Thursday 29 February 2024

Working Life in the 1890's


Well here we are at Thursday again so it is time for more about the working life in Australia in the 1890's.

This week we are looking at transport and shops.

To save money most workers lived either in the city or the inner suburbs meaning they would be able to walk to work. As the cities began their slow sprawl to the outer suburbs, trains, ferries, trams and the omnibus system was established to service them.

In the 1890's the main form of transport was the horse, it was in 1898, 670 four wheeled cabs and 212 hansom cabs crossed the streets of Melbourne and 1,332 drivers were licensed for the movement of goods.

Over time more and more cable trams were able to carry more and more passengers, in 1898 a first class gripman earned 40 shillings per week, while first-class conductors earned 38 shillings per week.

Large department stores had become a feature of city and suburban life by the late 1800's. Salespeople worked long hours and had strict rules which contrasted with surroundings the these lavish stores, such as David Jones, The Mutual Store and others.


  1. How times have changed Jo-Anne. Can't imagine going to work with a horse drawn carriage.

  2. I would love to go back and live a day - just to see - but so grateful I live now.

    1. Oh yeah we often forget how good we have it now

  3. When you talked about Large Department Stores I had an image of Macy or other department stores during the holiday season with people everywhere.

  4. It was a lot harder than today.


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