HOME

TheInfoList




The Victorian
gold rush cut the travel time from New York to San Francisco in seven months to four months in the 1849 California Gold Rush, Gold Rush. A gold rush or gold fever is a discovery of gold—sometimes accompanied by other precious metals and rare-earth miner ...

gold rush
was a period in the
history of Victoria This article describes the history of the Australian colony and state of Victoria (Australia), Victoria. Until 1851 the area was part of New South Wales, then from 1851 until 1901 it was the Colony of Victoria, with its own government within th ...
, Australia approximately between 1851 and the late 1860s. It led to a period of extreme prosperity for the Australian colony, and an influx of population growth and financial capital for
Melbourne Melbourne ( ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller l ...

Melbourne
, which was dubbed "
Marvellous Melbourne ''Marvellous Melbourne: Queen City of the South'' is a 1910 documentary film about the city of Melbourne. It is the oldest surviving documentary about Melbourne. Overview ''Marvellous Melbourne: Queen City of the South'' is a black and white si ...
" as a result of the procurement of wealth.


Overview

The Victorian Gold Discovery Committee wrote in 1854: With the exception of the more extensive fields of California, for a number of years the gold output from Victoria was greater than in any other country in the world. Victoria's greatest yield for one year was in 1856, when 3,053,744 
troy ounce 1 troy ounce (1.097 avoirdupois ounces, 31.1 g) coin example ( Platinum Eagle) File:1000oz.silver.bullion.bar.underneath.jpg, A Good Delivery silver bar weighing Troy weight is a system of Physical unit, units of mass that originated in 15th-ce ...
s (94,982 kg) of gold were extracted from the diggings. From 1851 to 1896 the Victorian Mines Department reported that a total of 61,034,682 oz (1,898,391 kg) of gold was mined in Victoria. Gold was first discovered in Australia on 15 February 1823, by assistant surveyor James McBrien, at Fish River, between Rydal and
BathurstBathurst may refer to: People * Bathurst (surname) Places and jurisdictions In Australia * Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia and the following things associated with the city ** Bathurst Region, the local government area for the Bathurst u ...
(in New South Wales). The find was considered unimportant at the time and was not pursued for policy reasons. In the 1850s gold discoveries in Victoria, in
Beechworth Beechworth is a well-preserved historical town located in the north-east of Victoria, Australia Victoria (abbreviated as Vic) is a States and territories of Australia, state in southeastern Australia. It is the second-smallest state with ...
,
Castlemaine
Castlemaine
, Daylesford,
Ballarat Ballarat () is a city in the Central Highlands of Victoria Victoria most commonly refers to: * Victoria (Australia), a state of the Commonwealth of Australia * Victoria, British Columbia, provincial capital of British Columbia, Canada * Vic ...

Ballarat
and
Bendigo Bendigo is a city in Victoria (Australia), Victoria, Australia, located in the Bendigo Valley near the geographical centre of the state and approximately north-west of Melbourne, the state capital. As of 2019, Bendigo had an urban population of ...

Bendigo
sparked gold rushes similar to the
California Gold Rush The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) was a that began on January 24, 1848, when was found by at in . The news of gold brought approximately 300,000 people to from the rest of the United States and abroad. The sudden influx of gold into ...
. At its peak, some two tonnes of gold per week flowed into the Treasury Building in
Melbourne Melbourne ( ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller l ...

Melbourne
. The gold exported to Britain in the 1850s paid off all of Britain's foreign debts and helped lay the foundation of her enormous commercial expansion in the latter half of the century. Melbourne was a major
boomtown A boomtown is a community A community is a social unitThe term "level of analysis" is used in the social sciences to point to the location, size, or scale of a research target. "Level of analysis" is distinct from the term " unit of obser ...
during the gold rush. The city became the centre of the colony with rail networks radiating to the regional towns and ports. Politically, Victoria's gold miners sped up the introduction of greater parliamentary democracy in Victoria, based on British Chartist principles adopted to some extent by the miners' activist bodies such as Bendigo's Anti-Gold Licence Association and the
Ballarat Reform League The Ballarat Reform League came into being in October 1853 and was officially constituted on 11 November 1854 at an mass meeting of miners in Ballarat, Victoria to protest against the Victorian government's mining policy and administration of the g ...
. As the alluvial gold dwindled, pressures for land reform, protectionism and political reform generated social struggles. and a Land Convention in Melbourne during 1857 recorded demands for land reform. By 1854 Chinese people were contributing to the gold rushes. Their presence on the goldfields of Bendigo, Beechworth and the
Bright Bright may refer to: Common meanings *Bright, an adjective meaning giving off or reflecting illumination; see Brightness *Bright, an adjective meaning someone with intelligence People *Bright (surname) *Bright (given name) *Bright, the stage name ...

