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Goldmining

The Library’s collections are themselves a veritable goldmine, yielding rich rewards to researchers of the goldrushes and the broader history of goldmining in Victoria. Crucial primary and secondary resources can be found across all of our collections, and many important items can be viewed online.

Begin your hunt with goldfields histories such as Robyn Annear's Nothing but gold, then move on to first-hand accounts of those turbulent times. An extraordinary array of published memoirs resides in the Rare Books and Australian history collections, whilst fragile diaries and personal papers are waiting to be unearthed in the Australian Manuscripts collection. All offer intensely personal insights into the experiences of goldfields inhabitants.

Newspapers such as the Argus and the Bendigo Advertiser reported floridly upon the social upheaval, crime, political unrest and riches of the period. The advertisements, too, can be picked over for small but valuable nuggets.

The Maps collection contains hundreds of maps and geological plans depicting the goldfields and towns that formed upon them. Paintings and drawings – even early photographs – document the landscape and daily activities of diggers, sly-grog sellers, police and government officials.

If you're looking for official documents, use the online Victoria Government Gazette to discover public notices, or delve into Governor La Trobe's despatches back to the Colonial Office. You could also download the findings from Governor Hotham's 1855 inquiry into the condition of the goldfields.

Whilst our collection of digitised mining pamphlets contains many gems, it has been rumoured that the Boring records are also very hard to put down.

More to explore