Edward Hargraves

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Edward Hargraves (October 7, 1816 – October 29 1891) was famous for starting the Australian gold rush. He found gold in Sydney in 1851. He was a shopkeeper, sailor and adventurer. He first started looking for gold in California, but was not successful. When he arrived in Sydney, he didn’t even visit his family. He went straight to the Blue Mountains to look for gold. After his first discovery, Australia became more popular due to the gold rush. Although Hargraves was very rich and famous, he lived so lavishly that he became broke by 1860.

Early life[change | change source]

Hargraves' mother (Elizabeth Nee Whitcombe) and father (John Edward Hargraves) sent Hargraves to Brighton Grammar School in England. When he was 14, he travelled over water to Sydney, Australia. He arrived in Sydney in 1832. He worked on a property at Bathurst, collecting tortoise shells. Before Hargraves became famous, he left his wife (Elizabeth Hargraves) and bought his own piece of land on Manning River. He took over a shop near his property.

Achievements[change | change source]

Hargraves' main achievement was discovering a large amount of gold, starting the gold rush of Australia. He believed that the geography of Bathurst was the same as California, so he began his search for gold there. John Lister, who had already found gold in California, helped Hargraves to find gold in Australia. The two of them travelled to Summerhill Creek, where Hargraves first discovered gold. After the government found out about Hargraves’ discovery, they appointed him ‘Commissioner of Land’. They rewarded him with 10,000 pounds and a life pension, in exchange for the gold he discovered. The government of New South Wales made the announcement that gold was discovered on May 22, 1851. Hargraves was also responsible for conducting the gold mining in Ballarat, when the gold rush became more popular.

Between the years of 1853-1854, Hargraves travelled back to England, rich from his findings. When he was in England he met Queen Victoria and wrote a book (published in 1855) called Australia and its Gold Fields. Hargraves lived such a luxurious life that by 1960 he was very poor. Hargraves travelled back to Australia, seeking the help of the government to help with his financial situation, but no one he asked would give him money.

Hargraves had two sons and three daughters. He died in Sydney in 1891.

Bibliography[change | change source]