Bright
district resulted in
riots Rioters wearing scarves to conceal their identity and filter tear gas A riot () is a form of civil disorder Civil disorder, also known as civil disturbance or civil unrest, is an activity arising from a mass act of civil disobedience (such ...
, entry taxes, killings, and segregation in the short term, and became the foundations of the
White Australia policy The White Australia policy is a term encapsulating a set of historical racial policies that aimed to forbid people of non-European ethnic origin, especially Asians and Pacific Islanders, from immigration to Australia, immigrating to Australia, s ...
. In short, the gold rush was a revolutionary event and reshaped Victoria, its society and politics.


Background

There were rumours abroad about the presence of gold in Australia, but Government officials kept all findings secret for fear of disorganising the young colony. However the Colonial Secretary,
Edward Deas Thomson Sir Edward Deas Thomson (1 June 1800 – 16 July 1879) was a Scotsman who became an administrator and politician in Australia, and was Chancellor (education)#Australia, chancellor of the University of Sydney. Background and early career Thomso ...
, saw a great future for the country when
Edward Hargraves Edward Hammond Hargraves (7 October 1817 – 29 October 1891) was a gold prospector who claimed to have found gold in Australia in 1851, starting an Australian gold rushes, Australian gold rush. Early life Edward Hammond Hargraves was born on 7 ...
proved his theory that Australia was a vast storehouse of gold. Hargraves had been in the California gold rush and knew gold country, when he first saw it, round Bathurst. The news spread like wildfire, and soon the race was on from coast to gold fields. Flocks were left untended, drovers deserted their teams, merchants and lawyers rushed from their desks and entire ships' crews, captains included, marched off to seek their fortunes.


