It’s February 1869, and two Cornish prospectors are digging in the gold fields of Victoria, Australia. Then, out of the blue, one of the men makes a discovery so unexpected that neither of them would have believed their luck. In fact, what the pair unearthed was to leave an indelible mark on history to this day.
Victoria is the second-most-populated state in Australia. But in the mid-19th century it arguably had more in common with the American Wild West than anywhere else. That’s partly because the country had its very own gold rush. And the promise of glittering riches brought people from all over the world to the nascent colony.
The Australian gold rush kicked off after a prospector came across tiny bits of gold near Bathurst in New South Wales in February 1851. Soon afterwards, more of the valuable metal was found in Victoria. And before long, money began pouring in – with wages boosted – as the country’s gold fields started to prosper.