Australian Gold Rush
Searching for Gold
Very little amount of gold was found in New South Wales. But in February 1851 a man named Edward Hargraves found gold near Bathurst and the word quickly spread. Within a week there were over 400 people by June there were over 2000 people at Bathurst. They named the goldfield Ophir after a city of gold in the bible.
What is Gold?
Gold is a rare metal. Gold can be mixed in river sand. Some people wash river sand to find gold. But most people dig under ground to find gold. Big lumps are called nuggets.
Women on the Goldfields
The Early Years
In the early years there were a few of women on the goldfields. Some women were diggers but others were shopkeepers. Most women stayed home with their children and lived on very little money while their husbands travelled. A few years after that the women and the children joined them.
Life on the Australian Goldfields
There were a few doctors or chemists for the diggers but many of the doctors were not qualified.
Fresh food for the diggers were limited. The basic diet was mutton, damper and bread that was made from flour water and salt and their drink was tea.
Clean water was short supply because the diggers muddied up all the creeks.
The Eureka Stockade
The Attack on the Eureka Stockade
In the early hours on Sunday the 3rd of December
Several hundred of soldiers and police attacked the Stockade. The battle lasted about 20 minutes , 22 miners and 5 soldiers died.
The Eureka flag was flown
On the 11th of November 1854 about 10000 diggers met to demand there miners to be released and to demand the licence system to be dropped, and that all males to be allowed to vote. The Governor refused to pardon them but on the 29th of November they displayed their new flag.