Gold discovery

In March 1850, William Campbell of Strath Loddon, found on the station of his brother-in-law, Donald Cameron, of Clunes several minute pieces of native gold in quartz. This was concealed at the time but on 10 January 1851, Campbell disclosed it. Others had found indications of gold. Dr. George H. Bruhn, a German physician, whose services as an analyst were in great demand, had been shown specimens of gold from what afterwards became the Clunes diggings. In spite of these and other discoveries, however, it was impracticable to market the gold, and James Esmond's "find" which was made on Creswick's Creek, a tributary of the
Loddon River The Loddon River, an inland river of the northcentral catchment, part of the Murray-Darling basin, is located in the lower Riverina Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia, bioregion and Victorian Central Highlands, Central Highlands ...
, at Clunes on 1 July 1851, was the first marketable gold field. A party formed by Mr. Louis John Michel, consisting of himself, Mr. William Haberlin, James Furnival, James Melville, James Headon, and B. Groenig, discovered the existence of gold in the quartz rocks of the Yarra ranges, at Andersons Creek, near
Warrandyte Warrandyte is a suburb of Melbourne Melbourne ( ; wyi, Naarm) is the List of Australian capital cities, capital and List of cities in Australia by population, most-populous city of the States and territories of Australia, Australian state ...
, in the latter part of June, and showed it on the spot to Dr. Webb Richmond, on behalf of the Gold Discovery Committee on 5 July. The third discovery was by Mr.
Thomas Hiscock Thomas Hiscock (1812–1855) was an English blacksmith and Prospecting, prospector who settled in Australia in the 1840s. He is best-remembered today for helping to spark the Victorian Gold Rush with his discovery of gold outside the town o ...
, a resident at
Buninyong Buninyong is a town 11 km from Ballarat in Victoria (Australia), Victoria, Australia. The town is on the Midland Highway (Victoria), Midland Highway, south of Ballarat on the road to Geelong. Buninyong was proclaimed a town on 27 June 1851 ...
; induced by the writings of the Rev. W. B. Clarke, and by the discovery of Brentani's nugget in the
Pyrenees The Pyrenees (; es, Pirineos ; french: Pyrénées ; ca, Pirineus ; eu, Pirinioak ; oc, Pirenèus ; an, Pirineus) is a mountain range straddling the border of and . It extends nearly from its union with the to on the coast. It reaches a ma ...
district two years before, he had kept a constant lookout for gold in his neighbourhood. He discovered an auriferous deposit in the gully of the Buninyong ranges now bearing his name, on 8 August 1851, and he communicated the fact, with its precise locality, to the editor of the ''
Geelong Advertiser The ''Geelong Advertiser'' is a daily newspaper circulating in Geelong, Victoria (Australia), Victoria, Australia, the Bellarine Peninsula, and surrounding areas. First published on 21 November 1840, the ''Geelong Advertiser'' is the oldest newsp ...
'' on the 10th of that month. Dr. George H. Bruhn, a German physician, in the month of January, 1851, (i.e. before Mr. Hargraves' discovery at Summerhill) started from Melbourne to explore "the mineral resources of this colony'. During his lengthened tour, he found, in April, indications of gold in quartz about two miles from Mr. Barker's station, and on arriving at Mr. Cameron's station was shown by that gentleman specimens of gold at what are now called the Clunes diggings. This information he made widely known through the country in the course of his journey, and communicated to Mr. James Esmond, at that time engaged in erecting a building at Mr. James Hodgkinson's station. Dr. Bruhn forwarded specimens, which were received by the Gold Discovery Committee on 30 June 1851. The Gold Discovery Committee awarded £1000 to Michel and his party; £1000 to Hiscock, as the substantial discoverer of the Ballarat deposits; £1000 to Campbell as the original discoverer of Clunes; £1000 to Esmond as the first active producer of alluvial gold for the market and £500 to Dr. Bruhn. On 20 July 1851 Thomas Peters, a hut-keeper on William Barker's ''Mount Alexander'' station, found specks of gold at what is now known as Specimen Gully. This find was published in the Melbourne '' Argus'' on 8 September 1851, leading to a rush to the or Forest Creek diggings, centred on present-day , claimed as the richest shallow
alluvial Alluvium (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of t ...
goldfield in the world. These discoveries were soon surpassed by
Ballarat Ballarat () is a city in the Central Highlands of Victoria Victoria most commonly refers to: * Victoria (Australia), a state of the Commonwealth of Australia * Victoria, British Columbia, provincial capital of British Columbia, Canada * Vic ...

Ballarat
and
Bendigo Bendigo is a city in Victoria (Australia), Victoria, Australia, located in the Bendigo Valley near the geographical centre of the state and approximately north-west of Melbourne, the state capital. As of 2019, Bendigo had an urban population of ...

Bendigo
. Further discoveries including Beechworth in 1852, Bright,
Omeo Omeo ( ) is a town in Victoria (Australia), Victoria, Australia on the Great Alpine Road, east of Mount Hotham, in the Shire of East Gippsland. At the Census in Australia#2016, 2016 census, Omeo had a population of 406. The name is derived from ...
, Chiltern (1858–59) and Walhalla followed. The population of Melbourne grew swiftly as the gold fever took hold. The total number of people in Victoria also rose. By 1851 it was 75,000 people. Ten years later this rose to over 500,000. Surface
alluvial Alluvium (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of t ...
gold was the first to be exploited. It is reported that in 1851, when the first miners arrived on the goldfield, near , could be picked up without digging. Then followed the exploitation of alluvial gold in creeks and rivers, or deposited in silt on river banks and flats. The gold-seekers used pans, and cradles to separate this gold from the dirt. As surface alluvial gold ran out, gold seekers were forced to look further underground. Miners discovered so-called deep leads, which were gold-bearing watercourses that had been buried at various depths by centuries of silting and, in some Victorian goldfields such as Ballarat, . They also began to exploit the underground gold
reefs A reef is a ridge or shoal of rock, coral or similar relatively stable material, lying beneath the surface of a natural body of water. Many reefs result from natural, abiotic component, abiotic processes—deposition (geology), deposition of s ...
which were the original sources of the gold. Deep mining was more difficult and dangerous. Places such as Bendigo and Ballarat saw great concentrations of miners, who were forming partnerships and syndicates to enable them to sink ever-deeper shafts. Coupled with erratic and vexatious policing and licence checks, tensions flared around Beechworth, Bendigo and Ballarat. These frictions culminated in the
Eureka Rebellion The Eureka Rebellion occurred in 1854, instigated by gold miners in Ballarat Ballarat () is a city in the Central Highlands (Victoria), Central Highlands of Victoria (Australia), Victoria, Australia. In 2018, Ballarat had a population of 1 ...
in Ballarat in 1854. Following that uprising, a range of reforms gave miners a greater say in resolving disputes via Mining Courts, and extended
electoral franchise Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise is the right to vote in public, political elections (although the term is sometimes used for any right to vote). In some languages, and occasionally in English, the right to vote is called act ...

