In 1823, James McBrien was the first person to discover gold in the Bathurst region of New South Wales. The news was kept quiet by the authorities as they feared that there would be a revolt by convicts if word of its presence spread. It was not until 1851, when the discovery of gold in the region was officially announced, that the Australian gold rushes began. Bathurst did not experience the largest gold rush in the country but the area is historically important as one of the two first two sites to undergo extensive digging; the other was Ophir. The Bathurst rush stimulated the search for other auriferous fields, with major discoveries occurring in central Victoria in 1852.