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Fri 18 Sep 2015, 12:10pm

Where: Victoria University of Wellington, Kelburn Parade, Kelburn, Wellington

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Listed by: MCH Admin

History Programme Seminar: Connecting homefronts and battlefronts: patriotic women travellers during the First World War

Date: 18 September 2015 Time: 12.10 pm
Venue: Old Kirk 406 (F L Wood Seminar Room)

This paper explores the role of New Zealand women travellers in mitigating the vast geographical distances and extended separations from kin which characterised most New Zealand families' experiences of the First World War.

It focuses on a set of middle and upper-class women who travelled overseas in wartime independently of the official war effort. These women would form the core personnel for a series of organisations set up to cater for the welfare of New Zealand troops overseas. Framing their work in quasi-familial language as surrogate kin to the soldiers in their care, these women's presence overseas, and links back to New Zealand-based patriotic organisations, would prove crucial to the war-time flow of information, goods, and funds between fronts.

Homefronts and battlefronts have often been treated by historians of the First World War as separate and even polarised domains of war. Attention to war-time mobility – the movement of people, information, funds and goods between fronts – can reveal the ways in which the boundaries between home and front could be blurred and even overcome. The larger objective to show how family – as a biological unit and as symbolic of a wider category of affective relationships – came to shape the war experience itself.

Rachel Patrick completed her PhD, entitled 'An Unbroken Connection? New Zealand families, duty, and the First World War' in the History Programme at Victoria University of Wellington in 2014. She works as an historian in the report-writing unit of the Waitangi Tribunal.

For more information contact: Professor Charlotte Macdonald; Dr Giacomo Lichtner (; 04 463 6761 -; 04 463 6756).

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