ALICE CORNWELL was a geologist and business woman, plying her trade in a man's world on the goldfields. Known as "Madam Midas", Alice stepped up to run several mining companies, reviving them where her father had been failing.
From mining business women to controversial performers or house servants, Gold Museum curator Snjez Cosic said modern men and women could learn a lot from the feisty and fearless women on the goldfields.
Ms Cosic said these are stories that need to be shared and in a way to tap into a new audience.
Gold Museum is preparing an afternoon of dynamic speakers to tell the tales of women represented in Sovereign Hill Museums Association collection, bringing to life their often hidden or missing objects and stories.
We can all draw some connections to the women back then...and learn from the struggles of women in the pastSnjez Cosic, Sovereign Hill museums curator
"We can all draw some connections to the women back then, from women at work and women's equality, and learn from the struggles of women in the past and in what ways they came through," Ms Cosic said.
"They're all pretty strong stories and all offer great insight to women based on different positions in society to where she sat in society and based on her educational background.
"We're bringing it all together and in a punchy and fun way."
Flamboyant performer Lola Montez is one of the best-known women from the goldfields for her provocative shows. Her gold emu pin will be on show for the event.
But Ms Cosic said the stories like Madam Midas, whose striking portrait helps bring her to life, were also fierce.
There is also the dress worn by a servant. While her identity will likely forever remain a mystery, Ms Cosic said the servant dress could showcase a lot about working women who were looking after families on the goldfields, tending to their needs and houses. Sovereign Hill's costume department has delved into research based on the dress construction.
A montage of pioneer women hanging on display in the Gold Museum is Ms Cosic's favourite feisty story. Each women depicts the wife of a pioneer settler or prominent male citizen on the goldfields, their photos together made to showcase celebrated wives.
Each woman, referred to by her husband's name, played their own active role in the community or were business owners in their own right, often picking up the pieces when their husband had died.
When we looked into what these women had achieved it turned this into a really significant object.Snjez Cosic, Sovereign Hill museums curator
"When we looked into what these women had achieved it turned this into a really significant object," Ms Cosic said. "They each made their own contributions to business, economic and domestic life on the goldfields as well."
Feisty and Fearless, compared by passionate women's equality fighter Janelle Ryan, is at the Gold Museum on March 1. The event is in the lead-up to International Women's Day on March 8.
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