Gold was the cause of the great expansion of Melbourne from 1850. The major gold fields were inland, though some gold was discovered in 1850 at Anderson's Creek, near Warrandyte. The Melbourne that greeted the tide of gold immigrants had 23,000 residents and was thus far more established than for example San Francisco at the time of the discovery of gold in California, which had only about a thousand residents. Nevertheless, the rapid influx of people was more than any small city could adequately house or care for in the short term – historian Geoffrey Serle referred to the earlier 1850s as the ‘crisis years’. In just four months in 1852, 619 ships arrived in Hobson's Bay, carrying 55,057 passengers; 1853 saw the arrival of 2,594 ships. At Sandridge (Port Melbourne) many, learning the high price of transport and storage, tried to sell excess possessions, or simply abandoned them on the beach. Most of the incoming gold seekers would leave Melbourne within a few days for the diggings, complaining of the roughness of the town and the astonishing prices of all the necessities of life.