Goldfields: Women and Children

By: Xavier

Introduction

Life on the goldfields was harsh for women. 95% of women were married. It would be hard for women to give birth because the quality of the nurses. Before there were barely any but in 1854 there were much more. 4023 more!!!

Roles and responsibilities of women in the goldfields

Many men would dig for gold every day 24/7 but there were never any women until later. Then they would bring their kids with them to the goldfields to help with their husbands to dig for gold. Most of the time women would stay home and wash the clothes and cook food. Woman would dance for there husbands which meant good luck. Men thought that women couldn't dig for gold because of the difficulty of doing so. Occasionally the women would look after children. Now that women are starting to come, kids are coming as well and by December 1852, 1200 kids were helping to find gold.

Education

Children's parents moved around alot for richer and better goldfields. This means they have to move to lots of schools. Parents can't teach their kids properly because most of the them came from the other side of the world.Europe that is. Some schools took long to be built so children eager to be educated couldn't. Parents would try to teach the kids if they were teached. But sadly, they weren't. Until proper official government schools were built, parents had to send their kids to churches or private individuals. There were also goldfield schools. The first one was just in a miniscule tent.

Health

Like I said, it was hard to give birth because of the bad quality of the nurses. Same with other sicknesses. There was very little things for treatment. Epidemics of illnesses such as diptheria, whopping cough, measles and typhoid passed on through the goldfields and many innocent people died. The reason for this is because of the lack of doctors and these doctor's skills were extremely low. Other ways that people died is because the muddy, dirty water. People, particularly children, have had showers in this foul water and have drunken it. They then built cemetries for kids. The most well-known one would be the Pennyweight Flats Children's Cemetery in Castlemaine. More than 200 children were buried there.