Search the Collection
Advanced Search

The Diggers & Diggings of Victoria as they were in 1852

Date: 1852
Dimensions:
Overall: 151 x 250 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Books and journals
Object Name: Book
Object No: 00046752

User Terms

    Description
    This small booklet contains eight lithographs sketched by goldfields artist S. T. Gill in 1852. It represents the diversity of nationalities present on the diggings and is a valuable visual record of the miner's camps and the conditions they lived in.

    SignificanceThe sketches in this booklet all depict aspects of everyday life on the Australian goldfields. It represents the diversity of people present on the diggings and is a valuable visual record of the miner's camps and the conditions they lived in.

    HistoryGold was found in New South Wales as early as 1823 yet authorities initially suppressed the fact fearing a gold rush would damage the fledgling wool growing economy. The gold rush began in 1851 with thousands of miners descending on Victoria and New South Wales in the hope of finding their fortune. In an attempt to organize the mass of people flooding into the region the government established a system of licenses to finance the administration of the diggings. Any miner who wanted to prospect was required to pay 30 shillings a month for a license and was bound to follow set rules, such as attending Sunday church services and carrying their license on them at all times. License inspections were regularly carried out and those found without were fined or jailed if they had a number of convictions.

    The government's administration of the gold rush raised resentment amongst the miners. The predominant criticism was the costly license fee, which was seen as an exorbitant tax and unfair in view of the uncertainty of returns. The government inspectors were also viewed as overly harsh and oppressive when conducting the extensive license hunts. The tension was further fuelled by political issues such as land policy and voting rights in the colony.

    This resentment eventually culminated in the Eureka stockade at Ballarat in 1854. On 3 December violence erupted as miners exchanged fire with troops during a 20-minute battle that resulted in the deaths of 25 miners and one soldier. The government troops stormed the miners' stockade with diggers defending themselves with revolvers and rifles. As a result of the conflict the Miners' license fee was abolished and replaced by an annual £1 fee called a Miner's Right. The Eureka stockade has been immortalised in Australian folk history and is a favourite topic of poets, novelists, journalists and filmmakers.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: The Diggers & Diggings of Victoria as they were in 1852

    (not entered): The Diggers & Diggings of Victoria as they were in 1852

    Related People

    Discuss this Object

    Comments

    Please log in to add a comment.