Goldfields: Women & Children

by Manuella


For a women, living in the goldfields would be extremly difficult and exhausting.this was because of lonliness. Women would either be inside or watching the men dig. 95% of the women in the goldfields were married- the other 5% were either single or broken up.


Unlike now, children, similar to their parents, either had a harsh existence, where everyone had to work hard for the family to survive, or they had a privileged existence of the wealth. Children from the poorest levels of society were often placed in institutions, where they were taught how to be useful. Each day, children had to feed the hens and gather the eggs, milk the cow and bottle feed poddy lambs. Because their parents moved around a lot, looking for new and richer goldfields, children would have to change schools very often. It usually took a while before a school was established in a new area, so often there was no schooling at all. When not in school, children were expected to help their parents with household chores, such as taking care of the younger children, shopping, fetching water up from the creek, gathering firewood, washing clothes, cooking, or taking care of horses. Often, they would also be expected to help dig for gold at the diggings.


Many people in the goldfields usually became sick or died from disease, but a large majority of these people were children. The ones who died would be buried in pennyweight flats cemetery, also known as, pennyweight flats childrens cemetery. This is because more than 200 children filled up most of this cemetery. During the goldfields, medical service was extreamly rare and basicly useless

responsibilities of a woman in the goldfields

Most women usually stayed at home watching their children or doing chores, whilst men travelled and lived in many goldfields. Women had to cook, iron, and wash. They couldn't buy things, so they had to make the things from scratch. These included: bread, butter, jams, soap, and clothes for the family. A few years later, women and children usually visit their dads. However, there are always more women than children in the goldfields.