Catherine Horne

National Archives of Australia/Australian Historical Association postgraduate scholar, 2015–16

Topic: Modern voices ‒ Women’s speech on Australian radio, 1923‒66

Biographical note

Catherine Horne is a PhD candidate in the School of History at the Australian National University. Her thesis examines women’s speech on Australian radio during the mid-20th century. Her research interests are in feminist history, media history, and Australian culture and society during the 20th century. She is a member of the editorial collective of Lilith: A Feminist History Journal, and is also the editorial assistant for the National Centre of Biography’s journal Using Lives: Essays in Australian Biography and History.

Project summary

Catherine Horne will investigate women’s speech on Australian radio during its mid-20th century ‘golden age’ through a focus on specific women, including actors, announcers, social activists and politicians, and the programs on which they were heard.

Although historians of Australian speech, radio and modern womanhood have so far largely neglected this topic, a small number of scholars in the United States, Western Europe, and South America have examined the connection between women’s radio speech and public citizenship. This study will test the conclusions reached by these international scholars through a focus on the distinctiveness of the Australian experience. Compared with other regions, Australia had a different radio industry, particular experiences of women’s enfranchisement and political participation, and debates about speech.

Catherine Horne is interested in how radio influenced women’s experiences of speaking and attitudes to their voices over this period, and why women’s radio speech styles became a focus of broader debates over modern femininity and women’s public citizenship in Australia. Her hypothesis is that radio enabled the development of particular forms of modern public womanhood defined by speech and sound.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019