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Australia in the past

Living in Australia is very different to what it used to be in the past. What do you think has changed? Imagine if you could travel back in time. How would people be living? When the British settlers arrived in Australia in 1788, life was very hard for them. There were no houses, no shops, no farms and no roads. The plants and animals were very different to what they were used to and they did not understand the Indigenous people.

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Homes

The British settlers needed to build shelters and homes when they arrived in Australia. Most people built huts out of materials found in the bush such as bark, trees and some stone. Some people used canvas tents as a home. Gradually more homes began to be built out of bricks and corrugated iron.

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Food

The British settlers brought some animals and plants with them on their ships. Many of their crops died and animals ran into the bush because there were no fences. Many people could not get enough food to eat.

Soon, more food arrived and people started growing more crops. Shops began to be built and people could buy things like flour, tea and sugar. Families grew a lot of their own fruit and vegetables. Many families kept chickens, goats, cows and pigs to eat and they baked bread and made butter. There were no refrigerators so food did not last long.

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Cooking

Before homes had electricity and gas, people cooked on open fires. There were no electric appliances so people had to do everything by hand.

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Working

In the past, men went out to work and the women looked after the household. Women did the household chores by hand such as sewing, washing clothes and dishes and cooking. Men earned money by farming or working in shops, and later in factories. There were some office jobs but not many. Most people did not work on Sundays as the shops, factories and offices were closed.

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Doctors

It was rare in early Australia to find anyone who had studied how to be a doctor. Even as late as the 1950s, it was rare to find a doctor at all in many parts of the Australian country.

Many country towns had to make do with weekly or even monthly visits from a city doctor. Some doctors were paid in cash. Other doctors accepted things like vegetables or meat as payment.

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