Household Arts of the 1850s: a personal experience part 2; the first night

Woman of the Hill 2

Jenni doing the dishes and talking to visitors

Jenni doing the dishes and talking to visitors

The first night of intrepid volunteer Jenni Fithall’s experiment with colonial living is over and we (two of the Education officers) called in to check up on her.

Sovereign Hill:

Morning Jenni, how did you sleep?


Terribly! The rooster started crowing at about 3.30 am, and all the rest joined in. They would stop for about 20 minutes, and I would drift off to sleep. Then they would start again. It was nice laying in bed watching the glow from the fire.


Any other excitement overnight?


Well I had a bath. It took for ever to warm up enough water for it. I set the bath up in here (Kitchen/Dining room). I now know why they (Colonial people) only bathed once a week, it was so much work, and that’s only for one person!


We notice there’s a lot of flies around, do you need another fly strip? (The one hanging from the ceiling, is covered with flies, and there is still a swarm flying around the room).


No I have a spare one. Marion (Education officer) and I put one up about 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon, but last night the ceiling was black with flies. (They are really bad, no wonder disease was rife in these communities)

Jenni is cooking her breakfast, some sliced potato and an egg over the fire. She has some other food cooked from yesterday covered with tea towels, at least it is quiet as the Museum is not open to visitors yet.


Do you expect many visitors today?


Oh yes, there was a constant flow of people coming in yesterday. And there are plenty of school children staying at the museum so I expect I will be very busy talking to visitors and completing all my chores.

If you would like your students to experience a little of Jenni’s experience, try our a woman’s work is never done education session.

For more information about women on the Goldfields, you could try the Gold museum Blog about Eliza Perrin or our earlier Blogs.

If you would like to see what Jenni went through, we have made several videos about her time at Sovereign Hill, and the links are detailed below.

Woman of the Hill part 1

Woman of the Hill part 2

Woman of the Hill part 3

Woman of the Hill making butter

Woman of the Hill, the final interview

There was so much information about this experiment, that we created a new page on our website. All the videos and links to Blogposts are here.

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