Australian gold rushes

During the Australian gold rushes, starting in 1851, significant numbers of workers moved from elsewhere in Australia and overseas to where gold had been discovered. Gold had been found several times before, but the colonial government of New South Wales (Victoria did not become a separate colony until 1 July 1851) had suppressed the news out of the fear that it would reduce the workforce and so destabilise the economy.[1]

Australian gold rushes
Gold diggings, Ararat, Victoria, by Edward Roper, 1854
DateMay 1851 – c.1914
TypeGold rush
ThemeSignificant numbers of workers (both from other areas within Australia and from overseas) relocated to areas in which gold had been discovered
Causeprospector Edward Hargraves claimed to have discovered payable gold near Orange
OutcomeChanged the convict colonies into more progressive cities with the influx of free immigrants; Western Australia joined Federation

After the California Gold Rush began in 1848, many people went there from Australia, so the New South Wales government sought approval from the British Colonial Office for the exploitation of mineral resources, and offered rewards for finding gold.[2]

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