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A Totally Different Kind of Chick Flick
Imagine, if you will, that the year is 1789 and a ship filled with women of dubious repute has set sail from England for the wild and dangerous Australia. The ship, romantically named The Lady Juliana, is carrying 225 spirited young women, many of them prostitutes, to meet their future husbands. While this story may sound like the beginning of a paperback bodice ripper it is actually a fascinating titbit of Australian history.
More than 200 years ago the Sydney Cove colony was struggling to survive. With dwindling supplies and low moral on his mind, Governor Phillip penned a letter to the colonial administrator, Evan Nepean, detailing his colony's need for more supplies. He also stated that the arrival of more women to the colony was "absolutely necessary". Nepean responded enthusiastically. After a five month long search throughout the prisons of Briton, the best candidates were chosen and transported on an arduous 309 day journey to the new colony.
The story of the women aboard The Lady Juliana, as told by director Mark Lewis, is a riveting tale about the true mothers of Australia. By narrowing his primary focus to but three convicts, Lewis is better able to humanise historical figures and to challenge commonly believed fallacies regarding these much maligned female founders. Lewis questions the assertion that these women were either unintelligent victims or immoral felons. Instead, he paints them as rational opportunists who were tenacious, strong and entrepreneurial.
Follow the journey of three modern day Australian women on a quest to learn more about their convict heritage. Watch as they travel back in time for an emotional look at the circumstances that brought their feisty forebears from Georgian England to the yet untamed Australia. Finally, delight in the details when the convicts startling contributions are revealed.
Come see The Floating Brothel on Thursday August 6th and find out what became of sly Anne Marsh, gutsy Rachel Hoddy and eleven year old Mary Wade. The film will be presented at 12:30 by Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts at its Mitchell Theatre. The screening is free to the public.