Further Papers Relative to the Recent Discovery of Gold in Australia. Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty, February 28, 1853. London, Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. 1853. Folio, pp. xvi, 433, large folded hand-colored map by John Arrowsmith "The Australian Gold Rush and Interior Exploration Illustrated by John Arrowsmith”, 4 additional plates by Arrowsmith, tables, text figures. SEE ITEM 109-A FOR VOLUME CONTAINING FURTHER REPORTS FOR 1853.
The volume is complete and in a later calf and cloth binding with gilt ruled edging, and gilt spine titles and spine vignette. The binding is tight and clean, text is very clean with a small rubber stamp on a couple of text page edges and blind stamp of noted collector, writer and historian Sir Thomas Meek Ramsay (1907-1995). The very rare and important Arrowsmith map is pristine as are the plates and text. In near fine condition.
This very rare volume of dispatches and reports on the newly discovered gold fields in New South Wales contains a wealth of information on the geology, stratigraphy, mineralogy, development of the first deposits, growth of the region, expansion into other areas, attempts to control immigration and other reports. By far the most important part of the work is the large folded map by John Arrowsmith. The map is very rare and seldom offered as a part of the volume. Details follow.
The first significant gold discovery in Australia occurred in May 1851, after prospector Edward Hargraves claimed to have discovered payable gold near Orange, at a site he called Ophir. Hargraves had been to the California goldfields where he had learned new gold prospecting techniques. Before the end of the year, the gold rush had spread to many other parts of the state where gold had been found, not just to the west, but also to the south and north of Sydney.
By July 1851, Victoria's first gold rush had begun on the Clunes goldfield. In August, the gold rush had spread to include the goldfield at Buninyong (today a suburb of Ballarat) and, by early September 1851, to the nearby goldfield at Ballarat (then known as Yuille's Diggings). This was followed in early September by the goldfield at Castlemaine (then known as Forest Creek and the Mount Alexander Goldfield and the goldfield at Bendigo (then known as Bendigo Creek) in November 1851. Gold, just as in New South Wales, was also found in many other parts of the state. Looking ahead two years in 1854 the Victorian Gold Discovery Committee wrote:
"The discovery of the Victorian Goldfields has converted a remote dependency into a country of world wide fame; it has attracted a population, extraordinary in number, with unprecedented rapidity; it has enhanced the value of property to an enormous extent; it has made this the richest country in the world; and, in less than three years, it has done for this colony the work of an age, and made its impulses felt in the most distant regions of the earth".
When the rush began at Ballarat in 1851, diggers soon realized it was a prosperous goldfield. Lieutenant-Governor, Charles La Trobe visited the site and watched five men uncover 136 ounces of gold in one day. Mount Alexander was even richer than Ballarat. With gold sitting just under the surface, the shallowness allowed diggers to easily unearth gold nuggets. In 7 months, 2.4 million pounds of gold was transported from Mount Alexander to nearby depositories.
The gold rushes caused a huge influx of people from overseas. Australia's total population more than tripled from 430,000 in 1851 to 1.7 million in 1871. Between 1852 and 1860, 290,000 people migrated to Victoria from the British Isles, 15,000 came from other European countries, and 18,000 emigrated from the United States. Non-European immigrants, however, were unwelcome, especially the Chinese.
The incredibly finely detailed Arrowsmith map shows large areas of yellow showing the newly discovered gold regions of 1852 and 1853. The following gold fields are noted in New South Wales and Victoria Colony as of January 2, 1852: Turon, Ophir including Summerhill Creek Louisa Creek, including Meroo Creek, Araluen including Major's & Bells Creeks, Abercrombie River, including Teuena Creek. Mt. Alexander including the headwaters of the Loddon River and Ballarat. In addition, Arrowsmith has marked, but not named the additional gold regions as of 1853, likely because so much of the map is now illustrated in gold. The lands of the Australian Agricultural Company are also shown in Red.
The map shows the gold areas, the newly established towns, roads, rivers, progress of interior exploration and several exploration routes. The map highlights 14 exploration routes, reflecting routes taken by travelers in the Interior of Australia between 1817 and 1840. Arrowsmith's map remains one of the most important depictions of south-east Australia at a critical time in its history. Later in1853 further details on the gold discoveries in Australia were presented. These studies and reports also included a map and illustrations by Arrowsmith. These reports were ordered to be published by command of Her Majesty on August 16th, 1853 and contain the first announcement of gold discovered in New Zealand. This volume is also available on our site.