There has been no comparable debate for Australia; partly on account of the shortened time frame of European occupation and partly due to lack of comparable statistical sources. By and large the assumption has been that the Australian family was ‘born modern’, nuclear and relatively isolated from kin and community networks. Business and professional men possessed the means to form the largest households, through marriage, offspring, extended kin, hospitality and servants. While business and professional men possessed the means to form households, women and children were vulnerable parties. Households expanded and contracted in order to accommodate extended kin in need, in particular women and children. From the late nineteenth century ruling-class housing diminished in size. Despite increasing housing stock, from 1891 to 1947 the number of Sydney homes with ten or more rooms actually declined. Mansions were progressively demolished, converted into institutions or divided into flats.