The girls the diggers left behind, and what they had to do.

Strutt's painting illustrates the unusual predicament that the women of Melbourne found themselves in shortly after gold was discovered in October 1851.  Without men around to perform traditional male tasks, the women filled their shoes and chopped wood, fetched water and mended houses as required.


William Strutt, pencil and watercolour sketch. 1851. Victoria the Golden, sketchbook


From the Victorian Parliamentary Library

Women on the goldfields
Dangers of life on the goldfields