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Gold! Gold is found in rocks and in the ground. People came to look for gold in Australia.
The news of gold discoveries in Australia captured the imagination of the world and sparked a massive influx of immigration to the young colony of Australia. In the early years of the gold rush, NSW and Victoria were the gold mining centres and attracted thousands of hopeful diggers. In March 1851, Victoria’s population was 80,000, not including Aborigines. By 1854 the population tripled to 237,000 and by 1861 it had doubled again to 540,000. The New South Wales gold fields were poorer but the state’s population increased from 200,000 in 1851 to 357,000 in 1861.
The bonanza in California was only the beginning. An Australian named Edward Hammond Hargraves, who had been there, was certain that the same geological features were to be found in his own country. Returning on the boat from California late in 1850, he predicted that he would find gold within a week.
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.