Colonial HERstory That Needs to be Told

Pop on your bonnet and meet some of Brisbane’s pre-eminent colonial women (5 stars)

Rosa Caroline Praed

Tuesday was a glorious day to take a stroll around the Brisbane CBD and to make it even more pleasant I was joined by Brisbane novelist Rosa Caroline Praed.  Born in 1851 (no, that’s not a typo), Praed was the colony’s first Australian-born novelist and, as she told me, based most of her work on what she overheard.

Meeting at the beautiful School of the Arts in Ann Street, a short stroll from Central Station, creator Natalie Cowling of Talk of the Town Storytelling Services arrived as Rosa Praed and led an informative, entertaining and edifying walk which included landmarks such as St Stephen’s Chapel, Old Government House and the City Botanical Gardens.

Meeting Emma Miller in King George Square

Rosa’s focus is Brisbane’s little-known women who led the way in their fields in a time when women were expected to marry, bear children and stay at home.  Like Rosa, these women rebelled against the norm and went on to become the pre-eminent surgeons, politicians, artists, activists, educators and scientists.

Rosa’s real goal is to highlight the HERstory of Brisbane, colonial and indigenous, and she succeeds.  After 20 years in Brisbane and more than a passing interest in local history, I was amazed by some of the accounts shared on this tour and Rosa has ignited a desire to learn more about the women who helped build Brisbane, Queensland and in some cases, Australia.

I highly recommend this tour, it is a 3-hour stroll but is conducted at a leisurely pace.  Bring water and wear comfy shoes, sunscreen, hat and umbrella just in case.

Remaining Anywhere Theatre Festival performances are Thu, 17 May; Sat, 19 May; Mon, 21 May; Tue, 22 May; Wed, 23 May; Thu, 24 May; Sat, 26 May 10am till 1pm.  Book at

Reviewed by Fiona G Davy – Anywhere Theatre Festival Reviewer