Friday, June 3, 2011


I'm starting to wonder if Jimmy was being paid enough for his family to live on by his employer John Mawbey.
According to Moore and Williams (p.25), Jimmy was to be paid 10 shillings for cutting and sizing 100 fence posts, 10 shillings per 100 for boring the holes and 12 shillings per 100 for erecting the posts.
By the end of June, when he had been working there for six months, he had erected 1000 posts.
If he was getting 320 shillings, or one pound 12 shillings sterling, for 100, he was owed 3200 shillings, or 10 pounds 12 shillings, for 1000.
There were 20 shillings to a pound and 12 pence to a shilling.
Six months work translates to 24 weeks and when 3200 shillings is divided by this amount, he would have been earning around 133 shillings, or 6 pounds 7 shillings a week.
A member of my family history group told me that when the basic wage was was set in 1911, it was 7 pounds 7 shillings.
This amount was deemed to allow labourers to live in 'comfortable poverty'.
So the amount of money Jimmy was being paid by Mr Mawbey 11 years earlier appears to have been a fair wage.

Update 5-6-11
I ought to have divided the 3200 shillings by 26 weeks instead of 24.
This result gives Jimmy 6 pounds 15 shillings a week and 320 pounds per annum.
But this does not add up, is not correct, because he was only entitled to 21 pounds 4 shillings for the complete job, no matter how long it took him.
Maths is not my strong point so I will have to get someone who is more mathematically literate to look at this.
I will also find some wage comparisons, like the one below, and examples of the cost of living, to put what Jimmy was getting into context.
In 1898, the Department of Public Instruction (Education), had made a provisional school's teacher's salary 9 pounds per annum, plus 4 pounds 10 shillings per pupil.
Mrs Mawbey had taken umbrage with the teacher who was at Breelong at the time, and wrote a letter to the department asking how much she was meant to be paid (see below).
The amount of 63 pounds she mentions would be the teacher's base salary plus additional payment for 14 students.
If there were less than 14 students, the parents had to make up the difference to her salary.
The previous school teacher who was there from 1892-1897 had only been paid 5 pounds per annum.