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Davenport, Sarah

Author and Digger

Sarah Davenport, her cabinet-maker husband and their four children immigrated to Australia in search of a better life. Her husband suffered chronic ill health and it fell to Sarah to support and lead the family. She appears to have done this admirably, doggedly facing a series of ‘tryals’; during the trip out almost all the family’s possession were lost at sea, her youngest child died and she suffered a miscarriage. On the diggings at Ballarat and then Mount Alexander, the family finally had some luck. Sarah taught herself, and then her husband and sons, how to dig for gold and held firm (and kept a sense of humour) in the face of her husband’s dodgy schemes and those of various shysters the family encountered on the goldfields.

Sarah Davenport’s unpublished memoirs (probably written about 1869) are held at the State Library of Victoria.

Caitlin Mahar

Anderson, Margaret, 'Mrs Charles Clacy, Lola Montez and Poll the Grogseller: glimpses of women on the early Victorian goldfields', in Iain McCalman, Alexander Cook and Andrew Reeves (eds), Gold: forgotten histories and lost objects of Australia, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2001. Details
Annear, Robyn, Nothing but gold: the diggers of 1852, The Text Publishing Company, Melbourne, 1999. Details

See also