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Friday, 20 May 2016

Edith Peard: the making of a New Woman

The brass plaque Edith attached to the gate of the family home in Essendon.
Edith Fleetwood Peard was born in the northeast of Victoria in 1869. She began performing on piano for the public as a young girl at Glenrowan and later at Essendon when her family moved closer to 'Marvellous Melbourne' in 1890.  A decade of financial struggle to make a family living in the Depression of the 1890s followed, the family being largely sustained by the mother Charlotte Peard's poultry farm enterprise. 

Discussions on the New Woman were common in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  Women were setting aside notions of dependence on family and husband and seeking alternatives to marriage and children.  Edith obtained a scholarship 1902 to attend the Melbourne Conservatorium to qualify as a music teacher and forge her own path to personal economic independence.  By the end of the Great War two of her siblings had joined her in the family home at Essendon which was then used to sustain three businesses - Edith's music tuition, her brother Richard's carpentry business, and her sister Kate's dressmaking business.  You can read the full story of this hardworking and independent-minded family on my website, and share in the stories of the Glenrowan Tiger, the Kelly family, Plymouth Rocks and Leghorns, and get some of the flavour of the social set of Essendon in the early 20th century.  Click here to enjoy the full story.

Edith's brass plaque can be seen on the gate of the family home in Robb St, Essendon, circa 1906.


  1. Hi Lenore,
    I have included your blog in Interesting Blogs at Friday Fossicking

    Thank you, Chris

  2. Goodness, is that what Friday Fossicking is all about? I should have been paying more attention! What a mighty job you are doing. Thanks, Chris