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1854

The lure of instant wealth drew people from all over the world to the Victorian goldfields, but life was hard and only a few struck it rich. Click on the images below for photos, videos and more information. Suitable for years 3 to 6.

Discovery of gold

Gold was first found in Ophir, near Bathurst, New South Wales, in 1851, and shortly afterwards in Victoria.

Over the following decades, gold was also discovered elsewhere in Australia.

Whenever gold was found, people rushed to the diggings from nearby cities as well as overseas. New towns sprang up, and Australia’s population skyrocketed.

A painting of a group of men working by a river, with tents in the background.
'Gold Washing' at Ophir, near Bathurst in New South Wales, 1851, by George French Angas. National Museum of Australia.

Did you know?

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!

How much do you know about the Victorian goldfields? Check out the Kids learning space pages above, then see how many answers you can get right!

Start the Victorian goldfields
online quiz

Watch the videos

Dr Clare Wright discusses the role of women on the Victorian goldfields.

Women on the goldfields 2:17

Sovereign Hill Museums Association

'Eureka Stockade' on ABC TV's Behind the News website
Including footage from Sovereign Hill. Duration: 3:58.

'The famous Bakery Hill speech' from Eureka Stockade on the ABC Education website
Audio recital of Eureka leader Peter Lalor's speech. Duration: 15:56.

Additional resources

Collection highlights

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