A desire to ensure queer Australian history is more readily accessible to all led Scrimshaw to write She and Her Pretty Friend – a joyous look at the history of lesbian and bisexual women in Australia – from convict times through suffrage and liberation to today.  

In 2019, Danielle Scrimshaw was undertaking her honours thesis. As a newly ‘out’ queer person, she started to explore Australia’s queer history but quickly discovered it was hard to find, let alone access, published literature in this space.  

Danielle Scrimshaw is a writer, historian and lighthouse enthusiast. Her 2019 essay ‘Be Gay, Do Crime: Or, the Ballad of Catherine and Ellen’ was shortlisted for the Deakin University Nonfiction Prize. Her thesis on queer women’s narratives in Australian history – or the lack thereof – was highly commended by the Australian Queer Archives. Last year she was a finalist for Forty South Magazine’s Van Diemen History Prize 2020-2021. She has been published in Voiceworks, Overland, Scum Mag and Archer Magazine. She and Her Pretty Friend is her first book.

From convict women in Tasmania to pastoralists in regional Victoria to the first female doctor in Brisbane and the owners of Melbourne’s first female-only gym, Scrimshaw delves into how these women have shaped others’ lives and enriched our history. Each chapter explores a different woman’s life – or period – to reflect on how we have interpreted queerness in the past, how queer history has been absent in educational settings and how we can work to change this.  

‘For centuries, there has been so little recorded about the lives of queer people. Only a fraction of that is dedicated to queer women, let alone queer women in so-called Australia. She and Her Pretty Friend do a wonderful job of uncovering these stories while conveying the collective frustration of queer women longing to see themselves represented in the narrative of history.’ Hannah McElhinney, Rainbow History Class

Throughout She and Her Pretty Friend, Scrimshaw winds her personal experiences within the chapters to create her queer history, highlighting the need to continue to explore these gaps in Australia’s history. Delightful and engaging, She and Her Pretty Friend celebrate the hidden history of Australian women who love women. 


Delightful and engaging, She and Her Pretty Friend celebrate the hidden history of Australian women who love women. 

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