electoral franchise
to them. As gold-rush immigrants flooded into Victoria in 1852, a tent city, known as ''Canvas Town'', was established at
South Melbourne South Melbourne is an inner suburb of Melbourne Melbourne ( ; wyi, Naarm) is the List of Australian capital cities, capital and List of cities in Australia by population, most-populous city of the States and territories of Australia, Austr ...
. The area soon became a massive slum, home to tens of thousands of migrants from around the world who arrived to seek their fortunes in the goldfields. Significant "Chinatowns" became established in
Melbourne Melbourne ( ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller l ...
, Bendigo and Castlemaine. At Walhalla alone, Cohens Reef produced over 50 tonnes (1.6 million tr oz) of gold in 40 years of mining.


Chinese involvement in the Victorian gold rush

News of the gold discoveries in the colonies of New South Wales and Victoria in 1851 quickly arrived in the provinces of Southern China. By the end of 1855, more than 19,000
Chinese immigrants Overseas Chinese () are people of ethnic Han Chinese, Chinese birth who reside outside the territories of the China, People's Republic of China (PRC), its special administrative regions (SARs) of Hong Kong and Macau, as well as the Taiwan, Republ ...
, particularly from the
Guangdong province Guangdong (, ), alternately romanized as Canton Province or Kwangtung, is a coastal province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, admini ...

Guangdong province
of China, were estimated to be working on the on the Victorian goldfields of
Ararat Ararat or in Western Armenian Ararad may refer to: Personal names * Ararat ( hy, Արարատ), a common first name for Armenian males (pronounced Ararad in Western Armenian) * Ararat or Araratian, a common family name for Armenian people, Armenia ...
,
Ballarat Ballarat () is a city in the Central Highlands of Victoria Victoria most commonly refers to: * Victoria (Australia), a state of the Commonwealth of Australia * Victoria, British Columbia, provincial capital of British Columbia, Canada * Vic ...

Ballarat
,
Ovens upA double oven A ceramic oven An oven is a tool A tool is an object that can extend an individual's ability to modify features of the surrounding environment. Although many animals use simple tools, only human beings, whose use of stone ...
,
Bendigo Bendigo is a city in Victoria (Australia), Victoria, Australia, located in the Bendigo Valley near the geographical centre of the state and approximately north-west of Melbourne, the state capital. As of 2019, Bendigo had an urban population of ...

Bendigo
, and Maryborough. By 1858 this number increased to roughly 33,000 and Chinese miners were estimated to have made up approximately one fifth of Victoria’s miner population. Figures suggest that Victoria’s Chinese population began to dwindle after 1858. This is likely due to a decrease in the number of new gold discoveries in Victoria during this period.   Like European gold diggers, the majority of Chinese miners in Victoria worked either independently or with a partner upon arrival. As gold however became harder to find in Victoria’s goldfields the Chinese population of Victoria began to form their own mining cooperatives and companies. An unofficial 1868 census on the Chinese population in Victorian gold districts suggests that 660 out of the 765 Chinese miners in Daylesford and half of the 4000 Chinese miners in the Oven District had “formthemselves into small companies” by 1868. A minority of Chinese miners in Victoria were also employed by European mining companies. The 1868 census on the Chinese population in Victoria suggests that 700 Chinese miners in the Oven District were working for European companies which were paying their employees £1 to £2 per week. Smaller numbers of Chinese miners were also reported to be working for European companies in Maryborough,
Ballarat Ballarat () is a city in the Central Highlands of Victoria Victoria most commonly refers to: * Victoria (Australia), a state of the Commonwealth of Australia * Victoria, British Columbia, provincial capital of British Columbia, Canada * Vic ...

