Women & Children on the Goldfields

By Mrs. Pearce 5B


When the gold rush began many women stayed at home. The goldfields was no place for a lady, but by 1854 it was recorded that 4023 women were on the goldfields. This was still in minority to men who were recorded at 12,660. Most women came to join and support their husbands. Only 208 were in paid employment.

Children moved schools frequently because their parents moved locations in search for gold. Moving to new locations also meant that schools were not established. Children had to wait for an education because most parents could not educate their own children when they had no education of their own. Many children did not speak english and could not read or write.

Some children received no education, these children had to work on the goldfields panning for gold or performing duties such as cleaning and looking after horses.

Roles and Responsibilities of Women

Women had many roles and responsibilities on the goldfields. Some women had the responsibility of looking after children whilst others dug with their husbands. Most women performed duties just like back home. They cooked, ironed, sewed, and made jams or butter to be sold.