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Essay Writing: How Did the Gold Rush Transform Colonial Australia?

Gold rush has incredible impact on transformation of colonial Australia. The colonies within Australia 150 years before comprised of New South Wales, Western Australia, Tasmania, and South Australia. In 1850’s gold rush comes into role and change the colonies into developed cities and carry the nation together. Gold rush has brought out the world by storm by fascination of finding gold. The hotspot area of gold mining was supposed to be in California in USA western coastline. Gold rush has changed the overall societies by building towns and communities surrounding the digging area (Anderson, 2017). Before this discovery, Australia was just an unlegislated residential for people over there. In 1901, within 50 years of gold discovery, it has been transformed into independent country with alliance.

Gold rush has been discovered by Edward Hargrave in 1851 in the regions of New South Wales. It also makes several changes in political, economic and social in Australia. It shows significant growth of nation’s cultural and social development, and politically comes out to be a developed democratic government. Moreover, political influence ‘Eureka Stockade’ was also developed by gold rush, which leads to birth of Australia democracy. Overall, if the impact of gold rush was measured on Australia, then it comes out to be demographic shock with tremendous growth of population, especially in Victoria City (Goodman, 2017).

During this discovery, Hargraves confirmed that this will inevitably going to develop the nation and become a huge turning point for Australia. It makes the nation strong enough to meet the desires of colonial people. This is one of the greatest victories for justice in the history of Australia, because it acts as a crucial step towards democracy (Mountford and Tuffnell, 2018). There was also a small battle of 15 minutes happened due to the arising difficulties from goldfields. Diggers face harsh conditions and the monthly licensing fees that they pay were biased. Due to this, diggers come together into military companies and chose their chief Peter Lalor through elections. When they start to build stockade, then 150 diggers were surrounded by the police authorities and told to leave the stockade. But the diggers refused to do so, which results that troops were do firing on diggers. Due to this battle, 22 diggers and 5 troops were killed. Although diggers lose the battle, but they won the war for greater equality.

At last, the demands of miner’s were fulfilled, including the right to vote, gold commission, and the eradication of licenses. There is still question arise after 150 years of the battle that weather the Eureka Stockade was the reason of democracy, which was in great debate. Results indicated it was success for male miners, however the diggers were unaware about the impact this war will do on Australia’s history. Nation’s independent identity and huge quantity of wealth was brought by the gold. After half century of gold discovery, commonwealth of Australia was established in Bathurst (Janiszewski and Alexakis, 2020).

The first most dramatic change occur by gold rush is the immigration of population in Australia. Gold rumours spread as fire by twinkling the eye, and the population drastically increased by 77 thousand people (1851) to more than 370 thousand during initial year of gold rush. By the year 1854, population was increased incredibly by 540 thousand people, and in 1871, population got tripled by 1.7 million people in Australia. His large-scale development of population demands the country’s development in construction, manufacturing, and agricultural sectors. Another thing is companies or industries had face difficulties due to the migration of labourers in the area of gold discovery. People left their work and engaged themselves into the gold rush places. Agriculture in Victoria places were mostly affected by the event of gold rush. Farmers left their farms and lands for the sake of gold mining. Some of the farmers, change their marketing production to meat and tallow rather than wheat, because they are in more demand by the domestic markets (Anderson, 2018). Moreover, the major export product of Australia, namely sheep wool was also replaced by the gold in first half of 19th century. It appears to be the valuable attractive source of enhancement for Britishers. By the tremendous shipping wealth of Australia, there is huge profit of business investment and imports (Kelobonye et al. 2019).

Golden yield was mostly put out by Victoria in 1852, and became the reason form massive migration in Victoria palaces by approximately 700% in 10 years. Other than this, migration has also been seen in the border places of Australia for the fortune of goldfields (Flatley and Rutherford, 2019). Increment in multicultural goldfields cause offences against the non-Britishers, and particularly against the Chinese. This discovery has also greatly enhanced the socio-cultural environment in Victoria and New South Wales, and had significant growth of gold rush in Melbourne, Ballarat, and Bendigo (Gayko and Biletsky, 2017). Melbourne is found out to be the most liveable country in world, and been the centre of social and cultural development. In period of 1851-1860, half a million people were migrated from Britain and Ireland to Melbourne. Other than this, people of China were also attracted towards the gold of Ballarat, Bending, and other towns (Ommundsen, 2017). More than 40,000 people were brought their exclusive cultural influence on Australia, and decided to build their business over there by staying in the towns until the gold deposits were mined out. This cause a substantial increment in the population of Australia by people of different cultures including America, Italian, Hungarians, French, Polish, and Chinese. This eventually increase the infrastructure, communication, and transportation facilities in the townships of Australia (Bradshaw, 2019).

