SBS > Gold > Discovery of Gold

Early gold discoveries in Australia were kept quiet as many feared a gold rush would plunge the largely convict population into chaos and lawlessness. However the rush to California depleted the new colony’s small population and forced the authorities to think differently about Australian gold. Self styled knight in shining armour Edward Hargraves rode to the colony’s rescue. His well publicised discovery of gold in NSW marks the beginning the Australian gold rush, the mass migration and the frenzy that ensued.

Early gold discoveries
Gold was not always seen as a way of making a fortune. In fact, many perceived it as a dangerous commodity.

Edward Hargraves
Was Edward Hargraves really the first to discover gold in Australia?

Gold in Victoria
Mass migration to NSW forced the Victorian government to think differently.

The frenzy
After weeks at sea, Melbourne was a disappointment for most weary travellers.

The journey to Australia
Ten weeks aboard a clipper ship was just the beginning of the journey for many Europeans flocking to the Victorian goldfields.

Impressions of Melbourne
After weeks at sea, Melbourne was a disappointment for most weary travellers.

To the diggings
The muddy or dusty tracks to the goldfields presented many challenges for the new chums.

First impressions of the diggings
Barely a blade of grass remained but the first sight of the goldfields was, for some, worth the journey.

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Australian soldiers were called diggers, as many men who fought for Australia in WWI were diggers from the goldfields.

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