Volume 65: Macarthur-Onslow correspondence, 1846-1929: No. 403
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with families to support, in Sydney are making full-sized tween trousers, well finished, at 7d. a pair; girls in Melbourne are making blouses at 2s. the dozen, or 2d. each.
I know the daughter of a medical man, left a widow with five children, spending her life over her machine, making boys' knicker-bocker suits at 10d. the suit. How can children be cared for under such conditions? How can homes be happy? What a farce to tell these driven-to-death women that every woman's duty is only to beautify the ennoble the home! Let social conditions make this possible, and women will be only too thankful to do the lovelier duties.
Girls in factories in Sydney, it is stated, are working for 5s. and 7s. a week. Those who have homes can do on this, but those who have only this to depend on - how can they live?
Further, large numbers have been dismissed from shops as well as factories again and again as the depression has become more profound; and more will yet be turned away, for observant business men tell us we have not reached low-water mark. It is simply an impossibility for these girls to find other employment in the present state of things. The choice before them is immediate starvation, or a hideous death of about three years in the doing "on the streets."