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Gold in Victoria

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Gold in Victoria

Did you know the largest nugget in the world, 'Welcome Stranger', was found in Victoria in 1869 and weighed 75 kilograms?

In 2015, a Victorian man found a gold nugget weighing 2.7 kilograms near Bendigo!

Mining and migration

The earliest gold in Victoria was found on the surface. Miners used simple picks and pans to separate gold from rock, soil and water.

People rushed to the goldfields from places including the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe and China. Sometimes there was conflict.

The miners needed goods and services and businesses such as butchers and blacksmiths flourished. When the surface gold ran out, miners dug deep into the ground.

Click on the photos below for more information

  • A colour sketch of six Aboriginal people and two dogs camped by a small waterway. A man and a dog drink from the water in the foreground while three adults, two children and a dog sit by a small fire.
    Aboriginal country
  • A colour drawing showing four men searching for gold beside a small waterway. Three men inf the foreground are using small shallow pans, while a fourth in the distance carries a pick on his shoulder.
    Panning for gold
  • A playing board with three sailing ship markers and a dice, in front of a box with 'RACE TO THE GOLD DIGGINGS' printed on the sliding lid, and a printed rule sheet.
  • Colour photograph of a set of small scales with a long white rod at top and a small disc hanging at one end, alongside a suspended concave tray. Small pieces of a gold-coloured substance are piled on the tray.
  • Colour photograph of a multi-coloured embroidered garment on a mannequin.
    Chinese costume
  • Colour photograph of two embroidered slipper-style shoes with upturned toes and pink and green pompoms at the end.
    Chinese shoes
  • Colour photograph of a small set of hanging scales in a wooden case.
    Banjo scales
  • A godl nugget with a rough and irregular shape and surface.
    Bealiba gold nugget
  • Studio photograph of a metal spike tapering to a point, with a double twist on the shaft and a rounded end.
    Blacksmith's candle spike
  • A colour illustration of a butcher leaning on a post outside a slab hut. Cuts of meat hang from the hut's verandah roof. A dog sits at the door and a man carrying a sack over his shoulder stands looking at a cut of meat.
    Butcher's shop
  • Black and white sketch showing a group of men working around the wooden frame of a tent. Gum trees are dispersed among a landscape of other tents and men in the distance.
  • A colour illustration of three men working at a gold mine. One man stands atop a pile, scooping dirt into a bucket and another stands watching, holding a shovel. A horse with loaded cart stands at centre, watched by a man with a whip resting on his shoulder.
    Deep sinking
  • Colour illustration of two men working beside a waterway. One man crouches, holding a shallow pan over the water. The second man stands, smoking a pipe, watching the pan.
  • Short-handled pick with a timber handle.
    Mining pick
  • Studio photograph of a timber construction, with a sieve at top, handle at the back and reinforced metal corners.
    Gold washing cradle


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