A Dangerous Life

Article | Updated 9 months ago

The Goldfields could be a dangerous place.

Its inhabitants were under constant threat from disease epidemics like typhoid. Working conditions for the miners were especially perilous, and accidents were common. Due to the huge quantites of wood and other flammable materials used in both mining and everyday life, fire was a common threat, which was particularly concerning given the lack of water in the harsh, dry conditions.

What were the conditions really like? How did they cope? What were the worst disasters and the most miraculous rescues?

Divers Frank Hughes and Tom Hearne with their assistants and Josiah Crabb

Divers Frank Hughes and Tom Hearne with their assistants and Josiah Crabb, Inspector of Mines, in centre
Courtesy State Library of Western Australia 4941B/4