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Family as a Value in Australia (From the Earliest Settlements to Early XXth Century)

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The authors of the publication:
Romanenko Olena
Bibliographic description:
Romanenko, O. (2021) Family as a Value in Australia (From the Earliest Settlements to Early XXth Century). Folk Art and Ethnology, 1 (389), 79–87.


Romanenko Olena

 a Ph.D. in Political Sciences, a junior research fellow at Global and Civilizational Processes Department of the State Establishement Institute of World History of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine


Family as a Value in Australia
(From the Earliest Settlements to Early XXth Century) 


The history of the Australian continent and European colonists there is of interest for Ukrainian and foreign researchers. Among Australian scholars, major scientific main research is focused on histories of separate families (including preserved documents on Aboriginals, families of the earliest settlers, or the fates of individuals one way or another related to the phenomenon of family in Australia). The later studies embrace the families of Displaced Persons and settlers from Central-Eastern Europe. Some articles deal with the formation of a new type of family, as well as of the concept of family and home upon the 1950s.

This paper reviews the role of women in an Australian family, interprets the concept of family, and outlines the changes that have occurred in the attitude towards children on the eve of the First World War.

In our opinion, determining the role played by women in the early stages of a new colony formation and later – in the first decades of the newly established Australian Union, – is an interesting study in terms of interethnic relations, national policy, and harmonization of social processes and cultural development. After all, a family is the basis of society, the primary source of knowledge and skills, which a person transfers to communication with the outside world. Therefore, the purpose of the article is to determine what the family life of the earliest Australian colonists was. The following tasks arise from the purpose:

  • to consider the position of women in the Australian society at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries;
  • to determine what views the Australians had on parenting, and how they involved children in family life;
  • to outline the place and opportunities for women to get the paid work;
  • and to examine how new medical inventions and the emergence of new medical specialties have affected attitudes towards women and children.

From the early 20th century to World War I, the institution of family in Australia had significantly changed. From the earliest settlers, a family, although not always governed by church law, was an important asset in Australia. The lack of women and the uneven gender balance in society have contributed to the respect for women and their opportunities to improve their financial and social situations through marriage or the civil family. Since the 1920s, not only a family but also a child has become a value, and new specializations of physicians have appeared to help parents in treatment and upbringing of children. The fewer children needed to be raised were offset by the greater pressure on the responsibilities of parents, especially mothers. The fact that the number of family members had changed has led to a new search for a family’s place in the system of social relations.



Australia, colonists, immigration, family, children.



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