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Mostly Women: Railway Crossing Gatekeepers1872 - 1902

Gatehouse Springwood

1872 - William Bates
            Thomas Boland - Springwood

1875 - Sarah Hammnet - the Valley

1893 - Mrs. Robert Baxter
            Dinah Benmor/Benoit
            Julia Brady
            Fannie L. Sadler
            Emily Paul - Linden

1896 - Mary Baxter
            Dinah Benmore/Benoit
            Julia Brady
            Fannie Sadler
            Emily Paul - Linden

1899 - Dinah Benmore/Benoit - Valley Heights, 5 shillings a week
                 and free house
            Mary Baxter - Springwood, free house
            Julia Brady - Springwood, free house
            Fannie Sadler - Springwood, free house
            Hannah Barker - Linden, free house

1902 - Elizabeth Young - Springwood, free house
            Julia Brady - Springwood, free house

Dinah Benmore's remuneration possibly illustrated the amount of traffic using that particular railway crossing.  Gatehouses, while appearing very quaint, constantly came under critisism because the accommodation was less than adequate to house even a small family.  The sandstone gatehouses in the Springwood area consisted on two small bedrooms, one sitting room, and a 'doll sized' kitchen and storeroom.  Families like the Benmore/Benoits for example would have found them cramped because at times they had as many as seven or eight small children living with them.  The houses were situated close to the railway line and had no fence or protective barrier to stop small children wandering into the path of an oncoming train.  Nevertheless, the occupation provided one of the earliest forms of remunerated work for women in Australia. 
Pamela Smith

* The only remaining gatehouse in the Springwood area is located adjacent to Fels Avenue.
Springwood Historians, The Making Of A Mountain Community; A Biographical Dictionary of the Springwood District, 2002.