Goldfields: Women and Children

By Ricky


Life for women was harsh on the goldfields. In 1854, there were 4,023 women compared to 12,660 men at the Ballarat goldfields. There was also 5% of women who were single and 95% who were married. Mostly men were the ones mining while women were taking care of the house.

Roles and Responsibilities of Women in the Goldfields

Most women weren't digging for gold. They spent most of their time at home with their children while their husbands would go to the golfields and find gold. Some women would work at a shop on the goldifelds. They would also look after the house. Only some women would go and dig for gold and still there was no luck.


In the early days of education churches and houses were used as school. Many teachers weren't able to teach the children because they came from other countries or didn't speak much english. Children also had to moves schools alot because their parents wanted go to another place to find gold. Eventually proper schools were built but most of them were delayed because golfields were popping up all over the place. Most children would forget what they have learnt or their class had changed subjects quickly.

Women's health

Some women had illnesses such as diptheria, whooping coughs, measles and typhoid. These happened to many other women who had those diseases. When a women had to give birth to a baby, they were assisted by other women. There was only a little bit of medical assistants. Sadly many women died while giving birth.

Children's health

Many children were also dying on the goldfields due to the bad muddy waters that they had to drink. Their bodies were burried in cemetries. Others just died of the illnesses and diseases such as measles. Over 200 children died. The conditions on the goldfields were very very poor and there was only a bit of clean water.