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A race to the gold diggings : game token

Date: c 1855
Dimensions:
Overall: 43 x 67 x 9 mm
Medium: Lead, paint
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Board game token
Object No: 00006085

User Terms

    Description
    This metal token in the shape of a ship was used as a playing piece on a children's board game entitled 'A race to the gold diggings in Australia'. The lead ship is painted black with brown masts and yellow and blue flags and pennants. This Australian version of a gold rush game would have been popular with families in the colony and for those on their way.
    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

    Primary title: A race to the gold diggings : game token

    Web title: Board game token, A race to the gold diggings in Australia

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