Children at work

In the past childhood, for many, was a time of work, not play. Children worked on family farms at harvest time and regularly milked the cows. In the city young boys ran messages, or swept the roads. Others worked on the streets, selling newspapers, flowers and matches. Most young girls worked at home, helping their mothers. They cleaned the house, washed-up and minded their young brothers and sisters. Girls also worked as domestic servants in other people's homes, sometimes starting work as early as 6am and working until 10pm. As children grew up they were expected to contribute to the family income. Until the 1870s education was a luxury for the well-off.   On the Factory floor Children once worked, often with their parents, in Melbourne's factories. They were ideal factory workers; likely to respond to punishment and unlikely to organise and strike against poor pay and working conditions. They were also smaller and could do the fiddlier tasks. Children worked in a range...
Read More