Gold Rush

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Gold Rush

Gold Rush and Consequences The gold rush of the 1850s sped up the development of the social and political systems. In April 1851, Edward Hargraves found gold at Summer Hill Creek in New South Wales. With the recent experience of the California gold rush in mind, others joined in the rush, which quickly became centered in Victoria at Mount Alexander, Ballarat, and Bendigo. Gold was later found elsewhere in New South Wales and Queensland.In the following ten years, Australia exported more than 124 million pounds worth of gold alone. By 1861 the Australian population had reached almost 1.2 million, a threefold increase over the 1850 population of 400,000. Americans as well as Britons and Canadians joined the immigrants to the eastern colonies. In Victoria, miners quickly became irritated with the high cost of mining licenses and restrictions on their right to search for gold. Before the fees were reduced, a small band of miners staged an uprising at the Eureka stockade at Ballarat in December 1854.Both miners and colonists responded with alarm to the influx of Chinese immigrants attracted by gold. In 1856 Victoria restricted the entry of Chinese. Eventually, the exclusion of all but European settlers gave the colonies a “White Australia” policy that was defended vigorously whenever there appeared to be new threats to Australian jobs or culture. On occasion it seemed that Queensland, which began to import Polynesian laborers (called Kanakas) for sugarcane plantations in the 1860s, might remain at odds with the other colonies, but it eventually conformed; the plantations were replaced by small-scale sugar farms run by whites, and the White Australia policy continued to provide an emotional link among the colonists.



11/8/2006 3:40:55 PM
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