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Introduction

The discovery of gold in Australia in the 1850s started a series of rushes that transformed the Australian colonies.  The first discoveries of payable gold were at Ophir in New South Wales and then at Ballarat and Bendigo Creek in Victoria.  In 1851, gold-seekers from around the world began pouring into the colonies, changing the course of Australian history.

The gold rushes greatly expanded Australia’s population, boosted its economy, and led to the emergence of a new national identity.

National Museum of Australia, Defining Moments: Gold rushes