ON THIS DAY Australia announces the discovery of gold | New Coin Releases

ON THIS DAY Australia announces the discovery of gold

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An extraordinary occasion in the history of Australia occurred on this day in 1851. In a bold step, the Government of New South Wales created the official announcement of the discovery of gold.

Prior to 22 Might 1851, colonial authorities had hushed up such news for worry of its impact on convicts. When William Branwhite Clarke located gold in the Blue Mountains ten years earlier, for example, Governor Gipps told him: “Put it away, Mr Clarke, or we shall all have our throats reduce.”

Edward Hargraves, a man with a flair for publicity, was far more tough to preserve quiet. When his party located gold in 1851 at a location in New South Wales they named Ophir, Hargraves rode to Sydney to press the Colonial Secretary into publicly recognising the feat.


Ophir Bluff, where gold was very first identified in Australia.

The official announcement sparked a gold frenzy. “A complete mental madness appears to have seized virtually each member of the community. There has been a universal rush to the diggings,” the newspapers reported.

The race to uncover more deposits was on and just six months later gold was uncovered in neighbouring Victoria in what turned out to be massive quantities at Ballarat and then Bendigo.

As guys abandoned their jobs in Australia and headed for the mine web sites, news spread far and wide. A large new influx of migrants began arriving, many fresh from the Californian gold rush. In 1852 alone, much more than 350,000 immigrants disembarked on Australian shores and quite quickly their numbers outstripped the current convict population.

As properly as English, Scots and Irish, newcomers integrated Americans, French, Italians, Germans, Poles and Chinese as Australia took on a distinctly cosmopolitan air.

Panning for Gold

Gold field towns sprang up with stores, hotels and workshops all servicing the needs of this huge number of miners and their equipment.

The amazing wealth produced by gold would quickly be adequate to transform Melbourne from a straggling colonial town into 1 of the richest cities in the globe and the second largest in the British Empire!

The effect of gold was felt in a lot of social, cultural and political techniques. Throughout the Eureka Rebellion of 1854, Victorian miner’s fought against the unfairness of the Miner’s Licence. Their achievement (at the cost of over 20 lives) was noticed as a key occasion in the improvement of Australian democracy.

The ‘mateship’ exhibited by 19th century gold ‘diggers’ in their defiance of authority was reflected in stories about Australian troops at Gallipoli in 1915, by which time these traits had become basic to the emerging sense of an Australian national identity.

In brief, gold was a powerful driving force in Australia’s transformation from giant open-air prison into a progressive, independent nation with outstanding possible.


The Perth Mint Coin Collector

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