On the 1st of January 1901 Australia began its Federation in all colonies, which joined the many colonies together into one nation. It was one of the biggest and most important and historical event that has occurred in Australia. Life back then was different a lot different than it is today, the buildings, transport, politics, and attitudes towards the aborigines.
The living and working conditions from 1900 to 1914 depended on which social class you belong to. There were three different classes, the upper class in which consists of the rich people who owned lots of acres of land and owned large business, the middle class, people who earn a substantial amount of money – usually shopkeepers or those who have a professional job. There is also the working class, which is the lowest class the people that belong to this class usually works for a boss the majority of the people belonged to this class. The people that belong to this class make little money and had a small choice of leisure activities.
Eight-hour day movement was used in factories and the workers usually worked from 8a.m till 6p.m with 1 hour of dinner. Wages were minimal and if the workers complained about them they were sacked. Most workers were expected to work until the age of 65 years without any extra benefits. Most people in major cities worked in factories and there were over 10,000 factories. It was a harsh environment as in the summer the temperature can reach well over 40 degrees Celsius and the factory owners treated them little better than slaves. Factories were usually an unsafe workplace as well and inspections were made every now and then and if the workplace was unsafe, there is a fine of approximately 1 shilling. The bosses simply ignored this and paid the fines.
If workers were asked to go overtime, there is no increased pay and if they refused to do extra work they would get sacked. Some workers had to walk 5km to get home after working. In 1901 nearly 20% of workers were women and most of these women were unmarried. Some women worked as house servants or maids for rich families.
The modern houses back then were originally a weatherboard house with a gabled roof of corrugated iron. In the front, there is a veranda with a galvanized iron roof. The toilet, bathroom and laundry were usually was attached to the back of the house near the back steps. Most houses do not have lawns but the ones that do have lawns belong to the wealthy. Living conditions in those houses were cramped in which is shared by lots of people and there is only one toilet. Because there was no electricity, many people used fuel or gas stoves to cook their meals. There was no refrigeration, though people used a large block of ice to cool things.
The white Australia policy restricted immigration to Australia from foreign countries. In the 1800 s the Chinese, one of the first non-white immigrants arrived in Australia. Australians at the time of Federation firmly believed in maintaining a White Australia. After 1850, large numbers of Chinese people went to work in the goldfields. The other miners dislike them and complained about the Chinese wasting their precious water, they dress differently, they don t understand English or the laws, they spread diseases, they were of a different religion and they did not come to help the colony but to send their money back to china.
The Australians thought that the non-Europeans would invade the country by taking over all the jobs. Since the Chinese would work for longer hours and less money, the employers would rather employer the foreign workers. Therefore by stopping the non-Europeans from coming to Australia, there would be more jobs for the white Australia. The citizens of Australia also believed in racial purity, they considered all non-Europeans as racially inferior. At that time, Australians thought they were stronger than other races, reason being that they were of British descendent.
When the first Europeans arrived in Australia in 1788, Aborigines were living throughout Australia in well established groups. The first governors of New South Wales were ordered to treat the aborigines well. The European settlers saw the aborigines as noble savages. Early Europeans believed the aborigines should be respected and benefit from European contact.
The aboriginal cultures had an important bond between the land and the people. They believed that they belong to the land but in contrast the Europeans believed that the land belonged to them. The aborigines respected and protected the natural environment. They lived in tribes of hunters and gatherers and they took only what they needed from the land. Aborigines often moved around to let the land replenish the resources.
During the 19th century the European attitude on aborigines changed, they believed that the aborigines were inferior. Aboriginal people fought against Europeans, but every European that died ten aborigines was killed as the Europeans had greater weapons and technology. Aborigines were killed at sight and had their food sources poisoned. The aborigines started to die from the cold and European diseases because the aborigines had no immunity to European diseases and thousands of aborigines died and the rest were reduced to pauperism, to be dependent upon settlers for handouts of food and clothing. As tribe elders died, ancient medicines were lost and the only way the aborigines could survive was to receive European medicine.
Australia restricted women from involvement in public up until 1880. Politicians and businessman believed that a women s role in society was housekeeping and taking care of their children. In 1890 as women began joining and participating in the working and the birth rates began to drop. In 1894, South Australia allowed women to vote for the first time, this was the first time in any country that women were allowed to vote in an election.
The granting of women’s suffrage was an important issue. It has enabled Australians to think in a positive way towards federation, by making it seem as if federation would give everyone an equal opportunity. This was not the case for non-Europeans. The women believed that they should be able to make decisions that would affect them and their child’s well being. Women were taxpayers like the men, as a citizen of Australia and they felt that it would fair if they voted in elections. The laws of the country were not only to be for men but for women also.