- 2.1Aboriginal History:
- 2.2Early European Exploration:
- 2.31803 British Settlement:
- 2.11834 Permanent Settlement:
- 2.2Separation From New South Wales:
- 2.11850s Gold Rush:
- 2.21901 Federation:
- 4.2Service Industry:
- 6Flag of Victoria:
In 1851, the white population of the new colony was still only 77,000, and only 23,000 people lived in Melbourne. Melbourne had already become a center of Australia’s wool export trade.
1850s Gold Rush:
In 1851 gold was first discovered in Clunes and Buninyong near Ballarat, and subsequently at Bendigo. Later discoveries occurred at many sites across Victoria. This triggered one of the largest gold rushes the world has ever seen. The colony grew rapidly in both population and economic power. In ten years the population of Victoria increased seven-fold from 76,000 to 540,000. All sorts of gold records were produced including the “richest shallow alluvial goldfield in the world” and the largest gold nugget. Victoria produced in the decade 1851-1860, twenty million ounces of gold, one third of the world’s output.
Immigrants arrived from all over the world to search for gold, principally from the British Isles (notably from Ireland). Many Chinese miners worked in Victoria, and their legacy is particularly strong in Bendigo and its environs. Conditions on the gold fields were cramped and unsanitary – an outbreak of typhoid at Buckland Valley in 1854 killed over 1,000 miners.
In 1854 there was an armed rebellion against the government of Victoria by miners protesting against mining taxes (the “Eureka Stockade“). This was crushed by British troops, but some of the leaders of the rebellion subsequently became members of the Victoria Parliament, and the rebellion is regarded as a pivotal moment in the development of Australian democracy.
The first foreign military action by the colony of Victoria was to send troops and a warship to New Zealand as part of the Maori Wars. Troops from New South Wales had previously participated in the Crimean War.
At the beginning of 1901, following a proclamation by Queen Victoria, Victoria ceased to be an independent colony and became a state in the Commonwealth of Australia. Victorian and Tasmanian politicians were particularly active in the Federation process.
As a result of the gold rush, Melbourne became the financial centre of Australia and New Zealand. Between 1901 and 1927, Australia’s Parliament sat in Melbourne while Canberra was under construction. It was also the largest city in Australia at the time, and the second largest city in the Empire (after London).
Victoria’s northern border follows a straight line from Cape Howe to the start of the Murray River and then follows the Murray River as the remainder of the northern border. On the Murray River, the border is the southern bank of the river. The border also rests at the southern end of the Great Dividing Range, which stretches along the east coast and terminates west of Ballarat. It is bordered by South Australia to the west and shares Australia’s shortest land border with Tasmania. The official border between Victoria and Tasmania is at 39°12′ S, which passes through Boundary Islet in the Bass Strait for 85 meters.