Gold rush & bushrangers!

The discovery of gold in 1851 was boosting the economy with new found wealth. Bushrangers were terrorising rural towns. Migration - particularly of women - was increasing and new technology was expanding and connecting the colony like never before.

Focusing on the decades between 1850 and 1880 Gold rush & bushrangers! investigates the way in which people's lives were affected and changed during the New South Wales gold rush.

Simply select a topic to get started, you will be able to:

  • analyse artworks and objects for evidence;
  • read primary sources (including documents and newspaper reports);
  • complete activities and answer questions;
  • conduct independent research.

Designed by primary school teachers, for students, this free resource offers in-depth (but accessible) research, new perspectives and student activities.

It will also help young historians understand how we know what we know and the importance of using a wide range of sources when researching the past.

The Australian Colonies
Stage 3
History | English | Creative Arts | Mathematics

HT-3-1 | HT-3-2 | HT-3-5


Were bushrangers villains or heroes?

During the colonial period bushrangers committed serious crimes. However, to some people they might have seemed impressive

Front and back of gold coin, showing details of inscription. Embossed text obverse side of coin; ‘VICTORIA D:G: BRITANNIAR: REGINA F:D: 1860’. Embossed text reverse of coin; 'SYDNEY MINT / AUSTRALIA / HALF SOVEREIGN'.

The NSW gold rush

What happened if a goldminer found gold?

Blue police cap.

Troopers & Aboriginal trackers

What was it like to be in the mounted police?

Convict Sydney

Female migration

For many women in the UK migration was seen as an opportunity to change their fortunes - to escape poverty, find work and start a family

Illustration of goldfields with figures dressed in Chinese-style clothing working.

Chinese on the goldfields

By the early 1850s, news of a gold rush in Australia sparked an influx in Chinese migration to Australia.

Building the railways in NSW

How significant was the arrival of the railway in NSW?


Electric telegraph in NSW

The electric telegraph revolutionised communication throughout the colony


The gold escort

A miner could transport his or her gold to Sydney using the 'gold escort'

Performers from the Deep Sea Astronaut troupe at Family Fair

Student quiz

Think you know it all? Try the quiz and see how you do! Give it your best shot and good luck!