Women mean business

Book Talk by Catherine Bishop

Discover the stories of 19th century business women in Oamaru and beyond. Come along to the talk and go in the draw to win a free book.

‘The greatest comefort to me is to get an honest living for my familey’. Boarding-house-keeper Susannah Wall’s words in 1845 echo the sentiments of many colonial women in New Zealand throughout the nineteenth century. Like Susannah, many of them ran small businesses, though not all were as concerned about the ‘honesty’ of the living they got.

In Oamaru, on the corner of Wansbeck and Tyne Streets stands the Northern Hotel, where the first publicans were Andrew and Matilda Baker. She had also been a draper in Dunedin. Matilda was just one of several businesswomen in Oamaru and beyond – including, next door, milliner ‘Mrs R.P. Whitmarsh’, whose marital status was not what it seemed.

In this talk Catherine Bishop, author of Women Mean Business: Colonial businesswomen in New Zealand (Otago University Press), explores the stories of some of New Zealand’s colonial entrepreneurs – the successful and the outright failures, the heart-warming and the tragic, the everyday and the scandalous.

Born and raised in Whanganui, Dr Catherine Bishop is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Macquarie University in Sydney. Her first book Minding Her Own Business: Colonial Businesswomen in Sydney (NewSouth Publishing, 2015) won the prestigious 2016 Ashurst Business Literature Prize. This is her second book.

Oamaru Public Library
23 October 2019 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm