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Appendix 3: A Note On Equivalences


The unit of currency in use in the Australasian colonies in the late nineteenth century was the British pound sterling (£), divided into 20 shillings (s.), each of 12 pennies or pence (d.). A half-crown (30M was equivalent to 2s. 6d. A sixpence (239:5) and a threepence (153:36) were small silver coins; the penny, halfpenny and farthing (one quarter of a penny, see note 14 for p. 184) were copper. "Three pound ten"(184:7) was £3. 10s.; a shilling was colloquially termed a "bob" (124:11) and in fashionable slang a sixpence was a "demi-bob" (438:12). A sovereign (140:24) was a gold coin, of the (nominal) value of £1. Sovereigns were minted in Australia after 1872.

Based on the gross domestic product price deflator index (Australian Historical Statistics, 1988), and the Reserve Bank of Australia Bulletin, Table G2, Prices and Wages (December 1992, p. S96), £1 in 1890 was worth approximately $A96 in 1991-92 value. On this basis Mr Paget's Sydney professorial salary of "over a thousand a year" (18:6) would be worth c.$96,000 (the salary set for the Chair of Classics at Adelaide University in 1875 was £600, the equivalent Of $57,600). The 9s. a day earned by 'Zilla Jenkins (49:3) would equal $43.20, or $259 a week (the average weekly wage of miners (and artisans) in the 1890s was £2–£3 a week, i.e. $102–$288 in 1991-92 terms). At £ 19. 10s. for six months, the rent for the little cottage that Trevaskis uses (218:7) would be $1872, or $72 a week for 26 weeks (at the revised figure of £9. 10s. in the Adl and Bentley (E1) versions, it would be $35 a week). The 540 oz. of gold that Trevaskis sells at£3.18s. per oz. (240:20) gains him £2,106 (Cf. 193:40) which would be $202,176.

Temperature and Rainfall

Temperature was measured on the Fahrenheit scale (°f). 69°F (8:35) is equal to 20.6° Celsius. 115°F (118: 11) is equal to 46°C. Rainfall was measured in inches, 1in. being equal to 25.4 mm. 8 ins of rainfall (280:2) equals 203.2 mm.

Length and Area

Units of linear measure in the Imperial system include the foot (ft), equal to 30.5 cm. and divided into 12 inches (in.); the yard (3ft) and the mile (1760 yds). 1 mile is 1.6 kms; 12 miles (231:40) is 19.3 kms.

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320 ft by 6 ft by 6 ft (the dimensions of the iron passage, 117:12-14) is the equivalent of 97.5 m by 1.83 m by 1.83 m.

Square measure in the Imperial system includes the acre (47:23), which is 4,840 sq. yds (0.4 hectares).


Measures of mass in the Imperial system include the pound (lb) (454 g), which is divided into 16 ounces (oz). 2240 lbs constitute one ton (140:35), i.e. 1.02 tonnes or 1016 kg. 300 Oz. 140:25) is 8.5 kg. A pennyweight (dwt) (193:21) was one-twentieth of 1 Oz. (c. 1.4 g). A hundredweight (cwt, 1973) is equal to 112 lbs, i.e. c. 50.8 kg.


An imperial pint (see note 11 for p. 196) is 568 millilitres, and comprises twenty fluid oz. Two pints (17L23) equals an Imperial quart.