Goldfields: Women & Children

by Tina


On the goldfields, thousands of men left their jobs and families to find their fortune and the women stayed home.In 1854 , there was 4,023 woman on the goldfields and 208 women were paid for their employment on the goldfields.Only 5% of woman were single and there were about 3,000 - 4,000 children in the Ballarat goldfields.
Children moved schools frequently because their parents move locations in search for gold. Moving to new locations also meant that schools were not established. Children had to wait for and 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 recieved on education, these children had to work on the goldfields panning for gold or performing duties such as cleaning and looking after horses.

Roles and Responsibilties of Women

Women in goldfields had many roles and responsibilties. When the men were in the goldfields looking for gold ,their wife would do the responsibilties like when they were home in their country.The wives would do the laundry,washing and other responsibilities round the tent.Some single women sang and dance for the miners,the miners would throw some gold they had found when they were mining.The miners wife may help them mine or pan for gold or some women would own a shop.

Women and Children's health

On the goldfields, women and children had been in terrible health.When women gave birth to a child they could die.The children died from diseases like dysentery and cholera , because of the lack of fresh water. The women and children on the goldfields started to drink muddy water in the goldfields.They also died because of their weaker immune in their body.