Last updated: February 18, 2019
Topic: FamilyChildren
Sample donated:

Health in the 1900th century was not as up to date as it is today there were plagues and very deadly diseases spreading not only through Australia but through the world. Bubonic plague was unknown in Australia until 1900. There had been outbreaks in ports with which Australia had constant contact from 1894 when the plague was officially declared an epidemic in Hong Kong. From 1896 a plague pandemic spread around the world. Hydatid disease was a major problem in country areas of Australia in the early twentieth century.

It is caused by humans ingesting hydatid tapeworm cysts. Australia became a centre of world research into the disease. Hydatid now occurs only rarely. Clothing In the leisure and upper classes, men and women ‘dwelled in luxuriously appointed houses, overdressed,entertained to excess, kept dressmakers and tailors and gardeners on hand. ’ The gentry ‘demanded appropriate recognition and respect from the lower orders’ and the more humble people of the working and poorer classes.

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There were endless ways in which a person could advertise to the world that he or she belonged to a superior class. Both men and women wore entirely different clothes from the working class, making it obvious on sight to which group they belonged. The most vogue fashions were seen in the cities as urban fashions were ‘essentially the same as those in any part of the developed world’. The only clothing that could be described as ‘typically Australia’ was worn by country people.

Both men and women made known their status and role in society by the style of their clothing. This was a ‘continuing and constantly shifting aspect of colonial life’. There was more contrast between everyday dress of the upper classes and some subcultures than that of the working class. Education Both boys and girls received instruction in the basic subjects. In addition, girls spent 80 minutes of the day in sewing, knitting and darning instruction while the boys spent this time learning geometry and more geography and arithmetic.

The days commenced with the teacher inspecting the pupils to see that their face and hands had been washed, their hair combed and their clothes neat and, where necessary, darned. Thirty minutes of each day were also taken up with singing. However, they primarily tried to instill into the children the advantages of being orderly, clean, punctual, decent and courteous, and avoiding all things which would make them disagreeable to other people. One way to achieve this was the use of discipline.

Rules governed how children were to enter the room, bow to the teacher, sit down on the benches, sit when reading what was on the blackboard, sit when writing, hold their pens, the position of their writing pads, and which hand was to be used for writing and which to point to the words being copied. Most learning was by rote. Pupils learned to repeat their tables, lists of dates and capital cities of the world, and poems parrot fashion. Employment For working-class Australians at the turn of the century, there was almost no time for anything other than work because their lives revolved around their jobs.

Many men felt pressured to work because of the popular belief that the man should be the ‘breadwinner’ (the person responsible for supporting the family). Women and children from poor families also had to seek employment because a single wage was often not enough to provide for the entire family. They usually had to work exceptionally long hours, in poor conditions and received little pay in return. Awards, such as the four weeks annual leave that Australian workers are entitled to today, were inconceivable at the turn of the century