Working as a governess was one of the few respectable occupations for middle-class women in the nineteenth century, but governesses were placed in a difficult social position, living with the families they worked for, but not being regarded as on the same level. The women who came to Sydney as governesses were the main providers of education for girls, and their roles and attainments changed as attitudes to women's education altered over the century. By the early decades of the twentieth century there were few governesses left in Sydney.
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