Ballarat
and Daylesford. The rapid influx of Chinese migrants into the colony of Victoria aroused large amounts of anxiety within Victoria’s European population. On April the 14th 1855, ''The Argus'', a daily newspaper in Melbourne, described the growing Chinese population within Victoria as an “invading army” whose presence will “subject the community to the demoralizing influence of their ideas". In June 1855, the Victorian government passed 'an act to make provision for certain immigrants'. The act sought to limit the number of Chinese immigrants that a vessel could carry to one for every ten tons of shipping and required the ship’s master to pay a £10 poll tax for each Chinese passenger it carried. The act however failed to reduce the number of Chinese arriving on Victorian Gold Fields. By landing at the port of
Robe A robe is a loose-fitting outer garment A kanga, worn throughout the African Great Lakes region Clothing (also known as clothes, apparel and attire) are items worn on the body. Clothing is typically made of fabrics or textile ...
in the colony of South Australia and travelling more than 400 km across country to the Victorian goldfields, Chinese gold seekers were able to successfully evade the restrictions of Victoria’s immigration act. In November 1857, the Victorian government passed 'an act to regulate the residence of the Chinese Population in Victoria'. This act required all Chinese residing in Victoria to obtain a £1 license which had to be renewed every two months for an additional £1 in order to remain in the colony of Victoria. The residence tax was however reduced in February 1859 and repealed in 1862 due to Chinese protests against the legislation, increasing levels of tax evasion, and a downturn in Victoria’s mining population. The increasing presence of Chinese miners on Victorian goldfields eventually resulted in anti-Chinese riots taking place on several Victorian goldfields. On July 8, 1854, an estimated 1500 European miners meeting at a hotel in Bendigo planned a riot to drive the Chinese out of Bendigo. This riot was however brought to a stop by the arrival of police. The worst attack on Victoria’s Chinese miners occurred at the goldfields of
Buckland River The Buckland River (''Kaniq'' in Inupiat language, Inupiaq) is a stream, long, in the U.S. state of Alaska. It flows northwest to the Chukchi Sea at Eschscholtz Bay, southwest of Selawik, Alaska, Selawik in the Northwest Arctic Borough, Alaska, ...
on 4 July 1857. Following a group meeting at the Buckland Hotel, an estimated 100 European miners sought to expel all 2500 Chinese miners that occupied the goldfields of the Buckland River through the use of tent and store burning, robbery and beatings. Drowning and severe beatings are believed to have resulted in the death of several Chinese miners. This event has come to be known as the
Buckland Riot The Buckland riot was an anti-Chinese race riot that occurred on 4 July 1857, in the goldfields of the Buckland River (Victoria), Buckland Valley, Victoria (Australia), Victoria, Australia, near present-day Porepunkah. At the time approximately 20 ...
.


Lead-up to the Eureka Stockade

The conditions which led up to the
Eureka Stockade The Eureka Rebellion occurred in 1854, instigated by gold miners in Ballarat Ballarat () is a city in the Central Highlands (Victoria), Central Highlands of Victoria (Australia), Victoria, Australia. In 2018, Ballarat had a population of 1 ...

