, ; Arnot, It is clear that many in the colonies saw the CD Acts not only, although primarily, as a health measure.
They were also a way of controlling prostitutes' behaviour generally. As the editor of the Perth Sunday Times argued in It is wanted in the interests of morality and public decency; it is wanted for the protection of the prostitutes themselves; it is wanted because syphilis is becoming dangerously prevalent and because the only effective means of checking it is to put the women of the town under some restraint Davidson, , p.
Like the British legislation, the colonial laws provided for compulsory examination of prostitutes and their forcible detention in so-called lock hospitals if found to be suffering from a venereal disease. Unlike the British legislation, however, the colonial versions were not geographically specific but applied to women throughout the colony as well as in the ports.
The laws were obviously discriminatory, applying only to women and not to the men who must have infected them. While some politicians conceded the injustice and illogicality of this, none was prepared to extend the Act to cover men.
As the premier of Queensland, William Kidston, candidly admitted, 'In a Parliament, however, which was composed of 72 men, no seriously minded man would propose to introduce such an innovation' Evans, , p.
Not all colonial governments were so insensitive to the civil rights of women. South Australia, for instance, prided itself on doing things differently from the former convict colonies, its Advocate General declaring that CD-style legislation was not in accordance 'with the sentiments of the Colony', representing as it did an infringement on the rights of women and official condoning of immorality Horan, , p.
Western Australian legislators were likewise sensitive to lobbying from religious, feminist and civil rights groups and deleted sections from the Health Act which provided for compulsory notification and treatment of venereal disease, fearing that this was a version of the CD Act Davidson, , pp.
Those colonies which did introduce and enforce the CD Acts were arguably influenced by their heritage of female convictism. As Kay Daniels says of Tasmania, the upper classes. Decades during which the mere accusation that a woman was a whore had been sufficient to deny her protection and civil rights had no doubt blunted colonial sensibilities and left a society more anxious than most to draw a dividing line between the prostitute and the 'respectable' woman Daniels, , p.
The issue of the control of venereal disease raises important questions about not just the legislation on a colony's statute books but also the ways in which it was administered. Different emphasis and interpretation could result in radically different implementation of essentially similar laws, with significantly different consequences for individual sex workers.
In Queensland, for instance, the Act for the Suppression of Contagious Diseases of was not applied universally but only to particular centres of population, largely because of the cost, the limited facilities and the fear of a backlash of organised protest Evans, , p.
However, within the gazetted areas women who found their names on the police list were subject to regular medical examinations and if diagnosed as having syphilis or gonorrhoea were incarcerated in special lock hospitals for periods of from three to six months. Inmates in these hospitals were treated more like prisoners than patients, subject to strict rules and regulations in the hope that such discipline would bring them 'to a sense of their past degradation' Evans, , p.
Recalcitrant patients could be placed in solitary confinement, placed on a diet of bread and water or even removed to the lock-up and visitors were not permitted.
Medical treatment was largely ineffective, given that there was no effective cure until the introduction of Salvarsan treatment in gave relief to some victims of the disease. More effective treatment was not available until the use of penicillin from the s. For Queensland prostitutes, the legislation was enormously intrusive, forcing them to keep on the move to avoid police notice or to relocate outside the gazetted areas.
Once caught in the web of official notice life could become a tedious series of imprisonments in the dreaded lock hospital. By contrast to the Queensland situation the Victorian contagious diseases legislation, embodied in the Act for the Conservation of Public Health of , was never brought into operation. According to Meg Arnot , pp. But, this did not mean that diseased prostitutes were free from official harassment. On the contrary, the Victorian police had ample flexibility under the vagrancy clauses of the Police Offences Act to cover this contingency.
A similar strategy was employed by the Western Australian police after the deletion of the compulsory VD clauses from the Health Bill Davidson, , pp.
Concerns about the spread of venereal disease became especially acute in times of war when authorities became alarmed at the effect on the fighting potential of the armed forces. In such circumstances, officials were prepared to take drastic action in the interests of national security. In Perth, for instance, several cases of syphilis amongst recruits at Blackboy Hill during late were attributed to prostitutes in Roe Street brothels. The police immediately instructed the Government Medical Officer, Dr Blanchard, to examine all the brothel inmates and report his findings.
Any women found to be diseased were prosecuted as vagrants. This initial inspection was followed by regular fortnightly checks, paid for at the cost of a guinea a visit by the prostitutes. The police and medical authorities had in effect introduced a system of regulation of the Roe Street inmates without any legislative sanction whatsoever. The Second World War saw even more drastic official harassment of professional sex workers and so-called 'good-time girls' who provided sex for servicemen on a less commercial basis.
Under the National Security Venereal Diseases and Contraceptives Regulations of September , the chief medical officer in each state was empowered to compel any person whom he had 'reasonable grounds' to suspect of suffering from a venereal infection to undergo a medical examination.
If found to be infected the person could be detained in a stipulated hospital or other 'suitable place'. Although men were also technically covered by these regulations, in practice it was women who were its main targets. The regulations were applied with special enthusiasm in Queensland, where large numbers of Allied troops were either based or passing through during the war. Queensland women designated as 'common prostitutes' were already subject to regular medical surveillance and compulsory confinement and treatment under the Public Health Act; the National Security Regulations extended this medical surveillance to the rest of the female population.
Information given by infected troops was used as the basis to 'contact and dispose of' any woman allegedly suffering from venereal disease Saunders and Taylor, , pp. Other aspects of the increasing State intervention in the prostitution industry had serious consequences for sex workers.
Changes to the vagrancy laws across Australia in the early s made living off the proceeds of prostitution an offence under the various Police Offences Acts. The targets of these laws were 'bludgers' or pimps, men constructed in the popular imagination as villains who debauched and enslaved innocent girls and young women, then lived off their immoral earnings.
Concern about this practice was fuelled by sensationalist reports in the London press of an international 'white slave traffic' which lured innocent young girls to a life of shame in Continental and Oriental brothels. Similar reports appeared in the press across the English-speaking world throughout the s and s, prompting legislation to deal with the organisers of this 'trade in human flesh'.
In most cases these stories had racist overtones, with the villains being portrayed as 'foreigners' of one sort or another, corrupting the wholesome morals of women of British origin and descent. Australia was no exception to this pattern. In Western Australia, for instance, the villains were usually French or Italian, with the occasional 'Afghan buck' thrown in for additional colour.
A few sensational cases involving Italians added fuel to these beliefs Davidson, , pp. Ironically, the police were rarely successful in apprehending and convicting 'white slavers', although there is certainly historical evidence of the existence of syndicates who traded in prostitutes, with or without the full knowledge and consent of the women concerned Davidson, Indeed, a deputation of concerned feminists who lobbied the Premiers' Conference in Melbourne regarding the international traffic in women and girls were refused admission and told that the premiers did not believe in the existence of such a trade Davidson, , p.
The men who became the targets of this legislation were generally less villainous types - the husbands and relatives of prostitutes who willingly contributed their earnings to the upkeep of people they lived with and loved. Very often, too, the 'bludger' of popular imagination was in reality a necessary assistant to the prostitute, providing protection against violent clients and a less obvious way of soliciting custom.
The legislation rebounded on these women, who could no longer support family members or use their help without fearing the prosecution of their menfolk Golder and Allen, ; Arnot, , p. One can see this attack on 'bludgers' as the most extreme form of a move throughout Australian society from the late nineteenth century to sharpen the definition of men as breadwinners and women as dependents.
All these State interventions in combination had profound effects on the ways in which prostitution could be practised in twentieth century Australia.