Book-Women of the Diggings 1854

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Women of the Diggings: Ballarat 1854

by Dorothy Wickham ISBN 978 1 876478 21 6

The first detailed account of the lives and roles of women on the Victorian Goldfields. Remarkable and amazing stories of untold courage. This well researched book is a fascinating and moving story of the early Ballarat gold rush told from a woman's perspective. The experiences outlined would have been similar for women on other Victorian goldfields such as Bendigo, Castlemaine, Creswick, Maryborough, Stawell, Dunolly, and Walhalla. 336pp, comprehensive index.

Presented in two parts: the first part comprises 10 chapters of detailed accounts of women on the Victorian goldfields. These chapters include: the pastoral (pre gold) era; the early goldfields; marriage; birthing on the goldfields; death, dying and disease; politics, occupations, and the women of Eureka. This book argues that women played significant roles on the early goldfields, physically, emotionally and politically.

The second part of Women of the Diggings lists around 1,500 biographies of women who were associated with Ballarat in 1854. Some are well known, such as Martha Clendinning, Matilda Dixie, Matilda Lang, Anne Duke, and Anastasia Withers. Others like Melinda Smith, Mary O'Dea, Margaret Kinnane and Susannah Morgan have been rarely written about. Women's stories have been uncovered in difficult to access records such as private collections, diaries, church registers, inquest records and petty sessions registers.

This book uncovers the intimate 'secrets' of women's lives during the turbulent goldfields era.