Wednesday, February 20, 2013

150th Anniversary of the discovery of gold in Australia 9.8.2001

The stamp on this FDC given to me by Maria, portrays Edward Hargraves, and was issued to commemorate the 150thAnniversary of the discovery of gold in Australia. On January 7, 1851, two men disembarked the Emma in Sydney. Although Edward Hargraves and James William Esmond were strangers, both had made the arduous journey to America during the 1848 Californian gold rush in search of fortune. America's gold country had reminded many Australians of the hills and gullies of Victoria and New South Wales, and both men returned home determined to find gold. After reaching Sydney, Hargraves headed straight for the Bathurst plains, while Esmond boarded a coastal steamer to Melbourne. 

Hargraves was the first to realise his ambition when, in February 1851, he became the first Australian to officially discover gold at Summerhill Creek, near Bathurst, New South Wales. Hargraves’ success lured thousands of hopefuls from other states to New South Wales. 
The Australian Gold Rush began in 1851 when Edward Hargraves and his companions , the Tom brothers and John Lister, found specks of gold near Bathurst in New South Wales. By December 1851 gold had been found in various places in Victoria including Clunes, Castlemaine, Bendigo and Ballarat. Many men left their jobs and headed for the diggings, followed by a tide of people from elsewhere in the world in 1852. Most people walked to the gold fields and once there lived in tents or shanty huts made from canvas, wood and bark. In September 1851 the first gold licences were issued. Although women were at the goldfields from the beginning and in various occupations, it was initially a very male society.

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