Golfields: Women & Children

By Queenie

Introduction

There were many things that happened on the goldfields with women ant children. Some women brought their children to visit their husband and some would just do chores around there homes. Their children weren't educated at sometimes until later when they built schools. I will be talking about the education of children, the jobs of women and their health.

Education

Not all children in the 1850's had proper education. Sometimes it was because there parents didn't speak English. Other reasons were because there parents were too busy doing household things or they were working in the goldfields. However, there were some educated people in the goldfields. These people would educate others for example children. Some of these classes would be held in small tents but most classes were held under a shady tree. After a while a group of religious people came up with schools. Schools weren't set up by the government at new goldfield centers. They only did that if there was enough children that would go to the school. This is because they wanted to make the cost worthwhile. Teachers at these schools were either young or untrained. One of the youngest teachers was at the age of 14!

Health

It was hard living in 1851. It was also hard to live without getting ill. Many women who gave birth had assistance from many other women. Most women who fell pregnant died after birth. They died of many illnesses such as whooping cough, measles and many more. Not only women were suffering, it was also the children and men who fell ill. More than 200 children died on the goldfields from lack of hygiene and they got deadly viruses from drinking dirty water.

Roles and Responsibilities

There were many different things that women would have done. Some washed, some cleaned and some danced and sang for the diggers while they were mining. Back in the 1850's, there weren't many women. A small amount of women were diggers but most stayed home to look after children or to do household things such as cleaning or making sure no one breaks in.