Shortage of domestic help

An ostrich farm at Pukekohe, Auckland. - Otago Witness, 14.5.1919
An ostrich farm at Pukekohe, Auckland. - Otago Witness, 14.5.1919
It is next to impossible now-a-days to obtain domestic help for the home. The modern housewife is brought face to face with two alternatives: either she must valiantly roll up her sleeves and do the whole of her own cooking and mending and washing, or the family must "go out'' for its meals.

The position is not one which has come about in a week, or a month, or even a year, but it has steadily grown more acute, and the capable domestic is now a person whose value is above rubies and above price. The shortage in this class of labour is not confined to Dunedin, but it is common to the whole of New Zealand. For years past the growing womanhood of this country has shown a marked aversion to the simple and homely "joys'' of helping in a house, and just marked a preference for the music of typewriter keys or the poetry of long lines of figures in a ledger.

The lure of shop and factory grows more and more irresistible, and there is a steady drain from the home to the counter and the loom. The naturally home-keeping girl is becoming exceedingly rare. The shop and factory girl has definite and specified hours. She finishes work at 5 or 6 o'clock, and the rest of the evening is her own, to spend as she will. She can go to the pictures, and she does, with remarkable frequency. When the films pall for a day or two there are dances and parties and moonlight walks available for her diversion. Her days are devoted to toil; but her nights may be spent in enjoyment.

The household servant, on the other hand, is too often bound to the wheel of her domesticity, and it is in many cases literally true to apply to her the age-long feminine plaint that "a woman's work is never done''. Possibly if some serious attempt were made to render the conditions of life in service more attractive the position would be relieved, for the domestic servant, who can earn 1 a week and her keep, is really better off than a clerk or factory girl who may earn 35s a week, but has to pay about 25s a week for decent board and lodgings.

Large land-holdings criticised

Our Marton correspondent states that some important remarks were made at the annual meeting of the local branch of the Farmers' Union by the chairman (Mr Stuart).

He said he considered that the New Zealand Union had been neglectful regarding the land laws of this country. Huge areas of good land were held by a few individuals, who put it to no practical use.

That class of farmer was causing as much discontent as the soap box orators.

These men were evading their fair share of taxation, and to allow such conditions to continue was a serious loss to the country.

RSA open to nurses

Membership in the Dunedin Returned Soldiers' Association is now open to returned nurses of the Colonial and Imperial Forces. They are admitted as free honorary members, and are supplied with a special badge of membership. Four nurses have so far been admitted to membership, and it is anticipated that a considerable number will join up with the association when they become aware that they are entitled to membership. - ODT, 7.5.1919

Add a Comment