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Millions of people across Australia are currently experiencing lockdowns due to the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic. The Museum is currently closed and just like the rest of you, we’re trying to stay entertained and engaged while working from home.

So we thought we’d share some games, history and fun with you to help weather these lockdowns.

Gold Rush Game

Screenshot of the Gold Rush interactive - click to view larger image
Gold Rush Game

Many have turned to the cardboard comfort and familiarity of board games to provide relief during lockdowns. We’re doing one better and sharing one of our digital interactives – our Gold Rush Game.

The discovery of gold in the 1850s started as a series of rushes that transformed the Australian colonies. The first discoveries of payable gold were at Ophir in New South Wales, and then at Ballarat and Bendigo Creek in Victoria.

In 1851 gold-seekers from around the world began pouring into the colonies, changing the course of Australian history. The gold rushes greatly expanded Australia’s population, boosted its economy, and led to the emergence of a new national identity.

So, do you think you can you strike it rich during the Gold Rush?

Federation wheat

Nothing tastes or smells as good as a fresh loaf of bread. During lockdowns Australians have developed a newfound love and appreciation of baking, with sourdough starter infiltrating homes across the country. Words like ‘proof’ and ‘rise’ have become cyphers that denote a true lockdown survivor.

The history of wheat in Australia is a long and interesting one, with wheat being one of the first crops planted by colonists in 1788. Initial harvests were poor but soon the grain had become Australia’s most important crop.

Due to black stem rust, a devastating wheat disease, harvests decreased in the 19th century. William Farrer produced Federation wheat, the first specifically Australian variety that was both rust- and drought-resistant.

William Farrer with De Salis Family.

De Salis family with William Farrer who produced Federation wheat

Wheat has become Australia’s largest and most valuable crop. More than 50 per cent of Australia’s cropped land is planted with wheat. In 2014–15 almost 30,000 farmers were responsible for growing over $7.1 billion worth of wheat.

Fun at Home

The Museum has developed over 40 hands on craft activities that are great for children and adults alike. You can learn, play and create by using materials found at home and in nature. We’re partial to a starfish painting and toy pig, but choose your favourite!

Make your own toy pig 5:27

See our step-by-step toy pig instructions or explore our other activities

We’ll keep bringing objects, collections, exhibitions and programs from the vault as part of the Museum from Home experience. Stay tuned!

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In our collection

Board for Race to the Gold Diggings board gameA hand coloured, lithographic printed, paper board game in eight sections mounted onto a sheet of linen support material. The title of the board game, "Race to the Gold Diggings of Australia" has been printed in black across the central oval pictorial section of the game which features a detailed visual representation of a gold ...
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