Convict Maids looks at female convicts transported from Britain and Ireland to New South Wales between 1826 and 1840. Deborah Oxley refutes the notion that these women were prostitutes and criminals, arguing that in fact they helped put the colony on its feet. Analyzing their backgrounds, Oxley finds that they were skilled, literate, young and healthy--qualities exploited by the new colony. Convict Maids draws on historical, economic and feminist theory, and is impressive for its extensive and original research.
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