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Uncovering Australia’s Gold Rush: 11 Facts for Kids

From 1851, many workers were moving from overseas and within Australia towards the discoveries of gold. a very small amount of gold was discovered in a waterhole, near Bathurst in New South Wales, Australia. This discovery opened the door, and the Australian gold rush involved many people relocating to goldfields worldwide.

Below mentioned are some interesting and informative Australian gold rush facts.

Australian Gold Rush Facts

australian gold rush facts
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The gold rush greatly impacted the Australian colonies’ social, political, and, most importantly, economic aspects. The last gold rush ended in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, in 1893.

1. Discovery Of Alluvial Gold

The first gold rush occurred after the discovery of the Alluvial Gold. This gold was easily found in streams and rivers and could be extracted easily with the help of basic equipment like a dish and a spade.

australian gold rush facts
Photo by Jingming Pan on Unsplash

The gold miners needed to work in a group and create big tunnels to get the surface gold that was buried deeper. Therefore, companies were built to raise money for building deep gold mines.

2. Australia Found Gold Before 1851

australian gold rush facts
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A geologist named Reverend William Branwhite Clarke found gold in the soil of the Blue Mountains. Unfortunately, his discovery of gold was muted by New South Wales Government, Mr Gipps.

The British government feared the gold rush would start a fight between the convicts and ex-convicts of New South Wales. He also thought people would leave their daily work to make money out of goldfields, thus disrupting the economic background of the country.

3. The First Discovery Of Gold Was Made On 12 February 1851

australian gold rush facts
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A person named Hargraves had a strong instinct to find gold nearby and found gold near Bathurst. In February 1851, he worked around Lewis Pond Creek; luckily, Australian gold was found.

He saw a shine on the pan filled with gravelly soil and drained into the water when he discovered specks of gold. He was rewarded with £10,000 by the government when it was confirmed that his soil samples indeed had gold.

4. Gold Discoverer Of Australia – Edward Hargraves

Edward Hargraves is called the gold discoverer of Australia. He worked as a farmer, sailor as well as a storekeeper

Although he participated California gold rush but unfortunately made no fortune out of it. However, he gained a lot of information and knowledge, which he utilized during the Australian gold diggings.

australian gold rush facts
Image by PollyDot from Pixabay

5. The Discovery Of Gold Was Made Public On 14 May 1851

The discovery of Gold By Hargraves gave birth to New South Wales gold rushes. After the gold was found on 12 May, the Sydney Morning Herald announced the gold discovery by Hargraves on 14 May. Since then, the intense Australian gold rush has begun.

Within the next day, more than 300 gold diggers were already on the mining site to find gold. The people of South Australia crossed and travelled across the forest and streams hoping for gold discoveries. It was the commencement of the first Australian gold rush period. Ophir in New South Wales discovered the first payable gold.

6. The Victorian Gold Rush

Discovered in July of 1851, the Victorian Colony suffered a rapid loss of population as all of the inhabitants took part in the Australian gold rushes and gathered in neighbouring New South Wales.

To stop this situation, the government of Victoria rewarded £200 to whoever discovered gold 200 miles from Melbourne. However, great gold mines and deposits were found in Ballarat, Bendigo, Castlemaine, and Buninyong before the year ended.

Thus, these gold mine discoveries surpassed the goldfields of New South Wales. The Victorian colony was accountable for over a third of Australian gold rushes and gold findings worldwide.

7. New South Wales Found The Biggest Mass Of Gold

Bernhardt Otto Holtermann discovered the massive gold mass on 19 October 1872 in the Star of Hope mine. Named the “Holtrermann Nugget“, the gold stuck weighed 92.5 kg, making Holtermann very rich. He melted the gold, and today the gold is worth 5.2 million Australian dollars.

australian gold rush facts
Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

8. The Australian Gold Rush Opened The Gates Of Australia

More than 500,000 gold diggers ran away from different continents, searching for fortune and gold in Australia. The migrants travelled from Poland, the USA, China, Germany, and Britain.

By the end of 1871, the population of Australia had increased to 1.7 million from 430,000 inhabitants.

9. The Colonial Budget Was Struggling

australian gold rush facts
Image Source: Depositphotos

The colonial budget of the country started suffering due to the increase in the Australian population. However, the Victorian Government and the New South Wales Government made an obligation for a license fee for the gold miners of 30 shillings a month.

10. Conflict With the British Colonial State

The miners from Victoria and Ballarat did not like the administration of the gold fields run by the colonial government. Therefore, the miners started objecting and built an enclosure at the Eureka gold diggings.

On the 3rd of December, 6 soldiers and 22 prospectors were killed when the colonial government people attacked the protected enclosure.

11. The Gold Rushes Impacted Australia’s National Identity

The gold miners forced a strong identity separate from the authority of the colonial British. The identity focused on the concept of “mateship” among the men, a bond of equality, solidarity, and loyalty.

The term “mateship” had such a huge impact on Australia that it has been a part of Australian identity and is included in the Australian Constitution.


There was also a darker side to the Australian gold rush facts. The Australians who worked as gold miners received very low pay and were forced to work in the gold mines. Due to harsh conditions and overworking, some miners lost their lives, and their personal life was disturbed.

Many miners also took their own lives, and some died of illness caused by working in unfortunate conditions at the gold mine diggings.

Ankita M Bose
Ankita M Bose
Ankita has completed her Masters in English and has a great interest in traveling and exploring beautiful destinations. She loves writing travel contents and also keeps an interest in exploring beautiful Australian beaches, deserts and wildlife. She will guide you through some of the popular and exciting destinations to visit in Australia from her research.

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