Transportation by train and major roadways of Bendigo and Ballarat linked with Melbourne were drastically enhanced. The first railways were implemented from Melbourne to the outer areas, regional centres and areas of gold hotspots. Due to this, the exploitation of country’s wealth become more intensive. From 1851-1890, population was increased by almost 10 multiples and Australia become the country of vast economic development. Along with economic benefits, gold rush in Australia brought variety of serious development issues. Due to the immigration of people in Australia, the land gets overcrowded, and it is getting difficult to provide people the appropriate conditions to live. This situation leads to the development of large-scale building projects that fulfil the requirements of housing for all the coming generations of gold diggers in 1880’s (Shaler, 2020).

There are three issues occurs by gold fever which are also mutually dependent, including emerging national identity, population balance, and law. The gold rush also causes the significant amount of exports and imports and trading development of coal and iron, and thereby depicted as the leading economy of whole world. The diggers will become farmers after the gold discovery with extensive growth. Non-Aboriginal population growth increases from 438,000 to 1,168,000 in Australia with 89% colonial income per capita over the decade (Shaler, 2020). Along with the richest economic country in the world, Australia has also strongest social infrastructure, which includes transports, utilities, communication, and education. Stuart Macintyre, a great historian, has compared the current commodities with the commodities boom during gold rush. He concluded that gold rush boom impacts much more as compare to the boom of recent commodities. After 1860’s, Victoria becomes more advance and progressed with high economic standards. However, David Goodman and other historians’ conflicts this and said that in 19th century, there is significant decrease in population of indigenous Australians along with their living standards. Still, rapid amount of economic growth has been observed in Australia, both during after the gold rush, due to which it became leading economy in whole world (Davies et al. 2018).

Lastly, it has been concluded from this essay that the gold rush had cause a major impact on Australia, and become a turning point in the history of Australia. It proved to be major factor for improvement in social and economic spheres of country. The tremendous increment of population in 1850’s leads to innovations in technologies, and also establish independency in the land that is popular for mutual support among citizens and unprecedented cooperation. During 1850’s, gold rush shows positive results for nation, that consists of economic, cultural, political, and social development of the country. Moreover, Eureka Stockade has marvellous impact on history of Australia, which makes it the birthplace of democracy and provides right to individuals to share their opinions to run the government of country. Population, education, immigration, and health was also improved by the upcoming of gold rush. Overall, the gold rush turned Australia into a thriving strong nation with an exhilarating future.


Anderson, K., 2017. Mining’s impact on the competitiveness of other sectors in a resource-rich economy: Australia since the 1840s. Mineral Economics, 31(1-2), pp.141-151.

Anderson, K., 2018. Agricultural development in Australia: 1845–2015. Agricultural Development in the World Periphery, pp.365-387.

Bradshaw, M., 2019. The seven rocks that made Australia. ASEG Extended Abstracts, 2019(1), pp.1-2.

Davies, P., Lawrence, S., Turnbull, J., Rutherfurd, I., Grove, J., Silvester, E., Baldwin, D. and Macklin, M., 2018. Reconstruction of historical riverine sediment production on the goldfields of Victoria, Australia. Anthropocene, 21, pp. 1-15.

Flatley, A. and Rutherford, I. 2019. Rivers, relocation and ruin: the history and legacy of mining river diversions in Victoria. Journal of Australasian Mining History, 17, pp. 37-58.

Gayko, G. and Biletsky, V., 2017. Phenomenon of gold and diamond rushes as territorial, mining and socio-cultural development of continental spaces of North America and Australia (Part I). Skhid, 03(149), pp. 28-35.

Goodman, D., 2017. Rushing for gold: Life and commerce on the goldfields of New Zealand and Australia / Eureka: Australia’s greatest story. Australian Historical Studies, 48(3), pp. 457-459.

Janiszewski, L. and Alexakis, E., 2020. The “Golden Greeks” From “Diggers” to Settlers: Greek Migration and Settlement During the Australian Gold Rush Era, 1850S–1890S. [online]. Available at: http://hdl.handle.net/2328/37397 [Accessed on: 30 September 2020].

Kelobonye, Xia, Swapan, McCarney and Zhou, 2019. Drivers of change in urban growth patterns: A transport perspective from Perth, Western Australia. Urban Science, 3(2), p.40.

Mountford, B and Tuffnell, S. 2018. A global history of gold rushes. Oakland: University of California Press.

Ommundsen, W., 2017. The literatures of Chinese Australia. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature.

Shaler, A., 2020. Indigenous peoples and the California gold rush: labour, violence and contention in the formation of a settler colonial state. Postcolonial Studies, 23(1), pp.79-98.

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