Women & Children on the Goldfields

By: Amelia

Introduction

Some women came with their husband on to the goldfields to look after the men while they worked. There weren't a lot of women on the goldfields in the early discovery of gold around 1850, but later on more women came after the improvement in accommodation.


Children came with their mothers while they were at work with their dads. There were fewer children then women on the goldfields.

Roles and Responsibilities adults

Some of the women on the goldfields were entertainers for the men. The stuff they would put on for them were stuff from singing and dancing to acting out a play. Their payment was nuggets of gold that were no bigger than my fingernail but were just enought to get them through the week.


Opening a shop was another thing women did. A women named Ellen Craig says that if you do not know how to open a shop you should just STAY AT HOME. But many of the women were able to open a shop and became very successful on the way, with a fair bit of money. Most of the women sole illegal grog which in this day is known as alcohol.

Roles and Responsibilities kids

Most of the children were not able to go to school due to lack of money, teacher and how far it was to get to there school. So their parents told them to look after the hut and horses so they wouldn't be stolen by bushrangers. If the mum was at the shop she opened or was helping her husband find gold it was up to the kids to clean and dust the house.

When the children were old enough they had to help their fathers search for gold in mine shafts.

Health

Back in the 1800's on the goldfields when women were giving birth there were not many doctors available so women had to have their husbands or friends help them give birth. When a doctor was available most of them would look after the male first before the lady because the male has the money to pay the doctor but the femalemost likely does not have the money to pay them.


Many of the children died of whooping cough, measles and dehydration some of them even died on the toilet. After the amount of children that died they named a cemetery with the name children in it, it was called Pennyweight Flat Children's Cemetery. The children were limited to flour and meat which made them quite sick, which also led to them dying.


Many of the Doctors were also Dentists and Barbers.

Education

During the time of the goldfields there was very little money so many children were unable to go to school and the few children that did go to school were moving from school to school. Often there weren't schools built if there was one built it would be very small or tents. Not many people wanted a job as a teacher so there were very few of them. One school had only one teacher for at least 50 kids. The seating areas were arranged by girls up the front and boys at the back. When the students had to write down stuff they wrote on wooden slates with a metal pencil. If a kid spelled a word wrong they would get hit with a long, thin, hard stick called a cane.