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HISTORIC ARTICLE
HISTORIC ARTICLE

Feb 12, 1851 CE: Australian Gold Rush Begins

Feb 12, 1851 CE: Australian Gold Rush Begins

On February 12, 1851, the Australian Gold Rush began in New South Wales, Australia.

Grades

4 - 9

Subjects

Geography, Human Geography, Social Studies, World History

Selected text level

On February 12, 1851, a prospector discovered flecks of gold in a waterhole near Bathurst, New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Soon, even more gold was discovered in what would become the neighboring state of Victoria. This began the Australian Gold Rush, which had a profound impact on the country’s national identity. Within a year, more than 500,000 people (nicknamed “diggers”) rushed to the gold fields of Australia. Most of these immigrants were British, but many prospectors from the United States, Germany, Poland, and China also settled in NSW and Victoria. Even more immigrants arrived from other parts of Australia. Wages in the region doubled, but it was still difficult to find workers as people abandoned their stable jobs to seek their fortune in the gold fields. These “diggers” forged a strong, unified identity independent of colonial British authority. This concept of “mateship . . . [has] been central to the way [Australian] history has been told,” according to the Australian government.

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Writer
National Geographic Society
Producer
National Geographic Society
other
Last Updated

June 2, 2022

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