Charles Dickens is little celebrated as a journalist, yet his career spanned nearly 40 years. Starting as a court reporter, parliamentary newspaper columnist and theatre critic, he developed an instinct for injustice, humbug and charade. For 20 years he edited his own weekly journal, Household Words, later known as All the Year Round, publishing articles and stories designed to be interesting, entertaining and educational.
Dickens had a keen interest in Australia and fortuitously began publishing the periodical at a transitional moment, just before the heady days of the 1850s gold rush set the world ablaze. The discovery of gold drove a period of mass immigration and expansion into the hinterlands, and caused radical economic and social changes in an emerging nation.
Of the nearly 3,000 articles published in Household Words, some 100 related to Australia and have been collected in this anthology. Dickens saw Australia as offering opportunities for England's poor and downtrodden to make a new start and a brighter future for themselves; this optimism is reflected in many of the articles.
The stories have been grouped into five volumes: Convict Stories, Immigration, Frontier Stories, Mining and Gold and Maritime Conditions.
This volume focuses on mining. The goldfields stories in Household Words present a broad picture of life at the diggings. Occasionally a fabulous find (sometimes spent in a week); but, more often, depictions of optimistic diggers being beaten by the hard life, hard luck or looming failure. There are stories of men and women from all ranks of society, sailors on the run and Chinese immigrants, all hoping to make a fortune.
Charles Dickens was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era.
Margaret Mendelawitz is a graduate in history and anthropology from the University of Western Australia. She currently works as a mediator.
- Life in the Burra mines of South Australia
- Chip: a visit to the Burra Burra mines
- Chip: a golden newspaper
- Unfortunate James Daley
- Harvest of gold
- Australian carriers
- Digger’s diary: in occasional chapters – part one
- Digger’s diary: in occasional chapters – part two
- Digger’s diary: in occasional chapters – part three
- Digger’s diary: in occasional chapters – part four
- Chip: digging sailors
- The ballad of the gold-digger [poem]
- Lost and found in the gold fields
- Bad luck at Bendigo
- The cradle and the grave
- Gold hunting in two parts: part one
- Gold hunting in two parts: part two
- A diggers wedding
- Shadows of a golden image
Contributors to Household Words
‘It is a genuinely fascinating piece of Australiana that has been edited and collated by Margaret Mendelawitz. Many pieces demonstrate Dickens’ enduring commitment to social change and moral uplift.’ Sydney Morning Herald, 2–3 July 2011
‘It is a genuinely fascinating piece of Australiana that has been edited and collated by Margaret Mendelawitz. Many pieces demonstrate Dickens’ enduring commitment to social change and moral uplift.’
Sydney Morning Herald, 2–3 July 2011
Size: 210 × 148 × 20 mm / 8.27 × 5.83 × 0.79 in
11 b&w illustrations
Copyright: © 2011
Publication: 03 May 2011