Effects of Gold Excitement

For the first few months after the discovery of gold in Victoria, many shrewd people believed that the colony would be ruined by its seeming good fortune. None of the ordinary industries could be carried on whilst workmen were so scarce and wages so high. But, happily, these expectations proved false; for, in 1852, when the stream of people from Europe began to flow into the colony, every profession and every trade sprang into new and vigorous life. The vast crowds on the gold fields required to be fed, and the farmers found ample market for their corn, the squatters for their beef and mutton. The miners required to be clothed therefore tailors and shoemakers were needed, whatever the prices they charged. Mechanics and artizans of every class found their labours in demand and handsomely paid for. The merchants, also, found trade both brisk and lucrative ; while the imports in 1850 were worth only three quarters of a million, those of three years later were worth about twenty times that amount. After this enormous increase in population and business, it was found that there was quite a great opportunity of gaining riches by remaining quietly engaged in one's own occupation as by joining the restless throng upon the gold fields. The public revenue of the colony was in 1852 six times and in 1853 twelve times as great as it had been before the discovery of gold ; so that, both as individuals and as a nation, the people of Victoria had reason to be satisfied with the change.


History of Australia