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22 September 1849 Living in Burra

 22 September 1849 Living in Burra

On 22 September 1849 a report in the Register stated ‘The unwholesomeness of these holes without ventilation and on the banks of a creek nearly stagnant ... must be apparent to everyone’. The ‘holes’ referred to were the homes of many miners at Burra who excavated the banks of the Burra Creek to form their living quarters and by 1850 over 1500 people were living on Creek Street. One description of these dug-outs indicated that some were kept very clean – the one room white-washed inside and sometimes with a paling verandah, the chimney being just a hole to the footpath above. Nevertheless the conditions were unsanitary and typhus, smallpox, and typhoid fever were common especially among the many children. Another danger was flooding and in February 1850 nearly 80 of these homes were destroyed. More disastrous floods in 1851 left many homeless and news of the discovery of gold at Bathurst induced many to leave. But it was a cheaper way of living than paying rent for a cottage to the SA Mining Association and families continued to live this way for some time. 

Ian Auhl,The Story of the ‘Monster’ Mine, Investigator Press, 1986, pp.129-33.

Tags: Burra living