SBS > Gold > Economy and Infrastructure

The economic impact of the gold rushes was felt most in Victoria, where the gold fields were rich and plentiful. Melbourne was transformed and gold field towns like Ballarat and Bendigo flourished with new wealth and a new population. As diggers made their fortunes, so too did storekeepers, butchers, sly grog sellers and of course, the government.

The economy of the diggings
Basic necessities cost a small fortune on the gold fields, which is what most diggers aimed to find. So how many diggers were lucky enough to be able to afford to eat?

A new aristocracy
Flush with gold wealth, a new class of nouveau riche diggers emerged, much to the chagrin of the upper classes.

Gold and ten mile towns
Towns grew wherever diggers needed services. Some flourished, others were abandoned.

Melbourne: built on gold
New found gold wealth transformed Melbourne from a small colonial outpost to the fourth largest city in the British Empire.

The South Australian assay office
Risking the wrath of Britain, the South Australian Government opened an assay office to save its ailing economy.

Australia's first mints
Australia wanted to convert its gold into currency, rather than ship it all to England.

From diggers to companies
When alluvial deposits dried up, companies moved in to mine deep gold laden quartz.

Impact of gold on Australia
The gold rushes had a lasting impact on Australia's economy.

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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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