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Discovery of gold and life on the gold fields during the 1850s.

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Presentation on theme: "Discovery of gold and life on the gold fields during the 1850s."— Presentation transcript:

1 Discovery of gold and life on the gold fields during the 1850s

2 Introduction Before the introduction of licences in 1851, any gold found was property of the British government In 1851 Edward Hargraves found gold in Ophir, NSW, creating the first Aussie gold rush. Melbourne based business people were scared of losing workers and profit to Gold Fever in NSW, so they offered a reward to discover gold near Melbourne Gold was quickly found in July 1851, the same month Victoria became a colony, in Warrendyte, Clunes, Ballarat, Castlemaine and Bendigo.

3 GOLD FEVER ATTACKS! The discovery of gold near Melbourne did not stop the exodus of able-bodied workers to the new gold fields By 1852, half of Victorias male population was at the diggings. These men become known as Diggers Deserted women and children now faced poverty As 100,000 immigrants arrived within 3 years to join the rush, the increase in population could not be matched by an increased production of necessities – this caused price hikes on everything and forced poverty

4 Looking for alluvial gold The earliest diggers searched for alluvial gold Alluvial gold is gold that, over millions of years, is washed out of quartz reefs and carried along and deposited by rivers. Diggers panned for gold by flushing earth-filled metal dishes with water, hoping that the heavier gold would remain at the bottom of the pan. Others used a wooden cradle and would rock and shake the earth in the cradle with water to separate the gold.


6 The reality of gold digging People thought gold would be easy to find, and would get rich quick But digging was hard work, with heat and dust in summer to mud and cold in winter Diggers were joined by swarms of flies & mozzies The alluvial gold in river beds was quickly found leading to men digging deeper

7 Living conditions Men lived without their families in tents Diet was not adequate, due to high prices, making men neglect their health Drinking water was polluted by the panning or cradling and by the sewage that escaped from the thousands of holes miners used as toilets The lack of fresh water meant men did not wash regularly These appalling living conditions lead to diseases like typhoid and dysentery – both water borne diseases

8 Source 2: W.B.Withers, History of Ballarat, facsimile edition., 1980, p.36) the green banks of the Yarrowee were lined with tubs and cradles, its clear waters were changed to liquid yellow... and its banks grew to be long shoals of a few weeks the green slopes where the prospectors found the gold... the appearance of a fresh and rudely made burial ground.

9 Source 3: Boxing Saloon, Ballarat 1854, S. T. Gill

10 Source 4: Butchers shop 1852, by S. T. Gill

11 Conclusion - Failure Many men did not find their fortunes, and any money they did make they wasted on booze and entertainment As the initial gold rush lessened, families did begin to join the miners, creating well established settlements with grocer shops, schools, barbers, and theatre halls. But overall the goldfields were not a very pleasant place for most people As we will see many diggers often took the law into their own hands

12 Questions 1. Name the methods of obtaining gold shown in source 1 2. What information do sources 1-3 provide about life on the goldfields? Refer to all the sources in your answer. 3. Refer to source 4. What is there about the appearance of the butcher that suggests his business is successful?

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