The Gold Rush in Australia of the 1850s

A look at the causes and effects of the gold rush in Australia.

A look at the events that lead to the gold rush in Australia during the 1850’s. The author looks at the end of Australia’s depression, Australian labor and new mining techniques and skills as prospective contributors. The author also examines the effects of the Gold Rush for Australia.
“Payable gold was discovered in Australia due to several factors. The combination of prospecting expertise and new, efficient methods of extraction being applied together with the necessary publicity at a time when gold had the world’s attention and Australia was coming out of a depression that had crippled its wool staple provided the impetus for the gold rushes of 1851.Gold had been discovered in quantity as early as 1829 and it has been argued that Governor Gipps and other colonial authorities had prevented the rise of gold mining prior to 1851. Certainly the idea of a British prisoner being transported to a land of gold hardly seems like punishment. However, the more likely cause for earlier discoveries not precipitating gold rushes was the ancient British law that held all precious metals mined to be the property of the Crown. Richard Cotter has suggested that the exodus of Australian labor to the California fields and the depression of the 1840s modified official attitudes to gold. Cotter believes that prior to Edward Hammond Hargraves? efforts gold had been easier to find than to exploit. New mining techniques and prospecting skills along with the mineral search spurred by the depression of the 1840s proved crucial according to Cotter.”