Story: Washing, cleaning and personal hygiene

Washday in the far north, 1904

Washday in the far north, 1904

These women are doing the weekly washing outside on a summer's day in the far north in 1904. Hot water is boiling in the background. The woman on the left is using a simple hand-powered wooden washing machine. The moveable barrel agitated the water as a modern washing machine does. The other woman is cleaning items on a wood and glass washboard – rubbing them against the rippled glass removed dirt. The first load of washing is strung along a long line to dry. These two would have spent the whole day washing.

Using this item

Auckland City Libraries - Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Reference: AWNS-19041215-15-2
Photograph by Northwood Brothers

Permission of Auckland City Libraries Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Kerryn Pollock, 'Washing, cleaning and personal hygiene - Washing clothes', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 30 May 2024)

Story by Kerryn Pollock, published 5 Sep 2013