Eureka Stockade
arose mainly from the actions taken by the Government in supervising the various goldfields. To meet the expense of securing order and to restrain unauthorised mining on Crown land, a local Act of January 1852 imposed on all diggers a licence fee of 30 shillings per month, the penalty for mining without a licence being £6 for the first offence and afterwards imprisonment for terms up to six months. Clause 7 of this Act also appropriated half the fine to the use of the informer or prosecutor, a provocative and irritating provision. In December, 1853, an amending Act reduced the fee to £1 per month, but did not alter the diggers' greatest grievance, that they could be imprisoned for not having the actual licence on them, though their possession of one could be proved from the official record. They were also unrepresented in Parliament, and in 1854 the population on the Ballarat goldfields was estimated at 20,000.
Charles Hotham Sir Charles Hotham, KCB, RN (14 January 180631 December 1855)B. A. Knox,Hotham, Sir Charles (1806–1855), ''Australian Dictionary of Biography The ''Australian Dictionary of Biography'' (ADB or AuDB) is a national co-operative enterprise ...
, who arrived in Victoria in June 1854, was alarmed at the depleted state of the Treasury and the growing expense of goldfields administration. He ordered the police to redouble their exertions in collecting the fees. To miners just scraping by, the payment of £12 per annum was impossible, and there is no doubt that hundreds did endeavour to evade payment, but the innocent suffered with the guilty. The police, too, had been largely recruited from Tasmania, and many were ex-convicts. These grievances were common to all the Victorian fields, and had under Latrobe's administration produced riots at Beechworth and Castlemaine, but Ballarat, always the most domestic of the goldfields, was renowned for its peaceful progressiveness and quietness. On the night of 6 October, however, a Scottish miner named James Scobie was killed at the Eureka Hotel, near Ballarat, and the murdered man's associate accused the proprietor (Bentley, a Tasmanian ex-convict) of the murder. Bentley was brought up before a magistrate, who was alleged to be financially under Bentleys' thumb, and he was discharged. The miners were indignant; a meeting was called and a demand made for a fresh prosecution. The meeting itself was orderly, but towards the end of proceedings a cry was raised that the police (who had been ordered to protect the hotel) were trying to disperse the meeting, and the miners, becoming furious, swept aside the police, smashed the windows and furniture, and burned the building. The police arrested three men- who could not be proved to have been ringleaders or active in the riot, and they were sentenced to three, four, and six months' imprisonment. At an indignation meeting held on 11 November on Bakery Hill, the Ballarat Reform League was formed, with
John Basson Humffray John Basson Humffray (17 April 1824 – 18 March 1891) was a leading advocate in the movement of miner reform process in the British colony of Victoria, and later a member of parliament. Humffray was born in Newtown, Powys, Newtown, Montg ...
(a Welshman) as its first secretary, and
Peter Lalor Peter Fintan Lalor (; 5 February 1827 – 9 February 1889) was an Irish-Australian Irish Australians ( ga, Gael-Astrálaigh) are an ethnic group of Australian citizens of Irish descent, which include immigrants from and descendants who ...

Peter Lalor
, Frederic Vern (a Hanoverian),
Raffaello Carboni Raffaello Carboni (15 December 1817 – 24 October 1875) was an Italian writer, composer and interpreter who wrote a book on the Eureka Stockade which he witnessed while living in Australia. After periods of travelling, he returned to Italy wher ...

Raffaello Carboni
(an Italian teacher, of languages), Timothy Hayes (an Irishman), and George Black, a well-educated Englishman, as prominent members. A deputation of three men waited on Governor Hotham to demand the release of the prisoners, but he refused and had already sent additional troops to Ballarat, which gave considerable offence by marching through the town with fixed bayonets and by other exasperating conduct. On 29 November, Black, Humffray, and Kennedy reported to a mass meeting held at Bakery Hill the result of their deputation to the Governor, and Vern proposed a burning of the hated licences, which was then carried out. Next day the police carried out a specially vicious and vigorous licence-hunt, and when the troops marched back to camp, the diggers hastened to a conference with the leaders of the Reform League. Peter Lalor was elected leader, and under a blue flag adorned with the stars of the Southern Cross the assembled diggers swore 'to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties.' An area of about an acre on the present Eureka site was hastily enclosed with a pallisade and a deputation was sent to the military camp demanding the release of the morning's prisoners and the cessation of licence-hunting. The Commissioner flatly refused the request, saying that the agitation was 'only a cloak to cover a democratic revolution.' On 1 December the occupants of the stockade were hard at work by 5 a.m. drilling and improving the barrier, and a German blacksmith was fashioning pike-heads. But neither food nor ammunition was available within the stockade, so that by the evening of the 2nd after a very hot day, not more than 200 remained within. Spies informed the Commissioner of the situation and about 4.30 a.m. on Sunday morning (3 December) a troop of 276 men was marched silently to the stockade. Inside the stockade only 50 diggers had rifles; there was also a troop of Californian diggers armed with revolvers and another of Irishmen with pikes. Many of them were asleep when the signal gun was fired and a storming party of 64 'rushed' the stockade. In the first volleys several men fell on both sides, but the line of advancing bayonets, flanked on both sides by cavalry and mounted police, was too much for the diggers. They turned to seek shelter and all was over. Of the military force Captain Wise and four private soldiers were killed, and about a dozen injured. Sixteen miners were killed, and at least eight others died of their wounds, 114 prisoners were taken, and Lalor, badly wounded, managed to escape; so did Black and Vern. The Government then offered £500 for the apprehension of Vern, and £200 each for Black and Lalor.


