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Part I 1 The Culture of Colonial Marriages Single mothers at court Husbands as defendants 17 Criticising male behaviours 20 2 Colonial Women's Labours: Family and Community Networks in a New Society 27 Family economies 35 Illness 43 Pregnancy 44 3 The 'Niggard Hand'? Poor Mothers and the Negotiation of Relief 47 Outdoor relief 49 Indoor relief 55 Women as inmates 65 4 Courting Men: Destitute Mothers, Magistrates and Police 74 The colonial courthouse 75 Vagrants and prostitutes 81 Part II 89 5 Public Voice, Private Charities 91 Female charity workers 91 Proposing change 103 6 Absent Fathers and Criminal Children: Deserted Wives and the Development of Welfare Policy 109 The colonial magistracy 109 Criminal children 117 SReuniting the Family on the Land 128 Deserted wives, the city and social order 131 Resolving contradiction 134