Story: Class

Rural workers

Rural workers

These men, on the banks of the Ashburton River in 1903, are waiting for the harvest to begin on the large farms of Canterbury. Like many rural workers they were highly itinerant, moving with the seasons to pick up short-term work. The man on the left has a swag containing his blanket and clothes. The spasmodic nature of much rural work meant that there was little specialisation and a relatively flat occupational hierarchy among the workers.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: Otago Witness, 20 May 1903, p. 41 (N-P 1431-41)

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:

Jock Phillips, 'Class - Colonial society – the working class', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 18 April 2024)

Story by Jock Phillips, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 22 May 2018