Right now I am reading a beautiful book called A Waltz for Matilda. It is set in 1894 and based on the poem by A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson.
Twelve-year-old Matilda lives in the city where she works in the jam factory. She gets three shillings (about 30 cents) a week. She lives with her mother and has to pay rent for a flat. When Matilda's mother dies, the struggle increases so she decides she's had enough of the city and leaves to find her long lost father in the country. When she finally finds her father, they go waltzing matilda (which means, looking for work with swags). Then her father dies by jumping into a creek to save himself from getting shot. Life is looking pretty traumatic for Matilda, but is managing to look after herself.