Woman Kingston, Beverley Rhonda (1941 - )

12 September 1941
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Written by Susan Foley and Charles Sowerwine, The University of Melbourne

Born 12 September 1941 in Sydney, Beverley Kingston was raised in the north Queensland sugar region, where her father was Manager of Commonwealth Bank branches in such towns as Gordonvale and Ingham. While her father was stationed at Stanthorpe (Queensland), she boarded at Presbyterian Girls' College, Warwick. She then studied at the University of Queensland, completing her BA Hons with first-class Honours in 1963. She obtained her PhD from Monash University in 1968 for her thesis, Land legislation and administration in Queensland, 1859-1876. In 1969, she began teaching at the University of New South Wales, where she remained until her retirement in 1999. She first became known for her pioneering study, My wife, my daughter, and poor Mary Ann: women and work in Australia (1975), which directed attention toward domestic work as an experience which the great majority of women shared. Twenty years later, a major colloquium recognised this work as one of the 'four key texts' of Australian women's history. (The others, which appeared at the same time, were Miriam Dixson's The Real Matilda, Edna Ryan and Anne Conlon's Gentle Invaders: Australian Women at Work, 1788-1974, and Anne Summers' Damned Whores and God's Police: The Colonization of Women in Australia.).

In 1977, Beverley Kingston published The World moves slowly: a documentary history of Australian women. Her great work is the third volume of the bicentennial Oxford History of Australia: 1860-1900: Glad Confident Morning (1988). She reached an international audience with publication of Les femmes dans l'histoire australienne du X1Xe siècle [Women in 19th-Century Australian History]', in the leading French journal Le Mouvement Social (1994). In 1994, she also published a pioneering history of consumption: Basket, bag and trolley: a history of shopping in Australia and was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and President of the New South Wales Working Party of the Australian Dictionary of Biography, of which she had been a member since 1972. Her most recent works include A History of New South Wales (2006) and Pearl Beach & Progress: the story of a community and an ideal 1929-2009 (2009). In 2011, the History Council of NSW awarded Beverley Kingston its Annual History Citation.

Published Resources

Book Sections

  • Wilde, W. H.; Hooton, Joy W., and Andrews, B. G, 'Kingston, Beverley', in The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature, 2nd edn, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, Victoria, 1994. Details

Edited Books

  • Who's Who in Australia, Crown Content, Melbourne, Victoria, 1927 - 2013. Details

Journal Articles

  • Kingston, Beverley, 'My adventures in Queensland History', The Journal of Australian Studies, vol. 69, 2001, pp. 37 - 48. Details
  • Magarey Susan, 'What is happening to women's history in Australia at the beginning of the third millennium?', Women’s History Review, vol. 16, no. 1, 2007, pp. 1-18. Details

Online Resources

See also