Elizabeth II (1952-date)
5.00 AUD = 3.87 USD
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Masterpieces in Silver - Colonial Australia
Series: Colonial Australia
3rd portrait of Queen Elizabeth II facing right wearing the King George IV State Diadem
Miners with their equipment outside their accommodation
THE GOLD RUSH ERA
© Mike Bentley
The Royal Australian Mint issued in 1995 a Colonial Australia Masterpieces in Silver Proof $5 Dollars, Five Coin Set with reverse designs celebrating Australia's primary industries, communications, transport and economy. This particular coin celebrated the achievements of miners who opened up the gold fields and discovered other important minerals including Opals etc in early Australia
Gold was first discovered in 1823 (near Bathurst) by James McBrien, but the news was suppressed in case of a convict uprising. However, by the ate 1840's transportation of convicts had ceased, and there were more free settlers. When Edward Hargraves claimed to have discovered gold the rush was on. Within two months, Australia was hit with gold fever. Labourers left farms, clerks abandoned city desks, and people arrived from Europe and the US, all hoping to make their fortunes.
Realising an opportunity for revenue, the Government declared that miners must pay a licence fee of 30 shillings a month. To stop the manpower drain from Victoria a reward was offered to the first person to find gold in that state. Gold was soon discovered (first at Clunes, then Ballarat) and the frenzied diggers began returning to Victoria which quickly became the gold centre of Australia. A miner's licence fee was also imposed in Victoria causing ugly disputes by miners demanding a reduction in the fee, culminating in the Eureka Stockade clash in Ballarat in 1854. The Gold Rush opened new roads inland, attracted immigration and injected much needed cash into the economy.
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