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Gold prospecting tools

Date: 1877
Overall: 121 x 210 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Engraving
Object No: 00000900
Place Manufactured:United States

User Terms

    This engraving illustrates three tools used for gold prospecting: a gold rocker, washing pan and a gold borer.
    SignificanceThe migration of miners between Australia and America during the gold rushes resulted in the exchange of customs, traditions, lifestyle and technology - including tools and mining techniques used on the goldfields.
    HistoryIn many ways the discovery of gold in Australia echoed the California gold rush of 1849. For both countries gold brought people and wealth, dramatically changing their societies and environments. The gold rush that followed the discovery of gold in Australia tripled Australia's population in just 10 years. Tens of thousands of miners criss-crossed the Pacific Ocean between Australia and America. A $20 one-way ticket bought the traveller a bunk and space for one trunk, the trip between Sydney and San Francisco taking about six weeks. The ships brought prospectors, businessmen, mining utensils and supplies from countries including China, England and America. This mass movement of travellers and emigrants brought new customs and traditions to Australia that left a lasting impact on society, technology, economy and lifestyle.

    While Edward Hargraves is most famous for discovering gold in Australia in 1851 after returning from the Californian goldfields, his greatest contribution to the gold rush in Australia was the introduction of methods and tools used by Californian miners - including the cradle, which was known in America as a 'rocker'. Used to wash for gold in California, the cradle was an easy, affordable and accessible method for gold prospecting in Australia.

    As in California, only a small number of miners made a real fortune in the Australian gold rush. It was easier and more common to gain wealth by establishing businesses and trade related to the diggings. Many unsuccessful miners turning to grazing cattle, fruit plots or stores selling over-priced goods, supplies and services.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: Gold prospecting tools

    Primary title: Gold rocker, washing pan and gold borer

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