A Woman's Day In the Gold Fields

4) Wash House
23) Settlers Hut Interior

Women worked from daylight to dark.

A typical day for a woman in an Australian pioneer village in the 1850s gold rush days, would be to rise at or before dawn and re-stoke the fire, using bellows to coax embers back to life.

Dough that had been set to rise the night before would be kneaded again, then baked in the oven (if there was one in the settlers hut). Water would be set to boil and tea mashed.

Breakfast was often rolled oats porridge. Once everyone was up, the sleeping rolls would be stored away and the chamber pot (guzzunder) emptied. The cow had to be milked, cream separated and butter churned.

Depending on the day, the routine would then be to do the weekly wash, the ironing, grinding of grain, working in the veggie patch and so on till dark. In-between preparing the pot luck stew, the women would do mending, darning, knitting, sewing, or crochet or spin.

In the evenings, the family might have one literate member read to the others, often out of the bible. Sing-a-longs were popular entertainment and musical instruments were treasured.

See if you can pick out the tools in the settlers hut and wash house (click on images for a larger view).

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