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How did the living conditions of those living in Australia in the late 19 th century and the early 20 th century, affect crime at the time? By Liz McGrath.

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Presentation on theme: "How did the living conditions of those living in Australia in the late 19 th century and the early 20 th century, affect crime at the time? By Liz McGrath."— Presentation transcript:

1 How did the living conditions of those living in Australia in the late 19 th century and the early 20 th century, affect crime at the time? By Liz McGrath

2 Housing For middle class citizens houses were dangerous, unsanitary and overcrowded. Houses were bigger for those of higher status but still smaller than they are today. Housing cost more than it was worth. Families were commonly bigger than they are today so families of eight would have to live in houses build for two by todays standard. Buildings were poorly built, made from cheap materials such as wood and flimsy metals, which resulted in damage and injury Buildings had bad ventilation, poor lighting and unsanitary conditions Working class houses were situated close to factories so they commonly worked there but they were also exposed to the bad air and water quality. They did not have a water supply so families were forced to fetch water themselves each day Indoor flushing toilets and proper baths were uncommon There were two alternatives to toilets used; the dunny: a can with a seat on top that was emptied by ‘nightmen’ each night and cesspits: holes dug in the ground which were covered and redug every time the toilet was needed

3 Social problems High class citizens did all types of leisure activities such as sport, music, art and visits to the theatre. Because of all the work that working class citizens required to live they did not have enough time for leisure activities. When they did have time they also did not have the funds needed to engage in the most popular forms of entertainment. As a result underground activities were common in the working class because they could afford to take part in them while continuing to work full time. Crime, drunkenness and prostitution was common. Gambling was also popular because it was thought to be an effortless way of making extra money in a short amount of time, while having a some what enjoyable time. Many gangs were formed from the uneducated youths from the slums, and because they had nothing else to do they took part in petty crime.

4 Hygiene and Health The poor housing conditions often led to dangerous health problems for those in middle and working class families. A lack of sanitation lead to infectious diseases throughout all of Australia's population. Common diseases included: whooping cough, tuberculosis, diphtheria, pneumonia, typhoid and diarrhoea.whooping coughtuberculosisdiphtheriapneumonia, typhoid diarrhoea Proper medical attention was extremely expensive so many sick people did not get the medical attention they needed. Most patients died of these diseases that are all easily curable today Only particularly rich families could afford medical attention but hospitals and medical staff were not yet fully aware of how to attend to diseases so medical attention did not always help. 1 in 4 patients in hospitals died due to unsanitary conditions and lack of government funding. The air quality as a result of gas and fumes from large factories resulted in the vulnerability of people to infectious diseases and respiratory difficulties. Food was stored and prepared in unsanitary environments Cesspits were used in 80% of Australian households which immediately effected the level of hygiene in a home All waste collected by ‘nightmen’ was emptied into main bodies of water which directly resulted in disease. The infant mortality rate was at 103.6 deaths for every 1000 babies born which is a huge amount compared to todays 4.63. Life expectancy for men was 55.2 years and for women was 58.4 year, today it is 77.64 years for men and 83.52 years for women.

5 Hygiene and Health – The Bubonic Plague The standard of hygiene and heath in Australia became so bad that in 1900 there was an out break of the bubonic plague in Sydney. Over 500 people died as a result of the plague. The plague spread rapidly as a result of fleas infecting rats that were living in abundance in the filthy conditions of working class urban slums. The plague arrived on foreign ships that came to Australia as a result of the gold rush. The symptoms of the plague included high fever, black spots on and under the skin and enlarge pus filled glands. Eventually Australia responded to the plague and slightly improved the hygiene standard in Sydney and destroyed and burned down the worst effected areas.

6 Working conditions - Men Low pay & long hours Uncomfortable and dangerous conditions – the higher the status the safer job (requires less physical labour) Instead of todays average 40 hour working week, 60 hour working week not including over time (10 hours a day) If complain or don’t work to a standard, fired – no money for families survival No dole money from government for unemployed like today No workers compensation for injury, no sick leave and no superannuation for retirement. Workers under valued and under paid.

7 Working conditions – Women and Children Women did house hold duties and looked after children Women who were married were expected to have children and work at home so most women who had paid jobs were unmarried. Women were paid half as much as men Women were often taken advantage of by abusive male employers and under paid because of the lack of respect. Children from working class families were expected to start working from the age of 8 for extra money for their family Children worked the same amount of time as adults but were paid half of what women were paid and a quarter of what men were paid. Children were often exploited as cheap labour

8 Common types of crime Murder (shooting and poisoning were particularly common) Drug possession Drug dealing Back yard abortions Prostitution Stealing Rape Assault Rioting Kidnap Fencing stolen goods

9 Reasons for crime Crime was mostly done as a last resort for the working class citizens to get enough money to survive. Many of the back yard abortions and the murder of children happened because parents could not support children along with themselves. Drugs were a relevant business across all of the classes, they were sold frequently because of how expensive they were, and taken so that those in bad situations could escape. Prostitution was popular among the working class because it was thought to be an easy way to make money fast. When it comes down to it all crimes were done for the basic reason of money

10 Emma Williams Emma Williams is the perfect example of the measures people were driven to take when in a desperate situation that they could not handle because of their living conditions. In 1893 Emma Williams, her husband and her daughter arrived in Melbourne from Tasmania. It was the move to Melbourne that lead to her demise. Because of the depression work was scarce and difficult to acquire so the family were hardly getting by. The only way Emma Williams felt she could survive was to resort to prostitution, because of this her daughter went to live with a friend of her husbands. Williams fell pregnant and during the pregnancy her husband died of typhoid which was common in the area that they were forced to live. Williams did not want a baby and she tried to give her baby son to a baby farm or orphanage but nobody would take him. In August 1895 Williams drowned her baby boy because he was a ‘nuisance’ and cried when she had clients, this made her job 10 times harder which she could not afford because of her living conditions. Emma Williams was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death, but the execution was delayed because of a false claim at pregnancy she made as a last resort for her life. On 4 th November Emma Williams was hung at Melbourne Gaol with two other women in the last execution in Australia.

11 bibliography Living Conditions the-working-class/australia-to-1914/life-in-australia-at-the-turn-of-the-century the-working-class/australia-to-1914/life-in-australia-at-the-turn-of-the-century century/nsw/history/australia-to-1914 century/nsw/history/australia-to-1914 of-the-century/ of-the-century/ 1900/3939 1900/3939 Crime (news paper article)


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