‘Rebecca Jennings…offers a nuanced understanding of Sydney’s lesbian history from the 1930s to the late 1970s, one that remains alert to the interconnections between gender and sexuality in shaping lesbian history.’ Sylvia Martin, Australian Book Review
‘Elegantly written, Unnamed Desires is theoretically sophisticated without resorting to jargon … [Jennings] tells stories of sadness and persecution, but also accounts of bravery, ingenuity and fun … It is a very welcome and important addition to the scholarship on sexuality in Australian history.’ Jill Julius Matthews
‘a welcome addition to the histories of women, of feminism, and of sexuality, bringing to light the voices of those women who lives have, for so long, been shaped by silence.’ Chelsea Barnett, Lilith: A Feminist History Journal, 22:2016
‘This is a rich and illuminating history. It deserves to be widely read.’ Graham Willett, The Journal of the History of Sexuality
Shortlisted, NSW Premier’s History Awards 2016
The first in-depth study of female same-sex desire in twentieth-century Australia, Unnamed Desires explores the compelling stories of ordinary women who struggled to build lives and express their love for other women in a hostile society. Focusing on Sydney and country NSW in the mid-twentieth-century (1930-1978), it traces the development of lesbian culture, identities and material spaces from the interwar period to the first Mardi Gras. Drawing on major oral history interviews, conducted by the author, and archival research, this book offers fascinating new insights into the social and cultural history of mid-twentieth-century NSW.