Life in The Goldfields

Different Types of Mining and their Tools

Surface Mining - using shovels, picks, pans, sluice boxes, cradles, rifle boxes and stakes.

Hydraulic Mining - Hosing the pay dirt with great force so it would break up or away from it's cliff-face and be carried down into the sluices below.

Buried Alluvial Deposits - using buckets, windlasses and whims to bring to surface.

Reef Mining - pneumatic driven rock drills and boring machines had to be used.

The Chinese on the Goldfields

Almost all the Chinese who came to Australia, came as sojourners with the intention of returning home to their families laden with riches.The Chinese were criticised for not investing their gold in Australia, but stashing it away to take home to China. The Chinese came not for their own sake but because they felt compelled to seek a better future for their families who remained at home in China.

The Chinese usually worked as a group, instead of mixing with the general population of the gold fields.

Women in the Goldfields

Most men left their wives at home as the harsh life of the goldfields was considered to rough for a respectable woman. As early as 1851 there were women digging alongside their husbands. Women would face childbirth there without medical assistance and infections were common.

Life on the Goldfields

They lived in tents in dusty and miserable places. There wasn't much to eat, Damper being the official bread and whatever meat they could get was tough. Many men were not suited to this hard life as it was dirty and uncivilised. Dysentry and eye problems plagued the miners.