Federation Australia

On 20th January, 1901 Queen Victoria died. Throughout the Empire people mourned trying to imagine what the world would be like without her. She was a ‘homely queen, a good wife and a good mother’, a Sydney newspaper of the time said. She ‘made the life of the English home what it is’. In ‘respectable’ homes women were meant to be good wives, mothers and housekeepers. The man was to be sober, reliable and the breadwinner. Children were to be seen and not heard. Husbands had steady jobs, could be an accountant or company clerk, or in his own small business. He had at least one good suit, possibly two, a silver watch and chain to attach to his waistcoat. His wife would have had at least one good hat, a best dress, which she most probably had made. Each child had one best outfit and the family went to church on Sunday.  They were not rich enough to build mansions, or have servants, but they liked living with dignity. Australian suburbs grew to house these most respectable families. The houses usually had six or eight rooms were brick and/or weatherboard built solid and set in streets lined with pinoaks and plane trees.

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