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 Inside this section: Working Women | Wanpa-rda | Anthology

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Anthology - ‘Songs of the Unsung Heroes’

This collection of stories and verse began with a writers' workshop, held in Barcaldine in 1999 as part of the Australian Workers Heritage Centre's Women in Australia’s Working History project. The writing project grew into the very first “Spirit of the Outback" Writing Competition, culminating in 2001 with over 300 writers from across the nation sharing their stories about Australia’s working women.

One of Australia's 'living national treasures' Margaret Whitlam launched the anthology in July 2002 as part of the opening celebrations of Stage One of the Working Women project.

There are a limited number of anthologies available from either our gift shop or by contacting the National Office. At just $19.95 plus postage they make a wonderful gift or keepsake. The sale of the anthologies helps us to continue our work in telling 'herstory'.

Here are just a few of the stories and poems featured in the anthology.

The Long Paddock

A haiku series by John Bird - a poet from the east coast of Australia.

Desert rockhole -
they sit down to listen
to her story

bush medicine -
he shows the spear wound
to aunty more (PDF 28k)

Pepper and Salt

Margaret Visciglio is a sixth generation Australian. Her story is based on the life of her great grandmother, Emma.

The storm clouds gather over the salt lake, darkening the sky. She almost thought she could feel the sweet sulphurous scent of rain in the back of her throat this time, but she knew it was only the memory of rains past. The clouds would pass over, leaving the land as thirsty as ever. They always did. The sheep herded in the pens that Robert had built, awaiting shearing and their expected release to the empty paddocks where the limestone rocks lay among the dust. more (PDF 19k)

The Spirit of Matilda

Constance Herbert was a great traveller, collector of stories and adventurer in her lifetime. Her trip to Barcaldine was sadly, one of her last big adventures. The inclusion of her piece, ‘The Spirit of Matilda’ is our tribute to this hard working woman who passed away in December 2002.

In memory of Mary Doherty, 1898 - 1987
The children all were growing up
(the last had just left school)
but money still was needed,
so to add some to the pool
she packed her swag – at fifty-six –
then headed for the track
and became a unique legend
in the shearing sheds outback more (PDF 17k)

Every Hour

Angela Murphy’s poem ‘Every Hour’ is an ode to working mothers and the many demands on their time and resources.

Her part-time job helps them survive
Keeps her driven mind alive
And demonstrates efficient talents
For a working-mother balance

When she leaves the paid-work scene,
Face of calm, like plasticine,
Hides the woman
Who dons the cap
Family organiser
Mental map - more (PDF 20k)