You may wonder why many of my stories refer to the Goldfields region of Victoria but according to the RACV magazine ‘Royalauto’ 90 percent of the world’s largest nugget finds come from Victoria. It’s hard to imagine the wealth that this small region generated and perhaps the best way to understand it is in the fact that this wealth made Melbourne the richest city in the world for a time and the architecture of Melbourne and of the cities of Bendigo and Ballarat is testament to that wealth. The Victorian gold rush began in 1851 with a find near Clunes.
From a personal perspective my Welsh coal mining Great Great Grandparents came to Australia in search of gold and my Great Grandparents probably met in Tarnagulla, married in Dunolly and went on to work Peter’s Diggings near St Arnaud before settling on a selection at Carapooee. My Great Grandfather’s cousin worked the gold battery at Bealiba and sadly my Great Great Uncle’s body was found at the bottom of a mine at Happy Valley. The Coroner’s verdict was suicide. My husband’s foster family were lured here in search of gold, went mining and subsequently built a hotel in Talbot on the Goldfields. His Great Grandfather was a policeman on the goldfields and was also in charge of the Avoca Powder Magazine.
Friends have a family farm built from the finding of a nugget of gold at Tarnagulla. Oh, I could wax lyrical for much longer than a standard blog post so I hope this helps to explain why gold was and remains to be of such importance to Victorians.
“Melbourne’s population reached 280,000 in 1880 and 445,000 in 1889. For a time it was the second-largest city in the British Empire, after London. During the boom, Melbourne had reputedly become the richest city in the world, In terms of area, Melbourne was already one of the largest cities in the world. Rather than building high-density apartment blocks like European cities, Melbourne expanded in all directions in the characteristic Australian suburban sprawl so Australians were afforded their Australian Dream of a “quarter acre block” in the suburbs, much like the American model.” – Wikipedia