The Gold Rush in Australia

The Gold Rush in Australia

Cast your mind back to 1850s Australia. Just a couple of years after the great Californian Gold Rush of 1848, a man named Edward Hargraves struck gold at a waterhole near Bathurst, and so the Australian gold rush began.

The location where gold was found was named Ophir, and mining hopefuls flocked to the area and the state of NSW in the hope of being part of the great find themselves. The discovery represented hope to many Australians, with a chance to head to the area to find fortune. 

With many citizens flocking to NSW in a frenzy, dreaming of a life of riches, other states were waiting in the wings wondering how they too could get in on the action. NSW was receiving huge international attention as a gold hot spot, even drawing immigrants from around the world. It wasn't long before the state of Victoria offered its residents a financial incentive to find gold in and around Melbourne – and so a new treasure hunt began. 

The search was on, and soon gold was discovered in Ballarat, Bendigo Creek and the Mount Alexander gold field. Now things were really heating up. 

New arrivals to Australia surged, with those from all across the globe coming to the nation in the hope of partaking in the world-famous Aussie gold rush. Gold towns were booming with plenty of business and investment, and infrastructure such as railways began to develop around the country to serve the needs of the swelling population. A lot of gold was exported to London, helping boost the economy. It was a truly exciting time. 

Tensions were sometimes high, however. Miners and the governing authorities often had different points of view, and power struggles over licensing and corruption were becoming more common. What would be the fate of Australia's gold fields?

If you want to learn more about the highs and lows of gold rushes, tune into The Gold Rush on Saturday April 12 at 5.30 p.m.