gold

The independence of the 13 American colonies stopped the transportation of criminals that had taken place, the jails soon became crowded congested, as a result the Parlament instructed Lord Sydney the Colonial Secretary for the solution of this matter. Captain Arthur Phillip in charge of the expedition discovered in Botany Bay the «finest harbor in the world«.

Many of the convicts were political prisoners from Ireland in connection with the French Revolution; many Irish political agitators caused a deal of trouble, most of the convicts were sentenced for a term of 7 years, then they became free and were known as Emancipists, the entry into the new society brought new problems to the Government.

Around Port Jackson there were around 500 aborigines, their mistreatment was inevitable and reprisals naturally followed. In 1813 the explorer Blaxland crossed the Blue Mountains and found an abundance of fertile land, that would later be made possible by the development of the wool industry. The introduction of sheep was done by John McArthur in the Cape of Good Hope, where he got some fine wooled sheep of the Spanish breed.

In Australia, the most apparent legacy of Queen Victoria’s reign is manifested in the names Victoria and Queensland. These names, which were originally given to two colonies during the nineteenth century, were retained when the colonies achieved statehood within the Commonwealth in 1901.

In 1851 E. H Hargraves discovered gold on Summerhill Creek in New South Wales, he was a resident of that colony who had gone to California when the Gold Rush occurred. Hargraves was struck with the similarity in the land formation in the Sacramento Valley to that which he had seen in New South Wales.

In July 1849, Hargraves left for the United States to participate in the California Gold Rush. He was unsuccessful but returned to Australia in January 1851 with knowledge of prospecting techniques and hopeful of discovering gold closer to home. He was so impressed with the similarity that when returning to Australia in 1851, he sought and found gold where he expected it would be. 

The colony of Victoria was eager to participate in this prosperity and offered a reward of 200 pounds for the first gold discovered in that colony, not far northwest of Melbourne it was found. When the news reached the outside world, Australia became a land of promise, thousands came from Californian fields, Britain and the continents sent large contingents.

The discovery of the Victorian Goldfields has converted a remote dependency into a country of worldwide fame; it has attracted a population, extraordinary in number, with unprecedented rapidity; it has enhanced the value of property to an enormous extent; it has made this the richest country in the world; and, in less than three years, it has done for this colony the work of an age, and made its impulses felt in the most distant regions of the earth

Australia became a solution for the numerous European revolutions of 1848, including the Chartist movement in England. Tasmania and South Australia profited by the movement as well, Australia soon became a place of investment for the newly-won gains and sources for large shipments of produce for the greatly increased population of Victoria and New South Wales.

Australia which became an out-of-the-way dumping ground for convicts at the close of the American Revolution proved to be of enormous value as a result of the abundance of wool and gold. The future development and success of the continent were already on a sure basis.