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Australia’s gold rush began this week in 1851

Michael McLaren

Malcolm Drinkwater, Researcher, lecturer, author & owner/curator of History Hill Museum at Hill End, joins Michael regarding the history behind Australia’s gold rush which began in 1851 when Edward Hargraves, accompanied by John Lister, found five specks of alluvial gold at Ophir near Orange in February 1851.

This discovery, instigated by Hargraves, led directly to the beginning of the gold rush in New South Wales.

Hargraves had been to the Californian goldfields and had learned new gold prospecting techniques such as panning and cradling. He was offered rewards by the Colony of New South Wales and the Colony of Victoria.

Before the end of the year, the gold rush had spread to many other parts of the state where gold had been found, not just to the west, but also to the south and north of Sydney.

This was the first gold rush in Australia and was in full operation by May 1851, even before it was officially proclaimed on 14 May 1851, with already an estimated 300 diggers in place by 15 May 1851.

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Michael McLaren
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