Women & Children on the Goldfields

By Aida

Introduction

In the early 1850's there were not many women in the goldfields. Many years later it was more accepted and more women came to the goldfields. Some helped with their husbands to dig but most of them were shop keepers, entertained their husbands and stayed with their children.
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Roles and Responsibilities

A woman's role was to clean and wash their husbands clothes and their own clothes.Women also entertained their husband by dancing. If the miners or husbands liked the dancing they would throw small nuggets of gold. Some women if they were lucky to have enough money they would own a shop, women also cooked for their children and husbands.
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*A woman washing clothes in a bucket outside.

Children On The Goldfields

It was very hard for the children on the goldfields. Children were expected to do chores for their parents. Chores included minding the younger children, gathering fire wood, washing clothes, fetching water from the creek, cooking and taking care of horses. Some children also went gold panning and rocking the cradle whilst the older children shoveled the clay and gravel into the cradle.
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Health

On the goldfields health was such a terrible thing, illness's and diseases were really common to people. Women didn't have doctors with them when they had a baby so other women helped them with the delivery of the baby. The doctors were to busy to be with them because they were helping the people who were dying with diseases. Children's health was harsh. Statistically children were dying more than the women and men on the goldfields.This is because of fever and drinking foul water from the dirty creeks. When the children drank the water they got a bad stomach bug and had to go to the toilet. Medicines back then were not proven to work. If the medicines didn't work the person who took it would likely die.
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Children and Education

Many children did not attend school on the goldfields the children who did attend school would go only for a few years. Children moved a lot because their parents moved to richer goldfields. Also there was a lack of schooling because there were no schools built.The children were educated from out of tents the roof was made from a canvas material.Most of the children's parents did not know how to speak English and their parents didn't have a good education either. Education was not that important during the goldfields, the teachers were mostly untrained to teach. More boys went to school then girls but this is better because people believed that boys were more important.
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