Story: History

Men’s quarters, sheep station, 1885

Men’s quarters, sheep station, 1885

After years of prosperity based first on wool and gold, and in the 1870s on government spending, New Zealand sank into depression in the 1880s. There was hardship in town and country. Rural labourers were always in precarious economic situations and depression made the situation worse for many. These seasonal farm workers, pictured in the Illustrated New Zealand News of 1885, were living in rough barracks. The alternative would have been ‘life on the swag’, as itinerants.

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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: PUBL-0110-1885-002

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

John Wilson, 'History - War, expansion and depression', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 21 April 2024)

Story by John Wilson, updated 1 Apr 2020