The Awful Fascination of the Presbyterian Ladies' College: Reflections on the Reform of Female Education in Nineteenth Century Australia

Year: 1986

Author: Theobald, Marjorie

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Taking as its focus PLC (1875), this paper examines the nature of nineteenth-century reforms in the education of women, and their treatment in recent historiography. It is argued that undue concentration on the masculinization of female education has obscured the meaning and importance of an older form of female education .~hich in fact flourished well into the twentieth century. The development of PLC itself was not, as its historian claims, a linear progression from a blueprint for equality with men, but a process of negotiation between 'founding fathers', staff and clientele. This reassessment has implications for the education of women today.