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.


5 - 8


Geography, Human Geography, Social Studies, World History

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On February 12, 1851, a prospector discovered flecks of gold in a waterhole near Bathurst, New South Wales (NSW), Australia. In five short years, more than a million people came to the area as part of the Australian Gold Rush. Most of these prospectors, nicknamed “diggers”, were from other parts of Australia. Other diggers came from Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, Poland, and China. Many experienced diggers came to Australia from the United States, where they had been part of the California Gold Rush! These diggers endured a harsh climate and a long conflict with local police. The shared experience created a close bond that Australians call “mateship.” This concept of “mateship . . . [has] been central to the way [Australian] history has been told,” according to the Australian government.

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National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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