Students examine the 'mania' surrounding the gold rush by looking at a range of sources from the time.
Locate information related to inquiry questions in a range of sources (ACHHS102)
Identify points of view in the past and present (ACHHS104)
The lure of the goldfields drew people from around the world to what had been a quiet British colony in the antipodes, changing Victoria forever.
Primary sources from ergo:
- Notice to deter public servants from leaving their posts, magazine
- En route to the diggings, painting
- Stage coach laden with luggage and many Chinese people en route to the gold fields, photograph
- The girls the diggers left behind, and what they had to do, artwork
- Calvert’s young prospectors, painting
- Chinese on their way to the diggings, artwork
- What to do on a stormy day, diary
- Canvas Town, painting
Brainstorm why people all over the world were dropping everything - their lives, jobs, even their families - for the chance to strike it rich on the Victorian goldfields.
Ask students to think about what life was like in England, China and other parts of Australia at the time and how that may have influenced people's actions.
Introduce primary sources from ergo. Each source provides contextual information, including transcripts where relevant, and a zoom function so students can investigate detail. Use the evaluating sources template [Word 8.52KB] as a basis for analysis.
As an extension, students could create a diary entry from the perspective of a person referred to their primary source (eg. someone pictured, the person who wrote their diary entry, the artist, someone who would have read the Government Gazette etc.).
They could write from any point in that person's life - before they left for Victoria, while on the goldfields, after they've found gold or even when they've gone home with nothing left but the shirt on their back.