If I was a gold miner, in 1853 I would be at Ballarat hoping I would find gold today. This isn’t any Minecraft server where you dig down to Obsidian and find gold or diamond. This is the Gold Rush Era, the GRE. It all started when some dude’s horse kicked up a massive gold nugget, known now as the Welcome Stranger Nugget. The guy shouted EUREKA!!!!!!! and the gold frenzy started. People came from everywhere like Melbourne, Sydney, China and Belgium*.
We traveled to Sovereign Hill to get that old day experience and because mum said it was a unit of my school work. When we set foot on the gold fields we had a look in one of the huts/shelters. A lady dressed in GRE clothes told us about how the miners and their families got on in those days.
Each day a family got one bucket of water per day. That water was their washing, bathing, drinking , and cleaning water. If you were the miner/dad you got to bathe first and then on went from dirtiest to cleanest. and mind you the tub was only about 3x your bowl you eat your breakfast cereal from. A big slab of meat was nailed to a post. high enough so that the dogs could not get it. If you were a girl, you were to be married at the age of 15 and the boys aged 20. Young women were supposed to have 5 kids by the age of 20.
So down to Business, the type of business with flaky bits of gold in it, GOLD PANNING …..Gasp!!! The “pans” were these metal tins that you filled up with the stuff at the bottom and scraped all the rocks off. At the bottom you might find gold.
Gold pouring. The art of pouring melted gold into an ingot. A bit like what you do in Minecraft. The liquid is pure gold. Literally. It comes out of the jug glowing and very pretty. Gold melts at 1064°celsius and when touched with a stick, the ingot burst into flames.
The red-coats, who were the British soldiers, came marching down the main street and made a speech about the war that was going on at the time. They said stuff about winning and how if you were the with Germans you will FAIL. They fired a round of shots and then posed for pics with everybody.
We also had a tour of a mine It was interesting and had a few train rides. People who did gold panning got all the gold they found for themselves, but with company mining, people got payed to mine. They mined underground because there was more gold there. We went down in a sort of mine cart/tram/train sort of thing. We walked along a tunnel with wooden beam supports and the guide showed us things like drills, gold, and even massive caverns with gold pillars. They hadn’t mined the gold pillars because the pillars were holding up the roof.
We also had a horse and cart ride around the gold fields. It was just like being in an olden day carriage except we had better clothes.
Walking around the town we saw all the old buildings and the houses that the rich people lived in. Their houses had more than one room.
We did some candle making too, where we learned about how to make candles and the dipping process. They needed candles because they didn’t have electricity in the mine and they needed 1000 per day to keep on mining.
All this old stuff just goes to show how much we have changed and how much we have learned.
*Just tricking – no Belgians.