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The first gold rush in Australia began in 1851 when prospector Edward Hargraves claimed the discovery of payable gold near Bathurst , New South Wales at a site he called Ophir . [ 1 ] Eight months later, gold was found in Ballarat and Bendigo in Victoria causing large influxes of prospectors . Australia's total population more than tripled from 430,000 in 1851 to 1.7 million in 1871. [ 2 ] In 1885, following a call by the Western Australian government for a reward for the first find of payable gold, a discovery was made at Halls Creek , sparking a gold rush in that state. [ edit ] Notable gold finds Large gold specimen from the Ballarat mines, weight over 150 grams, size 7.4×4.4×2.3 cm. Some important early gold finds in the colonies were:
JCF Johnson, A Game of Euchre , col. wood engraving, Australasian Sketcher Supplement [Melbourne], 25 December, 1876. Image courtesy of the : nla.pic-an8927787. The gold rushes of the nineteenth century and the lives of those who worked the goldfields - known as '' - are etched into our national . There is no doubt that the gold rushes had a huge effect on the Australian economy and our development as a nation.
The transportation of convicts to Australia was phased out between 1840 and 1868. By 1860, the continent of Australia had been divided into FIVE separate colonies (not officially states yet, mate but seperation away from New South Wales), each not seeing eye-to-eye and exhibiting more loyalty to London to each other. A major force within the colonies was the “squatocracy” – the rich officers and settlers a.k.a. opportunists who had followed the explorers into fertile hinterlands.
Gold! Gold is found in rocks and in the ground. People came to look for gold in Australia.