The Aussie Gold Rush

find out about one of Australia most iconic events

What is gold?

Gold is a rare yellow heavy metal. Gold will melt at 1000 degrees Celsius. This soft metal can be found in caves, rivers, creeks and lakes. If gold is found in a river it is most likely found by panning. If gold is found in a cave then it has been mined for. Small bits of gold are called flakes and big bits are called nuggets. Gold is used for electronics, jewellery and even on food!


In 1823 James Mc Brien found traces of gold in the Fish River, but this discovery was not what started the gold rush. This gold discovery was kept a secret. In 1851 Edward Hargraves found a grain of gold in a water hole near Bathurst. Word spread across the world that gold was being found in Australia, it was then that people from around the world travelled to Australia. People from England, Ireland, USA, France, Germany, Switzerland, China, Holland, Italy and Canada came rushing to Australia to hopefully make a fortune through the discovery of gold. This was the start of the gold rush.

life on the goldfields

The word that gold had been found spread quickly this made not just diggers come but people from many varied professions such as shopkeepers, butchers, merchants, lawyers and doctors. Many people in the varied professions thought, ‘well now that there is a gold rush people will need food and water so I will go and sell it to them.’

Things got hard when the Queen found that so many people were digging and mining for gold. The Queen said, ‘now Australia belongs to me and if you want to dig for gold you need to buy a licence from me that will cost 30 shillings.’ Thirty shillings was a lot of money because you had to pay the licence whether or not you found gold.

What about the food? It was horrible. The miner’s diets included mutton, damper and tea. Fresh fruit and vegetables were hard to find, even water was rare. Living conditions were bad. When the miners first arrived they lived in calico tents, then later log and stone cabins were built. When life conditions were bad the diggers slept on makeshift mats stuffed with leaves.

the Eureka Stockade

Bang this was the constant sound that echoed around the Eureka Stockade on December the 3rd at noon on Bakery Hill. But how did this happen? The miners sent a letter to the governor about the poor living conditions and having a right to vote, stop paying for miner’s licences. The governor didn’t agree that all these things should be changed. He denied the letters from the diggers and went on with his day. The miners got mad and on the 29 of November the met at Bakery Hill and chose Peter Laylor as the Leader of the miners. They set up a stockade and lit a fire to burn all their licences The troops thought it was taking it too far. The miners disagreed. On December the 3rd the troops fought against each other. 38 lives were lost 5 troops and 33 miners.