Changes in Victoria

Population changes from 1851-1861

Why did the population increase?

The Gold Rush had a massive effect on the population of Victoria. Between 1851 and 1861 the population grew from approximately 97,000 people to over half a million people because of the gold rush. Over 400,000 people came from countries all over the world such as; China, North America, Europe and all over Australia. The Gold Rush attracted people because many- rich and poor- viewed it as an opportunity to either become rich, or richer. The people that migrated from overseas were at first, mostly men- but over time their families began to make their way over too- making the population of Victoria larger and more multicultural.


Before the Gold Rush, majority of the population of Victoria was British, however as more and more people travelled to Australia- the number of people that were not British increased greatly- especially that of the Chinese. Between 1854 and 1855- around 31,000 Chinese arrived in Melbourne. 18,000 arrived from America and 15,000 from European countries excluding Britain and by 1861 only 29% of the population were Australian.


As most of the Victorian population was white- the Chinese immigrants were not respected, and had to deal with a lot of racism directed at them. In 1855 the Victorian Government imposed a £10 tax for each Chinese person arriving in the colony. There were many attacks made on Chinese miners, including when, in 1857 120 miners attacked a Chinese camp- stole their gold and burt their tents and belongings. Many of the Chinese died as a result of the fire.There were also many cartoon like pictures of the Chinese in newspapers depicting them as evil and untrustworthy.