Legacy

Australia's population changed dramatically as a result of the rushes. In 1851 the Australian population was 437,655, of which 77,345, or just under 18%, were Victorians. A decade later the Australian population had grown to 1,151,947 and the Victorian population had increased to 538,628; just under 47% of the Australian total and a seven-fold increase. In some small country towns where gold was found abundantly, the population could grow by over 1000% in a decade (e.g. Rutherglen had a population of about 2,000. Ten years later, it had approximately 60,000 which is a 3000% increase). The rapid growth was predominantly a result of the gold rushes. The gold rush is reflected in the architecture of Victorian gold-boom cities like Melbourne, ,
Ballarat Ballarat () is a city in the Central Highlands of Victoria Victoria most commonly refers to: * Victoria (Australia), a state of the Commonwealth of Australia * Victoria, British Columbia, provincial capital of British Columbia, Canada * Vic ...

Ballarat
,
Bendigo Bendigo is a city in Victoria (Australia), Victoria, Australia, located in the Bendigo Valley near the geographical centre of the state and approximately north-west of Melbourne, the state capital. As of 2019, Bendigo had an urban population of ...

Bendigo
and
Ararat Ararat or in Western Armenian Ararad may refer to: Personal names * Ararat ( hy, Արարատ), a common first name for Armenian males (pronounced Ararad in Western Armenian) * Ararat or Araratian, a common family name for Armenian people, Armenia ...
. Ballarat today has
Sovereign Hill Sovereign Hill is an open-air museum in Golden Point The golden point, a sudden death (sport), sudden death overtime system, is used to resolve drawn football matches. The term is borrowed from soccer's now-defunct golden goal. Rugby league A ...
—a recreation of a gold rush town—as well as the Gold Museum. Bendigo has a large operating gold mine system which also functions as a tourist attraction. The rushes left Victorian architecture in towns in the Goldfields region such as Maldon,
Beechworth Beechworth is a well-preserved historical town located in the north-east of Victoria, Australia Victoria (abbreviated as Vic) is a States and territories of Australia, state in southeastern Australia. It is the second-smallest state with ...
, Clunes,
Heathcote Heathcote may refer to: Places ;in Australia *Heathcote, New South Wales, a suburb of Sydney **Electoral district of Heathcote, a seat in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly **Heathcote National Park **Parish of Heathcote (Cumberland County), ...
, Maryborough, Daylesford, , Beaufort,
Creswick Creswick is a town in west-central Victoria, Australia, Victoria, Australia 18 kilometres north of Ballarat, Victoria, Ballarat and 122 km northwest of Melbourne, in the Shire of Hepburn. It is 430 metres above sea level. At the Census in ...

