Some European women exercised autonomous power on the early Victorian goldfields demonstrating their gendered relations in the patriarchal colonial society that was operating. This chapter examines two marginal groups of women through the themes of marriage, family and the law arguing that some challenged orthodoxies, negotiated terms, faced adversities, and exercised agency in a goldfields landscape which was orientated to males.
In a period of global tension, the establishment of Freemasonry in Australia was tenuous. As a penal colony, political prisoners as well as a criminal element settled in the new colony. So, on 14 May 1803, when Irish convict Henry Browne Hayes attempted to hold a Freemasonic Lodge meeting in Port Jackson (Sydney), all Masons present were arrested and Hayes sentenced to 'hard labour at the New Settlement to formed at Van Diemen's Land'.