Monday, August 23, 2010

Disguised as a boy

Jane Wilkson aka Jane New

Was Jane our first woman's libber?

Jane was a convict who was facing the death penalty when she escaped Australia on the 'Emma Kemp' in 1829 disguised as a boy. She is quite famous in Australian history. She must have made a welcome addition to the community of traders and timber-men at the Hokianga.

In 'Over the Trackless Sea' by Megan Hutching, published by HarperCollins publishers 2008, Eliza White, wife of Rev William White, said in her diary that Jane was fond of male company. She could not really say much more than that, the journal she was writing was meant for her parents to read, and they, like Eliza, were very strict Christians.

Her early story is here. Carol Baxter, An Irresistable Temptation: the true story of Jane New and a colonial scandal, published by Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 2006

Eliza White Journals, 16 Sept 1829 - 28 April 1836 MET 011, Series 2, Items 1,2,3,4 Kinder Library Theological College, Auckland.

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