Living Conditions

Essay by hot2lava November 2007

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-The Harsh RealityLife on the diggings is far from easy. When the diggers arrived, they had no other choice than to pitch their tents wherever they could and settled down to the hard work, determined to find every speck of gold lying about on the fields. It was some time before troopers were sent to patrol the goldfields and until then, there was no law of any kind. At first there were no stores and the miners had to buy what they could from the local landowner. Prices were very high. In time, though, conditions started to improve. The stores supplied essential goods and the troopers controlled the more unruly miners.

There were hardly any vegetables or fruit and many men fell into illnesses. Not only did keeping healthy was an issue but keeping clean was also another one emerging from every individual. Because of the gold fever that had gotten into them, many thought that they did not have time to wash daily and only washed on Sundays-their time of rest.

Leaving the gold field for a minute was like losing to a piece of gold. Falling ill was something miners dreaded. There were not many doctors on the goldfields, and those who were there were often self-taught and not very skilled.

Houses were usually made of canvas which was cheap and portable. This would be a convenience for whole towns were literally shuffled to a new designated place when diggers moved onto a new field. Other temporary towns were replaced by more permanent structures , starting with barks and timbers, building up to bricks and stones. The cheapest and most basic form of shelter was a tent out of canvas or calico. Sometimes diggers bought the required materials and constructed their own. But for those who remained at the same field for several months, they established their tents to be more solid and comfortable to build more substantial homes.

But still out of all of these positive factors, life could be difficult, especially for those who did not find much gold.