This is the remarkable story of an extraordinary life.
Winifred Steger was born in England in 1882. To break the cycle of poverty her father takes part in a land grab and books a passage for his family to head for Australia, work the land and strike it rich.
Arriving in Australia, Winifred and her father find that their land grant is covered with a prison of prickly pear and is worthless. Faced again with poverty, endless backbreaking work and isolation in an unfamiliar country, Winifred's father spirals into depression and alcoholism, leaving Winifred emotionally alone.
From skivvy in a bawdy house to a loveless marriage, Winifred battles almost insurmountable odds to maintain her dignity and sanity, finding solace as she creates fictitious scenarios to ease her hardship.
At the age of twenty-six, she is forced to abandon her four small children. Finding work in a hotel bar, she meets and falls in love with an Indian man, Ali, who treats Winifred with respect and decency. She bears him three children and the small family travels to outback Australia where they run a camel line. A new phase begins in Winifred's life, taking her to places and meeting people she has only ever dreamed of.
'The Washerwoman's Dream' is an epic story that could easily be the stuff of fiction. Hilarie Lindsay has meticulously researched and reconstructed Winifred's life through her memoirs, newspaper articles, short stories, letters and 14 unpublished novels. This is an account of the amazing life of a forgotten Australian writer and a woman with an indomitable spirit.
- Publication Date:
- 15 / 05 / 2002
- 149 x 230mm