The Library is open. See frequently asked questions.

The Arrival of the First Gold Escort

Student activities

Task no. 1

The Arrival of the First Gold Escort

Source text:

Arrival of the First Gold Escort - by an eye witness

The gold was brought down by three drays, each dray carrying two boxes and drawn by a team of six horses. The boxes containing the gold were about three feet long with six handles, and were carried into the office by six men.

The Blue Stone building on the left was in the occupation of the Government at the time; the ground floor being used as a gold office and the two upper stories occupied by the Surveyor-General, Robert Hoddie and his staff of draftsmen and clerks.

When the escort arrived the clerks and draftsmen of the Survey Department were looking down on the scene from the windows, and the next day nearly the whole staff sent in their resignations, determined to try their luck at gold digging. The central group represents two lucky diggers of the sailor class spinning a yarn to some new chums. On their left is a new chum Chinaman stopping to listen to the astonishing accounts of a countryman of his who has just returned from the goldfields.


  • What is a 'new chum'?
  • According the below source, what happened when the Government workers heard about the rich finds in the goldfields?
  • Explain how the gold rush affected society in the 1850s.
Arrival of the first gold escort, William Street, Melbourne 1852, by an eye witness, 1852
View collection item detail