Australia 1851

The Importance of the Year 1851

The year 1851 was in many ways an eventful one to Australia. In that year the colonies received from the Imperial Parliament the amended constitutionsthey had so long expected. Tasmania, South Australia, Port Phillip and Western Australia were now no longer under the absolute control of Governors sent out by the colony authorities in England ; they could, henceforth, boast the dignity of being self governed communities, for in 1851, they were given political powers which had previously been possessed by New South Wales alone. they now had the privilege of electing two thirds of the members of a Council, whose duty it was to make for them their laws and advise with the Governor on all matters of public interest. And, again, it was on the first pf July in the same year that Port Phillip gained its independence; from that date onwards its prosperous history must be related under its new title, Victoria.

But the event which made the year 1851 especially memorable in the annals of Australia was the discovery , near Bathurst, of the first of those rich gold fields which, for so long a time, changed the prospects and the whole appearance of the colonies. For several years after the date of this occurrence the history of Australia is little more than the story of the feverish search for gold, with its vast hopes, its labour, its tumoil, and its madness, its scenes of exultation and splendid triumph, and its still more frequent scenes of bitter and gloomy disappointments.


History of Australia