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The Australian National University

Helen Moyle awarded PhD

Photo of a family group, 1870

Congratulations to Helen Moyle who has been admitted to the Doctor of Philosophy degree. Helen will receive her degree at the graduation ceremony on Tuesday 15 December.

Helen's PhD thesis on 'The fall of marital fertility in late 19th Century Tasmania.' was chaired by Zhongwei Zhao. The aim of her thesis was to examine the fall of marital fertility in Tasmania, the second settled Australian colony, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Both quantitative and qualitative data were used to investigate when marital fertility fell, how it fell and why it fell during this time. The data, representing reconstituted birth histories of couples marrying in Tasmania in 1860, 1870, 1880 and 1890, were analysed by using both bivariate and multivariate statistical methods. The qualitative analysis captures the historical context of Australia, and of Tasmania specifically, and utilises historical sources such as witness statements from the 1903 NSW Royal Commission into the Decline in the Birth Rate, articles and items from the late 19th and 20th century Tasmanian newspapers, stories about couples in the marriage cohorts and two diaries of upper class Tasmanian women. The quantitative and qualitative findings are examined in relation to theories of fertility decline. As the thesis provided evidence to support most of the prominent theories of fertility transition, the conclusion is that the fertility transition in Tasmania was an integral part of the broader social and economic change that occurred in this period of history.

Photo: Family group, 1870. State Library of South Australia, B 69055/4.

Updated: 21 October 2015/ Responsible Officer:  Head, School of Demography / Page Contact:  Website Administrator