The diggers cries for police on the gold fields quickly became cries for justice. The largely corrupt police force that arrived to keep law and order was a contributing factor in the Eureka Stockade uprising. Although the diggers` rebellion was quelled, their actions strengthened the young democracy of Victoria.
Shortage of Police
In the early days of the gold rushes, the Victorian diggings were largely ungoverned. Political manoeuvring in the Legislative Council ensured it stayed this way for months.
Crime on the gold fields
While some saw the gold fields as surprisingly law-abiding, there was no shortage of misdeeds. Murder, theft and drunkenness were common - but claim jumping was viewed as the most serious crime.
Armed gold escorts protected the diggers’ gold on its journey from the remote gold fields to banks, mints and assay offices in the cities.
In the absence of police, diggers meted out their own form of law and order.
Australian soldiers were called diggers, as many men who fought for Australia in WWI were diggers from the goldfields.
"Gold is not found in quartz alone; its richest lodes are in the eyes and ears of the public."
It is estimated that at least 20% of all the gold mined since 1500 has been wrung from the earth during only fifty years' worth of gold rushes in the nineteenth century.
A 150th anniversary is a sesquicentenary.
In the first few years of Victoria's life as an independent colony, the Victorian Government sold £4,500,000 worth of Aboriginal land.
The Incas called gold the "sweat of the sun", while the Aztecs and the Mayans called it "the excrement of the sun".
A census of the Kimberly gold fields showed unqualified practitioners such as faith healers, tonic sellers and clairvoyants out-numbered legally qualified doctors three-to-one.
Australia now mines about 300 tonnes of gold annually – worth about $4.5million – making it the third-largest producer in the world, after South Africa and the United States. Gold is Australia’s second largest export after coal.
In 1965 archaeologists discovered the "Ramlah Hoard" – a collection of gold dinars and ingots dating from 761 to 976 – at Ramlah, near Jerusalem.
Gold fingerprinting technology, developed in Australia to help police trace the origin of stolen gold, is now being used to determine the origin of archaeological artefacts.