Women & Children on the Goldfields

By Belinda


In 1854 there were approximately 4000 women on the goldfields in Ballarat compared to about 12500 men. Most of these women were married and travelled to the goldfields to support their husbands.
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Roles and Responsibilities

Some women were shopkeepers on the goldfields. George Glendinning decided to seek his fortune on the goldfields of Ballarat. He brought his wife Martha Glendinning with him. Suddenly he left Martha in Melbourne. So Martha and her sister made the 95 mile trek to Ballarat. When they arrived at the goldfields, they decided to open a shop. They sold blankets, flour, sugar, jam, bottled fruit, candles and other necessities.
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Back on the goldfields lots of people got sick. Some women died after they gave birth to a child. Other people around the goldfields got diptheria, whooping cough,measles,typhoid and scarlet fever. Back in the goldfields medicines didn't actually work as much. Some childrens got sick as well.There is only one doctor but a huge amount of people on the goldfields, so it's hard for the doctor to help them.


Most children didn't get an education. Often there was no schooling because there was no school built. Schools were built from tents. The roof was made from a canvas material.Children who did go to schools would usually only go for a few years. Children also move schools often because their parents kept moving to richer goldfields.Education wasn't important during the goldrush and teachers were generally untrained. More boys went to school than girls as it was believed they were more important.
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