How it all started


In the early 1850’s, Australia saw many different turning points. Convicts who had fulfilled their sentence were allowed to stay in Australia and find work, bushland was turned into farm land and Australia was becoming colonised by the British Government.

One of the most significant milestones in Australian history in the 1850’s was the official find of Gold.


Edward Hargraves (right) was the gold prospector who officially started the Australian Gold Rush in February 1851.

Governor_George_Gipps.jpgFinds were made before this but the Governor of NSW George Gipps (right) told them not to report their finds as he feared that if the news got out there was Gold in Australia, people from the towns would pack up and leave in search for their own fortune.

Hargraves originally tried his luck looking for Gold in California but after little success he decided to take the skills he had learnt and return to NSW Australia to try prospecting for Gold there because he noticed both California and Australia had many geological similarities.

panning_for_gold_in_Ophir.jpgWhile on his way to Bathurst, Hargraves stopped at an Inn in Lewis Pond Creek. While at the inn he saw samples of quartz rock, the same that gold was found in in California. He also remembered hearing stories of Gold being found in Lewis Pond Creek two years previously.

One morning Edward Hargraves, along with his guide John Lister (John_Lister.jpgright) who was the son of the inn owner, set out to Lewis Ponds Creek to find gold. Upon coming closer to the creek bed Hargraves used the techniques he’d learnt while in California and dug a pan into the earth. He then washed away the excess soil and water and found gold. Hargraves then washed another five panfuls of soil and all but one produced gold.

“Hargraves later wrote about his discovery: ‘I told Lister that there was gold under his feet, and that I would now find it. He stared with incredulous amazement.’”

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Barwick, J. & J. (2001). The Gold Rushes – Milestones in Australian History. Port Melbourne Victoria: Reed Educational & Professional Publishing

Image – Australian Map
Fine & Rare Books Maps & Prints. (October 2010) Retrieved October 2010, from the GARWOOD & VOIGT web site:

Image – Edward Hargraves
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Image – Governor of NSW George Gipps
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Image – panning for Gold in Ophir (Lewis Pond Creek)
Panning for gold in Summer Hill Creek, Ophir. [n.d.]. Retrieved October 2010 from: