by Kara Easton

This webquest focuses on the Gold Rush. It is aimed at teaching grade 5/6 students about the initial Gold rush in the 1800s.

Introduction

In 1851 a gold rush started in Australia. A male name Hargraves found gold in early 1851 in Victoria near Bathurst. Word of his findings quickly spread and the Gold Rush was established. Over 300,000 imigrants came to Australia to search for gold and the Australian economy boomed. During the 1850's period Victoria contributed more than one third of the world's gold output.   

In just two years Victorias population had gone from 77,000 to 540,000. Thousands of hopeful diggers were arriving in Melbourne by boat from Europe, England, China and America heading for the goldfields in search of gold. Many of these immigrants stayed in Australia moving around to other gold fields when gold became scarce where they were. 

Gold was later found in all the other states in Australia with an exception to South Australia.

                                                               

New South Wales and Victoria Governments needed a way to manage the infrastructure to accommodate for the population increase due to the gold mining. Both states decided that they needed to raise money for such things and this would be completed by charging the diggers a monthly claim and licensing fee. A claim was piece of land that each digger had ownership of and was allowed to dig for gold providing they dug 6 days a week. This piece of land was usually 3.6 metres squared. The diggers were charged 30s a month to keep their licenses reguardless of whether or not they had discovered any gold. These licenses caused many problems and later changed history with the Eureka Stockade.  

Shaft and alluvival methods of mining were common techniques used to mine gold on the mining fields. Shaft mining is when the diggers dug a whole usually about 1 metre wide and up to 10 metres deep. This type of mining is hard work and was generally done in teams of men as all the rock and dirt they dug up was brought to the surface and washed to see if it contained gold. Alluvival mining is gold found on the surface of the earth. It is usually in small pieces or flakes that have been chipped off rocks by erosion and weathering. Alluvival gold mining was completed with a pan or cradle. The diggers was over the dirt and sand to seperate the gold.