Welcome, skip to the content.


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.

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

Try changing your filters or search terms to try again.


Gold rush history

6 of 7 results

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.

Gold rush history

Ballarat General Cemeteries

The Ballarat Old Cemetery has over 30,000 interments and is rich in Ballarat's history commencing from the gold rush days. Enjoy a walk through the...

Gold rush history

Victorian Goldfields Railway

Get the kids together for a memorable day out on this authentic steam railway, linking the historic gold mining towns of Castlemaine and Maldon.


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

Fortuna Villa

Fortuna Villa in Bendigo has very few, if any, parallels. Built over several decades during the Victorian gold rush from the 1850’s to the1890’s by...

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.


Join a tour

Gold rush history

You may also like...