Book, 'The Zealandia Geography'; James Horsburgh; XAH.C.900




Book, 'The Zealandia Geography'

About this object

This geography text book belonged to Muriel Kerr Taylor who used during it her fifth year at primary school. As a girl, Muriel attended Mount Albert School and later went on to attend Auckland Girls’ High School. There, she studied subjects like arithmetic, sewing, singing, French, Latin, and drawing, as well as other skills required for running a household. (1)

During the 19th century, educating girls was seen by many parents to be fruitless. This was because women were expected to marry, have children, and run a household, all of which did not need formal education. It was common for girls to attend primary school in order to obtain a basic knowledge of reading, writing, and maths, but they were less likely to attend secondary school. (2)

Because Muriel came from a well-off family, she received a higher education than most other girls of her era. However, this still did not mean that Muriel was able to embark upon a career. Once she completed high school, Muriel stayed at home and assisted in the daily running of the family household. Despite the expectations that young women would marry and become mothers, Muriel never did so, and lived with her two older sisters at Alberton until her death in the 1970s.

(1) Jan Harris, ‘Alberton and Its Family,’ 1999
(2) Anne Else, ‘Gender Inequalities – Education,’ Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, URL:, accessed 6 May 2014

For more information about the Kerr Taylor family and Alberton, which is cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, visit our website.


James Horsburgh

Maker Role


Place Made

Dunedin, New Zealand

Medium and Materials



18 x 12 cm

Credit Line

Collection of Alberton, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

This object is from
Alberton   Alberton

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