Women & Children on the Goldfields

By Aditya


In 1854 there were 4023 women on the Ballarat goldfields compared to the men of about 12500. 5% of the women were single. As the years past more and more women came. Also more women got maried.

Many children came with their parents but more children were born on the goldfields.

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Life on the goldfields was very harsh and health was poor. Most children helped find gold but this got them sick because they didnt get lots of rest. Sometimes children got hurt by the heavy equipment that they tried to picked up. Children got sick very often and there wasn't many medicines available to heal children. Children were definately a source of labour.

Health for women was very hard. Their life was harsh because when they gave birth they didn't have hospitals like these days and their only help to give birth was other women on the fields. IT was very usual that after a women gave birth she would get a bad sickness and die.


Often children didn't have an education. Education was a problem for all children because their parents kept on moving to richer goldfields.Sometimes children didn't even go to school because it took a long time to build schools in newer goldfields.

Roles and Responsibilities

The responsibilities for a lady was mostly to stay home with the children and cook, clean and wash the clothes.They had to prepare lunch before their husbands came home. Some women had a role like dancing for male diggers and collecting gold nuggets. Women made food like porridge and bread. Also some women helped there husbands on the goldfields or they were shopkeepers to earn more money. They sold bread, gas and tinned food.

Children had a responsibility of helping their mums clean the house. Girls had roles to help their mum sew clothes and boys had to help in the backyard or the farm if they had one.


Woman entrertained men by dancing. The woman were paid by men who threw golden nuggets at them while they were dancing even children were entertained by this. Usually it was at night when the women were dancing. When the women were dancing, men were often drunk.
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