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The Gold Pyramid

Although Australian mining history, indeed world mining history, is rife with inflated posthumous claims of historical significance, the Forest Creek diggings were acknowledged as important by contemporary observers. The Melbourne Herald trumpeted, in 1851, that the next gold escort from the Mount Alexander diggings ‘will bring down the largest quantity of gold gathered in one week yet received by any one conveyance in this or any other colony under the sun.’ Nowhere is this hyperbole more evident than in the gold pyramid, advertising the exact yield of Victorian gold, that was displayed at the London Great Exhibition of 1862. This exhibit captured the imagination of the British public and played a key role in attracting prospective migrants from the British Isles; it underlined the possibility that individual success and material benefit could be realised on the Australian diggings, particularly at Forest Creek.

Keir Reeves

Annear, Robyn, Nothing but gold: the diggers of 1852, The Text Publishing Company, Melbourne, 1999. Details
Castlemaine Association of Pioneers and Old Residents, Records of the Castlemaine Pioneers, Rigby, Adelaide, 1972. Details
Flett, James, The history of gold discovery in Victoria, The Poppet Head Press, Melbourne, 2001. Details
McKillop, Frank and Geoff Hocking, Early Castlemaine: a glance at the stirring fifties: the Municipal Council, 1851-1863, New Chum Press, Castlemaine, 1998. Details
Sweet, Jonathon,, 'The world of art and design: white colonials', in Mackenzie, John M. (ed.), The Victorian vision inventing New Britain, V&A Publications, 2001, pp. 345-46. Details
Sweet, Jonathon, 'The Gold Pyramid', in Stannage, C. T. (ed.), Gold and civilisation, National Museum of Australia, Sydney, 2001. Details