'The epic true story of the indomitable Winifred Steger and her extraordinary life in 19th century outback Australia.
'Winifred Steger travelled to Australia with her father in the 1880s when he took up a land grant in north Queensland. The grant proved to be worthless, and faced with poverty, endless backbreaking work and isolation, Winifred's father spiralled into depression and alcoholism.
'Left to fend for herself, Winifred battled insurmountable odds to maintain her dignity and sanity, finding solace in writing to ease her hardship. Fleeing an abusive marriage also meant the heartbreak of abandoning her four children – but then miraculously she found love with an Indian trader, Ali. Together with their children, they moved to outback Australia where they ran a camel line. A new phase began in Winifred's life, taking her to places she had only ever dreamed of.
'The Washerwoman's Dream is the story of a remarkable woman with a tenacious spirit, and is now an enduring Australian classic. Pieced together by Hilarie Lindsay from Winifred’s memoirs, short stories, letters and unpublished novels, this is an account of the amazing life of a forgotten Australian writer.' (Publication summary)
Author's note: On 1 November 1929, the Register (South Australia) published 'A Page from Winifred's Indian Diary'. It is probable that Winifred Steger kept a diary at other times but, if so, I did not have access to it. There were no diaries among the Steger papers in the Mortlock Library.
The spelling of Arabic words in English is approximate. There is no one correct spelling universally accepted by all official sources. I have tried to use the spelling most familiar to English speaking readers.
Foreign language words not listed in the Macquarie Dictionary (Third Edition) have been printed in italics, and definitions are provided in the Glossary at the back of the book.