Creswick
, St Arnaud,
Dunolly Dunolly is a town in Victoria, Australia, Victoria, Australia, located on the Dunolly - Maryborough Road, in the Shire of Central Goldfields. At the Census in Australia#2016, 2016 census, Dunolly had a population of 893, down from 969 in 2006. H ...
, Inglewood, Wedderburn and
Buninyong Buninyong is a town 11 km from Ballarat in Victoria (Australia), Victoria, Australia. The town is on the Midland Highway (Victoria), Midland Highway, south of Ballarat on the road to Geelong. Buninyong was proclaimed a town on 27 June 1851 ...
whose economy has differing emphases on home working, tourism, farming, modern industrial and retired sectors. With the exception of Ballarat and Bendigo, many of these towns were substantially larger than they are today. Most populations moved to other districts when gold played out in a given locality. At the other end of the spectrum ghost towns, such as Walhalla, Mafeking and Steiglitz exist. The last major gold rush in Victoria was at Berringa, south of Ballarat, in the first decade of the 20th century. Gold mining became nothing more than a hobby in Victoria for decades mainly because of the depth and cost of pumping. The First World War also drained Australia of the labour needed to work the mines. More significantly, the prohibition on the export of gold from Australia in 1915 and the abolition of the gold standard, winding down stockpiling of gold and production of sovereigns throughout the Empire saw Australian gold towns shrink, in some cases, being totally abandoned. The slump in gold production never recovered. Gold mining ceased in Stawell in 1920, but recommenced in 1982 and continues as at 2014."150 years of Gold Mining in Victoria."
Stawell Historical Society.
However, as of 2005 the recent increase in the gold price has seen a resurgence in commercial mining activity with mining resuming in both of the major fields of Bendigo and Ballarat. Exploration also proceeds elsewhere, for example, in Glen Wills, an isolated mountain area near Mitta Mitta in north-eastern Victoria.


See also

*
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 Gold is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic ...
*
New South Wales gold rush New South Wales New South Wales (abbreviated as NSW) is a States and territories of Australia, state on the Eastern states of Australia, east coast of :Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria (Australia), Victoria to the south, ...
*
California Gold Rush The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) was a that began on January 24, 1848, when was found by at in . The news of gold brought approximately 300,000 people to from the rest of the United States and abroad. The sudden influx of gold into ...
(1848–1855) * :Victoria (Australia) gold rush river diversions * Colonial liberalism *
Gold rush A gold rush or gold fever is a discovery of gold Gold is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, ...

Gold rush
*
Goldfields region of Victoria Nerrena Fossickers in Nerrena Creek outside Ballarat The Goldfields region of Victoria is a region commonly used but typically defined in both historical geography and tourism geography (in particular heritage tourism). Description It t ...
*
Klondike Gold Rush The Klondike Gold Rush was a migration Migration, migratory, or migrate may refer to: Human migration * Human migration, physical movement by humans from one region to another ** International migration, when peoples cross state boundaries an ...
*
Oriental Claims The Oriental Claims are a former gold Gold is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Au (from la, aurum) and atomic number 79, making it one of the higher atomic number elements that occur naturally. In a pure form, it is a br ...
*
Welcome Stranger The Welcome Stranger is the biggest alluvial gold nugget found, which had a calculated refined weight of .Potter, Terry F. (1999) ''The Welcome Stranger: a definitive account of the worlds largest alluvial gold nugget''. It measured and was ...

Welcome Stranger
* The Cheese Stick, sculpture inspired by the gold rush


References


Further reading

* * * * * * * * *Jan Critchett, (1990), ''A distant field of murder: Western district frontiers, 1834–1848'', Melbourne University Press (Carlton, Vic. and Portland, Or.) *Ian D Clark (1990) ''Aboriginal languages and clans: An historical atlas of western and central Victoria, 1800–1900'', Dept. of Geography & Environmental Science, Monash University (Melbourne), *Ian D Clark (1995), ''Scars in the landscape: A register of massacre sites in western Victoria, 1803–1859'', Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (Canberra), * Ian D Clark (2003) ''‘That's my country belonging to me' – Aboriginal land tenure and dispossession in nineteenth century Western Victoria'', Ballarat Heritage Services, Ballarat.


External links


eGold – Electronic Encyclopedia of Gold in AustraliaWalhallaSovereign HillGold Museum at BallaratPhotos of The Victorian Gold Rush from the State Library of Victoria at Culture Victoria
{{DEFAULTSORT:Victorian Gold Rush Australian gold rushes
Gold rush A gold rush or gold fever is a discovery of gold Gold is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Chemical substance, substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same numbers of protons in their atomic nucleus, ...
19th century in Victoria (Australia) History of Australia (1851–1900) History of mining in Australia Victoria (Australia) gold rushes