Working Man’s Paradise

Working Man’s Paradise

The phase ‘working man’s paradise’ was used by colonial politicians and employer groups in the 1800’s. It was used to attract new workers to Australia. They were trying to get the message across that working conditions were far better off in Australia, compared to England. In some ways, they were, not in others, not. The climate was generally better but back then factories didn’t have ventilation, let alone air conditioning, so in Summer the temperature inside was horrible. But Winter in England wasn’t much better. Life was especially difficult during droughts, floods and bushfires. The food was generally better. Meet and tea were part of the everyday diet, but were considered as luxuries in England

Even though laws and agreements were made to improve wages and working conditions, this didn’t apply to the Indigenous Australia workers. They were low paid and sometimes were given simple necessities instead. On some occasions they were not paid at all. It was near impossible for the Aborigines to do much about this because they were forbidden from joining unions and had very few rights.

In 1911, a special institution was made for Aboriginal girls who were taken from their families. They were trained to become domestic servants for white families. The money were given to the Aboriginal Protection Board but sometimes they were given sixpence a week as pocket money.

Back then, women were though to be the people to stay at home to look after the children, wash, cook and clean. But by 1901, one-third of women joined the paid workforce. Half of these women worked as domestic servants or factory workers. Others also worked in retail, education, farming and nursing. Very few ran their own businesses such as boarding houses, hotels and dressmaking shops. They were allowed to study medicine and law but were not allowed to work in the professions. Women were always paid less than men.

It was absolutely ordinary for children from working class families to begin...

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