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A Race to the Gold Diggings of Australia, board

Date: c 1855
Overall: 487 x 330 mm
Medium: Linen, paper ink
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Board game board
Object No: 00006083
Related Place:Australia,

User Terms

    This board was part of a children's game entitled 'A race to the gold diggings of Australia'. It consists of a hand coloured lithographic sheet mounted on linen and depicts the traveller's journey from England to Australia including the key landmarks of Batavia, Mauritius, Madagascar and the Cape of Good Hope. At the centre is a scene of miners easily extracting large chunks of gold on the goldfields.
    SignificanceThis game highlights the preoccupation with gold prevalent in America, England and Australia during the 1850s. The gold rush generated a sense of excitement, adventure and wealth that even permeated down to the production of children's board games. This is the earliest known game that is entirely devoted to Australia.
    HistoryChildren's board games offer an insight into the ideals and values of the society that manufactured them. During the 1800s most children's games presented a moralistic view that often emphasised the value of hard work and persistence. The gold rush emphasised a different focus in the production of games. It glorified the chances of quick wealth and fortune in the exciting new colony. Dice were associated with gambling during the 19th century and were not used in children’s games. Instead an instrument known as a teeotum, a numbered spinning tool was used to indicate how many places a player could move.

    In many ways the discovery of gold in Australia echoed the California gold rush of 1849. Edward Hargraves discovered gold in New South Wales in 1851 after returning from the Californian diggings. This discovery started a gold rush that tripled Australia's population in just ten years. Gold brought people and wealth to both countries, dramatically changing their societies and environments. Miners came from Britain, Europe, America and China to mix in harsh conditions on the diggings. This changed Australian beliefs, politics, economics and technology. Most of the gold was exhausted in Victoria and New South Wales by 1861 but the impact of the gold rush continued to be felt 150 years later.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: 'A race to the gold diggings of Australia'

    Primary title: A Race to the Gold Diggings of Australia, board

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