SBS > Gold > Arts and Entertainment

The Australian gold rushes attracted artists and performers from all over the world. They created a thriving cultural scene and left a legacy of knowledge about the gold rush era.

Entertainment on the goldfields
On the goldfields, diggers worked hard and played hard. Desperate for diversion, they embraced whatever literature, art and music they could find.

Sport on the gold fields
Sport was a rough and ready pastime that rarely involved a break for tea.

Theatre offered escapism, but only to the lucky diggers who could afford it.

Lola Montez
Lola Montez was as famous for her lovers as she was for her dancing.

Gustavus Brooke
The well known "Father of the Drama" was immensely popular on the gold fields.

The Inimitable Mr Thatcher
The "Colonial Minstrel" amused diggers with his humorous ditties about life on the gold fields.

Melbourne a cultural Mecca
Legislators in Victoria had a vision of Melbourne as a centre for arts, culture and education.

Art of the gold fields
Artists of the gold fields ranged in ability from professional artists to absolute amateurs.

Edwin Roper Loftus Stocqueler
Much of Edwin Stocqueler's legacy to the Australian gold rush was lost, relegating him to artistic obscurity.

Emil Todt
German sculptor Emil Todt captured the essence of mateship in his famous piece The gold diggers.

George Lacy
George Lacy portrayed life on the gold fields in a comical and humorous manner, often making light of the harsh realities.

Charles Augustus Doudiet
Charles Doudiet's sketchbook provide us with the only visual accounts by an eyewitness of the unfolding drama of the Eureka Stockade.

S.T. Gill (1818-1880)
S.T. Gill was once known as the "artist of the goldfields" for his detailed portrayals of everyday life on the diggings.

Indigenous artistic legacy
Drawings by a young Indigenous boy named Oscar remain as an extremely rare Aboriginal record of Queensland during the gold rush.

Richard Daintree: Photographer
Richard Daintree and French photographer Antoine Fauchery collaborated on Sun Pictures of Victoria a groundbreaking photographic series of Australian scenes.

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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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