A maid among men

It’s 1968 and 19-year-old Dimity Pettifer, a young Arts undergraduate at Melbourne University, has left home for the first time and gone to live at the all-men’s Queen’s College as a student maid.
The world is at her feet and a realm of possibilities open before her.
A Maid Among Men is a fascinating new offering by Castlemaine author Dimity Pettifer. The book draws on her extensive diaries chronicling her time and experiences at the college, where she was among just seven young women boarding in a school of 200 men.
The young ‘maids’ received free board and tuition in exchange for waitressing in the dining halls of a night.
The Castlemaine writer said it was a story 52 years in the making.
“I’ve always wanted to adapt my seven notebooks from the time into a story but I am one of those people who is always on the go and I never had the time. Two years ago, while recovering from surgery, the opportunity presented itself and I finally sat down at the laptop!”
Dimity said the book was a must read for those who attended the college at the time. Some of her fellow alumni included Red Symons and Peter Hollingworth.
“The Melbourne launch was very well received and many of my old school friends snapped up a copy,” she said.
“I’ve had some great feedback – one former classmate in particular dubbing it a ‘hilarious read’.”
Dimity said the book also acted as a fascinating time capsule both for those who lived through those times, but also those who came after.
“It’s a real snapshot of the very conservative attitudes and the antics of the young people at that time.
“One such example is one of our outings to ‘find some gays’.
“I cringe now. I’ve got lots of LGBTQI friends.”
As one of just seven girls on the all-male campus Dimity had men literally lining up at her door!
“Academically it was a disaster! But socially it was incredible. It was very overwhelming as I had never experienced attention like that!” Dimity said.
“But I was quite naïve at the time. There is a lot of kissing!”
You can pick up a copy of A Maid Among Men at Stoneman’s Bookroom in Castlemaine or contact Dimity direct on 0413 143 104.

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