The Woman of the Hill part 3.
Jenni enjoying a lighter moment from her stay
Our intrepid volunteer, Jenni Fithall, has completed her three days and two nights living in one of the cottages at Sovereign Hill Outdoor Museum. During her stay approximately 3800 visitors, including about 1500 school children came to Sovereign Hill. Many of these visitors and children visited Jenni in her cottage, so apart from living as a woman of the 1850s, Jenni also had to contend with a multitude of questions, photo opportunities and a constant stream of people walking through her little two room cottage. Continue reading
Food on the Goldfields
Butchers Shambles, by S. T. Gill.
Image: Gold Museum Collection 86_628
What types of foods were eaten during the gold rush? What utensils were used to cook with? What was life like for a cook in the gold rush? What things did they cook on? Was it hard for a cook? Did the children or men ever help the women? These were the questions sent to us by a year 9 girl recently. These are very good questions and we’re not sure we can answer all of them here. But evidence of the eating and cooking habits of diggers can be found in their letters home, diaries, newspapers and in some of the paintings and sketches from this time.
It is generally believed that the first diggers on the goldfields lived on Mutton and Damper (Old sheep and camp bread) at first. This could be true, as it would take time to grow vegetables, and at first diggers were not allowed to plant gardens. Sheep would have been plentiful, as Squatters had already established large holdings of land, with huge herds of sheep. This all makes sense, but are we being too general, and can we find evidence of this being the case? Continue reading
Days of my Youth
By Charles Napier Hemy Ra, ARA, RWS, 1841 – 1917
Edited by Peter McGann
Published by Viglione Press, Black Rock, Victoria 2009
This fantastic little book is a great way to personalise students experiences of our History, and provides an opportunity to debate the classification of a source as primary or secondary. Charles Napier Hemy was a renowned maritime artist of the late 19th century. At the age of 10 he accompanied his father on a trip around the world, culminating in a visit to the Goldfields of Victoria in 1851-2. In 1904 Charles sat down on board his yacht Van Der Meer in Falmouth harbour and wrote a journal of his recollections of his travels under sail, and adventures on the Goldfields. Continue reading
SBS Documentary Dirty Business - Learning about Mining in Australia’s past and present
Two episodes of the three-part series Dirty Business: How mining made Australia have screened on SBS, with the last instalment on this Sunday 20th. This documentary provides an engaging examination of the interconnected history of mining and Australia’s development as a nation. It places in context the impact of the gold rush(es) and explores the differences between 19th century and 20th/21st century mining. We highly recommend watching it these holidays.
Children’s Clothing during the Gold Rush
Children’s clothing would depend largely on the wealth of their parents. Those children fortunate enough to be born into wealthy families would have comfortable, high quality and fashionable clothing. Poor children would have to make do with basic clothes that would be worn until they fell apart. Social expectations of the time dictated that children, like men and women, should be modestly and neatly (as much as possible) attired at all times.
Clothing and fashion for men during the Gold Rush
Men were very concerned with fashion and accessories in the 1850s, though perhaps not as much as their womenfolk. Clothing was a sign of one’s class and status in society; it could tell you about a man’s level of wealth, respectability and their occupation. But here in Victoria, as the gold rush was causing a shift in wealth and class, the distinction was not always so clear.
To The Goldfields! By Rachel Tonkin
To the Goldfields! is sadly now out of print. But as many libraries still have it on their shelves (and we hope they keep it!) we thought it was worth mentioning. This picture book tells the story of James, a nine year old boy who travels to the Victorian goldfields with his family.
Nothing but Gold: The Diggers of 1852
by Robyn Annear
Rereading sections of Robyn Annear’s wonderful gold rush history is like reacquainting oneself with a beloved long lost friend. Even better, it evokes a witty conversation where all your best thoughts and lines are voiced with perfect timing. Some of Annear’s repartee may make the reader laugh out loud. After quoting a frazzled dispatch from Governor La Trobe explaining the difficulties of the early gold rush Annear writes:
Books for teaching history
It’s the Year of Reading and we’re celebrating by sharing our favourite books for teaching (or just enjoying) history! This post introduces Doug Bradby’s Seriously Weird History series.
Background to Women’s Fashion in the 1850s
During the Gold Rush in Victoria most new immigrants arrived from Great Britain: England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. They brought their ideas about dressing and fashion with them, and consequently many clothes in Victoria during 1850s follow the same lines as their British cousins.