The woman salt carriers
THE "KERNBANK" REMINDS US OF THE SAD SOCIAL SITUATION IN HALLSTATT IN THE 19TH CENTURY.
The demise of the salt industry forced many wives of miners and salt workers in those times to also work. With a basket on their backs they overcame the altitude difference of 500 meters twice daily to the salt mine, returning heavily loaded with rock salt into the valley. Many even carried these burdens in advanced pregnancy. The salt broken directly from the rock is still used today as licks for wild and domestic animals. The last salt carriers were still active around 1890. The lack of nutrition, and the occasional baby's dummy drenched in schnapps, lead to physical and mental deficiency in some children. A fashion among aristocrats in the 19th century for benevolence lead the Archduchess Sophie in 1853 to found an institute "...for the custody and education of small children" in Hallstatt-Lahn to reduce this misery.