“For Nannie”? The controversial case of a Sinhalese “amah” in white Australia

The historical relationship that connects Australia and South Asia is one that we are just beginning to understand.[1] Our project brings a new dimension to that story by exploring the experiences of South Asian women who journeyed across the Indian Ocean and came to Australia as nursemaids to children. One such woman was Sinhalese amah,Continue reading ““For Nannie”? The controversial case of a Sinhalese “amah” in white Australia”

Thomassee: The first Australian ayah

Many of the stories of the travelling ayahs and amahs that we are learning about today concern those women who travelled between Asia and England during the period of the British Empire. As part of this project, however, we are looking for stories of women who travelled south from India and China, to Australia. TheseContinue reading “Thomassee: The first Australian ayah”

Chinese amahs in Britain and Australia

A range of historians and public history practitioners have brought to light the stories of travelling Indian ayahs in Britain. [1] Much less is known about the Chinese amahs that travelled with employer families to Britain. The stories of the Chinese amahs and Indian ayahs who travelled to Australia (even after the passing of theContinue reading “Chinese amahs in Britain and Australia”

Locating Ayahs in Transit: A Passage to Australia and other Parts of the World

As a social historian whose work focuses on domestic laborers in colonial India, I intend to unravel the story of Indian female domestic workers who travelled to Australia, directly or via England, and to other British colonies in the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. Today in India’s imagination, Australia chiefly looms large as a majorContinue reading “Locating Ayahs in Transit: A Passage to Australia and other Parts of the World”