Community Surveillance and Bureaucratic Control of Women Teachers: The Case of Agnes Wrigley 1893-1894
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/1330
Presented to the Australia-New Zealand History of Education Society (Western Australia Branch), 21 May 2002, Perth, Australia. In 1894 Agnes Wrigley, the Head teacher of Fairburn Road District School in northern New Zealand, was dismissed by the local school committee. Reasons for this dismissal were predicated on unsubstantiated claims of incompetence and immoral conduct. The direct concern of the school board was not the competence of Agnes Wrigley as a classroom teacher but her perceived incompetence as a woman and a Head teacher. As a single woman teacher in a rural and remote community Agnes was treated with deep suspicion and as the case of Wrigley v. Fisher will show, the local community simultaneously offered public support to Agnes and colluded in the surveillance of her private activities. Described as a ‘broken flower’, Agnes was subjected to the bureaucratic control of the state that sought to discipline, exclude and exploit her professional work as a teacher and her private (and gendered) position as a citizen in a rural and remote community.