Impact on society

A wave of change, fuelled by gold and a massive increase in wealth, transformed Victoria almost overnight.

From the behaviour of diggers who suddenly found themselves as rich as English lords to the massive population increase and the beginnings of a multicultural society; the colony of Victoria had become a magnet for the world’s fortune seekers.

La Trobe struggled with overcrowding but managed to lay the foundations of a modern city.
Victoria’s sudden riches caused as much anxiety as celebration.
In 1854, Victorian gold miners united to protect their rights. The resulting battle was the Eureka Stockade: Australia's most famous rebellion.
News of Victoria’s good fortune spread throughout the world.
The new colony struggled to capitalise on the wealth generated from its natural resources.
In the 19th century, much of Victoria's wealth came from gold mining, but it came at a cost to our environment.
In a single year, the population of the colony of Victoria almost doubled.
In the early days of the gold rushes, getting to the goldfields was a matter of walking, going on horseback or buying a place on a bullock dray.