This article briefly examines the ideology of motherhood in the small country town of Camden, NSW.
Around the turn of the century in 1900, a direct link was made between infant welfare, motherhood, patriotism and nationalism. Motherhood and mothering were expressed in terms of patriotism and a national priority. All were driven by European exceptionalism, expressed in Australia as the White Australia policy.
In Camden, the ideology of motherhood expressed itself in the foundation of the St John’s Mothers’ Union in 1900, which saw mothers as an integral part of women’s service role to the British Empire. That role was extended to the Red Cross in 1914 and the Country Women’s Association in 1930.