Victoria has never seen such activity nor such fundamental change as in the
1850s. These fantastic years transformed a minor pastoral settlement into a
celebrated British colony. Separation from New South Wales, the gold rushes, the
Eureka Stockade, a staggering rise in population, the establishment of
parliamentary government and the attempts to 'unlock the land' were all
highlights of the period.
Geoffrey Searle is as at home in this accounts of the frenzied life on the
goldfields as he is in describing the complex proceedings of parliament and the
great personalities of the time.
No writer before Searle had showed how gold shaped Victoria and peopled it
with some of the most vigorous citizens. 'The Golden Age' is a landmark of
Prologue: The Port Phillip District in 1850
1. The Early Gold Rushes 1851-1852
2. 'There's a Good Time Coming, Boys!'
3. 'Shout for the Diggings, Shout Hurrah!'
4. Diggers and Government 1852-1853
5. The Trials of a Governor
6. Sir Charles Hotham and Eureka
7. Transition to Responsible Government
8. Economic Redirection
9. The First Parliament 1856-1859
10. The Second Parliament 1859-1861
11. The Chinese Minority
12. Religion and Education
13. The Arts and Sciences
Appendix 1. Population
Appendix 2. Migration
Appendix 3. Unassisted Migration
Appendix 4. Mining Population
Appendix 5. Gold Production
Appendix 6. John Dunmore Lang's Declaration of Independence