Women and gold – Sex Workers and Brothels on the Victorian Goldfields
It was not easy for women to make a living doing respectable work in nineteenth-century Victoria, especially if they had young children depending on their earnings, but with a surfeit of young men flocking to the goldfields and a flourishing double standard regarding sexuality there was money to be made doing sex work. Selling sex was not illegal in Victoria until soliciting in the streets became a crime in 1891 and many women supported themselves and their families by doing sex work in their younger years, and turning to brothel keeping later.
Award winning author and historian Barbara Minchinton will share her research and insights into the important stories and legacies of these women in this year’s Weston Bate Lecture.
Barbara Minchinton is a historian and independent researcher. For several years she collaborated with a team of archaeologists on the interpretation of artefacts from Melbourne’s Little Lon district. She is the co-editor of The Commonwealth Block, Melbourne, a historical archaeology of the city’s working-class and immigrant communities, and the award winning author of The Women of Little Lon.