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Gold rush history

Get a taste of the gold fever that hit Victoria when gold was discovered in the 1850s, propelling the remote colony onto the world stage. At one stage, the gold output was greater than in almost any other country in the world. Miners arrived in the thousands, with townships popping up overnight and the riches laying the foundations for Victoria's future.

Discover the Goldfields

The best place to witness the legacy of the gold rush is in Victoria's Goldfields region, where ornate buildings, historic gardens and a Chinese heritage proudly proclaim the discovery of gold. Ballarat, Bendigo and Castlemaine have some of Victoria's best examples of the architecture that gold built, while Maldon, Dunolly and Talbot have exquisitely preserved Victorian streetscapes. Wherever you stop around the Goldfields, there's a strong sense of this rich past.

You can even get a hands-on sample of gold mining life at the Mt Alexander Diggings, the site of the world's greatest shallow alluvial gold rush.

A treasure trove of regional museums tells the story of the gold rush, with the standout the perennially popular Sovereign Hill. The living museum is like stepping back in time to Ballarat during the 1850s, where a bustling Main Street is abuzz with costumed ladies and gents, horse-drawn carriages and parading soldiers. Pan for gold in the Red Hill Gully diggings and stay after dark for the sound-and-light show, 'Blood on the Southern Cross'.

The High Country's golden one

It mightn't be the lost city of gold, but the precious metal was initially elusive in the tiny High Country town of Eldorado until the 1850s, when it boomed into a gold rush town. Today you can walk around the hulking, silent gold dredge and channel the past in the tiny pub – reputedly the smallest in Victoria. Go gold panning at the El Dorado Museum and browse gold and tin mining relics.

Also in the High Country is Yackandandah, a National Trust classified former mining township that still bears the elaborate streetscapes of the gold rush largesse. Take an underground tour of the Karrs Reef Gold Mine and pay your respects to the many Chinese gold miners laid to rest in the historic cemetery.

Gold in Gippsland

Follow in the footsteps of gold prospectors to Gippsland, who made tracks to Walhalla, Omeo and the settlements around Dargo when gold was discovered during the 1860s and 1880s. As Victoria's first established port, Port Albert welcomed thousands of Chinese miners on their ways to the goldfields.

Tiny townships like Briagolong were founded on the back of the gold rush, attested by the heritage buildings still dominating the streetscapes. Omeo's Oriental Claims historic area remains the highest alluvial gold field in Australia. Tour the old pioneer's hut and take the wine and gold drive from Omeo or Swifts Creek and discover the Cassilis historical area, once among the richest goldfields in the state.

Seemingly frozen in time, Walhalla gives you the rare chance to experience life as it was when the three-kilometre Cohens Reef vein of gold was discovered. During the gold rush Walhalla was home to 4000 gold seekers and one of Australia's richest towns. Relive the days of the early miners on Walhalla's scenic railway, and enjoy a stroll around the town's evocative heritage buildings.


Victoria's gold rush regions

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Gold rush history

Blood on the Southern Cross

Blood on the Southern Cross tells the dramatic story of the Eureka Uprising by Ballarat's miners...

El Dorado Museum

The El Dorado Museum collection is sited in the original school house number 246 which opened in...

Walhalla Goldfields Railway

Take a captivating train ride that traverses gorges, rivers and ever-changing landscapes.

Central Deborah Gold Mine

Don mining gear and head underground in search of gold in a restored 19th century gold rush mine.

The Indigo Gold Trail

The rich history of the gold rush that shaped the towns and countryside of Beechworth, Chiltern,...

Gum San Chinese Heritage

Unearth the contributions of the Chinese miners who came to the Victorian goldfields in the 1850s.

Sovereign Hill

Enjoy a day out in 1850s Ballarat and pan for gold, ride a horse-drawn carriage and dig underground.

Yackandandah Museum

The Yackandandah Museum has a large and comprehensive collection of the many stories from the...

Victorian Goldfields Railway

Enjoy a fun day out on this steam railway, linking the historic towns of Castlemaine and Maldon.

Ah Fongs Loop Walk

Explore the heritage-listed Omeo Oriental Claims gold mining area, including Ah Fong's 1875 site.

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Gold's towns and villages


Ballarat is a thriving hub of contemporary arts, events and food and wine, with a heritage backdrop.


Experience the contrasts of this vibrant regional city with its rich history and grand architecture.


Explore historic Maldon, Australia's first 'notable town' as proclaimed by the National Trust.


Omeo is a great base from which to explore Gippsland's national parks and alpine surrounds.


Stroll by gold rush architecture and see why the village has been classified by the National Trust.


Discover Walhalla, an historic gold mining township in Gippsland's alpine wilderness.


An historic, bustling town renowned for its rich history, eclectic arts scene and cafe culture.


Discover one of Victoria's most remote communities nestled in the foothills of the Dargo High Plains.

Port Albert

Retreat to the coastal Gippsland town of Port Albert, Victoria's first established port.

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