SBS > Gold > Science and Technology

The gold rushes sparked great technological advancement. Early gold mining techniques quickly needed replacing as alluvial deposits disappeared and miners had to dig deeper to find gold. The gold rush also attracted scientists, geologists and engineers from around the world who made a lasting impact on the country.

In other features this month, discover the scientific basis of gold, the dubious science of medicine on the gold fields, and uncover some of Australia’s biggest nuggets.

Mining 101

Learn the basics of the technology of gold mining.

The Nordstrom mining models
Swedish artisan and miner Carl Nordstrom created detailed and entertaining models depicting mining techniques in Victoria.

Dry region mining techniques
Due to the chronic water shortage, the dry blower became synonymous with the Western Australian diggings.

O’Connor and the waters of gold
Engineer CY O'Connor committed suicide after incessant criticism about the construction of a 600km pipeline to carry water to the Kalgoorlie gold fields.

Medical moments on the diggings
Largely due to the expense of ‘real’ doctors, the vast majority of diggers relied heavily on ‘guaranteed’ remedies concocted by such noble fellows as Professor Holloway.

Geology of gold
Dr Bill Birch dispels the myth that "gold is where you find it".

Gold nuggets: the ultimate prize
Large nuggets generated the most excitement on the gold fields and were the dreams of every digger.

Famous Australian Nuggets
Discover the story behind eight famous Australian nuggets.

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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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