Welcome, skip to the content.

Overview

Gold rush history

The discovery of gold in the 1850s and 60s is the most significant event in the evolution of the state of Victoria.

Gold fever hits

Fuelled by extravagant stories of wealth gained at the 1849 Californian gold rush, gold fever hit Victoria following the early gold discoveries in and around Clunes, Warrandyte and Ballarat. But the real rush began with the discovery of the Mount Alexander goldfield 60 kilometres north-east of Ballarat.

Mt Alexander (taking in the goldfields of Castlemaine and Bendigo) was one of the world's richest shallow alluvial goldfields, yielding around four million ounces of gold, most of which was found in the first two years of the rush and within five metres of the surface. When eight tonnes of Victorian gold arrived at London's port in April 1852, the Times of London declared: '... this is California all over again, but, it would appear, California on a larger scale…'

Between 1850 and 1900, Bendigo produced the most gold in the world. Today, the amount found would be worth around nine billion dollars.

Nuggets of the stuff

Mt Alexander goldfield's largest nugget was found in 1855 at Golden Gully by some inexperienced miners who had been sent to a 'duffer' or empty claim. On just their second day digging they discovered the 1008 ounce, 'damper-shaped' nugget and named it in honour of the area's popular gold commissioner, Mr Heron.

The small town of Moliagul became famous when a 69-kilogram gold nugget was found in 1869 at Bulldog Gully. Dubbed 'Welcome Stranger', the nugget was the largest in the world, though it was soon broken into pieces as the district lacked scales big enough to weigh the 60 by 30 centimetre nugget. Today the nugget would be worth over one million dollars.

Population boom

By the end of 1852, 90,000 newcomers had flocked to Victoria in search of gold. Provincial cities like Ballarat and Bendigo grew, bringing railways, roads, libraries, theatres, art galleries and stock exchanges.

In the 1850s the heaviest traffic in Australia was on the road from Melbourne to Bendigo, and by the 1880s Melbourne was christened 'Marvellous Melbourne' – one of the world's biggest, booming and cosmopolitan cities of the era.

Gold rush history

Eureka Stockade

Take some time out to visit the famous site that has come to represent popular struggle and has been called the birthplace of Australian democracy.

We couldn't find any results that matched your search criteria.

Try changing your filters or search terms to try again.

Discover

Gold rush history

Museums

Gold Museum

The Gold Museum extends Sovereign Hill's story of Ballarat - a majestic provincial city built on the wealth derived from the great Australian...

Gold rush history

Blood on the Southern Cross

Blood on the Southern Cross tells the dramatic story of the Eureka Uprising by Ballarat's miners against unjust and corrupt colonial rulers. The...

Coach tours

380 - Sovereign Hill

Gray Line Melbourne

Join Gray Line and get a taste for Victoria's rich Gold-rush history. In 1850 the world focused on Ballarat as the cry "Gold" echoed around the...

From $74.50 - $149

Museums

Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka

Delve into the stories of the Eureka Stockade, its impact on democracy and freedom in Australia and around the world, in an award-winning museum.

Tours

Ballarat Discovery Tours

Golden Nugget Discovery Tours

Golden Nugget Discovery Tours are a leading Ecotourism operator with three high class tours of Ballarat. The Ballarat Discovery tour is a full day...

Gold rush history

Sovereign Hill

Strike it rich with a day out in 1850s Ballarat and pan for gold, ride in a horse-drawn carriage and relive the Eureka Rebellion with sound and light.

Tours

Ararat & Western Ranges Discovery Tour

Golden Nugget Discovery Tours

Golden Nugget Discovery Tours conducts small group Ecotourism tours of western and central Victoria. Journey to the Western Goldfields of Victoria....

Walking tours

Ballarat Heritage Tours

Ballarat Heritage Tours

Ballarat Heritage Tours invites you to 'Discover the City Build by Gold', on this fully guided walking tour, exploring historic downtown Ballarat....

From $15 - $65

Gold rush history

Ballarat General Cemeteries

Remembering the Past, Caring for the Present and Planning for the Future. The Ballarat Old Cemetery has over 30,000 interments and is rich in...

Gold rush history

Central Deborah Gold Mine

Gear up in overalls, a miner's hat and lamp and head into underground tunnels in search of gold in a key mine from Bendigo's 19th century gold rush.

Tours

Bendigo Discovery Tour

Golden Nugget Discovery Tours

Golden Nugget Discovery Tours takes you on a journey to the gold rush city of Bendigo. Bendigo in the 1880's, was deemed the richest city in the...

Gold rush history

Victorian Goldfields Railway

Victorian Goldfields Railway is an authentic steam railway linking the historic gold mining towns of Castlemaine and Maldon in Central Victoria....

{{::item.Label}}

{{::item.Title}}

{{::item.SubTitle}}

{{::accreditation.Alt}}
{{::item.EventDates[0]}}
{{::item.PriceRange}}
{{::item.MoreDatesText}}
{{::date}}