'American Fever Australian Gold' re-enacts the daily life and experiences on and beyond the goldfields, primarily in the Ovens district of northeast Victoria, Australia of men and women from the USA and Canada. The authors have devoted the five years retracing the footsteps of North Americans who braved the high seas to seek their fortune in Australia during the gold rush years, 1850-1870.
Many of these men tried their luck on the Californian fields, but as the news of great finds in Australia, and in particular the diggings at the Ovens, made headlines around the world, the rush to the land down under began. Some were more fortunate than others; some died of colonial fever within months of reaching Australia.
The work focuses on miners, shopkeepers, entrepreneurs, and workers who spent time in the northeast of Victoria. The study identifies and reveals the lives of over 170 men, describing the ups and downs of their often precarious lives as they sought their fortunes from the ground or from various businesses. The previous lack of recognition of these influential men in the history books is became the driving force behind, and the creation of, 'American Fever Australian Gold'.
Whether these men and women remained in the northeast (and many did), or moved to other areas of Victoria, Australia, or the world, the authors followed them. Some returned and settled down in their hometown, served in the Civil War; others moved to the mid-western states. An array of personalities has been portrayed within the 170 stories narrated.
Research exposes a scoundrel-ridden guy who kept changing his name; another portrays the influence a single man, John Bradley born in Massachusetts, had on his fellow countrymen. John had amassed a small fortune after spending only months on the Australian goldfields before returning home and marrying Augusta Dinsmore in Maine. Within weeks John had spread the news and booked his passage to return to the land of gold. Akin to the Pied Piper in Grimm’s fairy tale, 75 men from Somerset Co. followed John and boarded the same ship for an adventure of a lifetime. Optimism, determination, and hardships are common denominators of these early men, before, during and after gold. These men are depicted showing their successes and failures, loves and dreams as they wrestled with surviving day to day in a hitherto unsettled land in which they were now so deeply involved.
As much of the research is based on original source documents, from this study new information has emerged never before previously known to exist. Old newspapers of the time, letters, diaries and journals written by these men from the goldfields or onboard ship describes their precarious lives as they hunt for a sustainable income. A painstaking analysis of primary and secondary data, it consolidates the value of American immigrants and their involvement in early Australia.
With almost 1700 names mentioned, the read will come to understand that these men and women were bound by mateship, friendship, relationship or business.
Complete with numerous photographs both of places and people, this CD has been bookmarked for easy navigation, and pages can be searched, browsed, and enlarged if required. Please not it does not allow printing.