About 150 years ago the demand for gold attracted people to the furthest corners of the earth. “A gold rush is a period of feverish migration of workers into the area of a dramatic discovery of commercial quantities of gold. Gold rushes took place in the 19th century in Australia, Brazil, Canada, South Africa, and the United States … Gold rushes helped spur permanent non-indigenous settlement of new regions and define a significant part of the culture of the North American and Australian frontiers.” according to Wikipedia. Gold arguably played a more important part in the creation of Australia than the British convict system. “The number of new arrivals to Australia was greater than the number of convicts who had landed there in the previous seventy years. The total population trebled from 430,000 in 1851 to 1.7 million in 1871.”
One of the more interesting artifacts of the Australian gold rush is a ghost town up in the high Snowys. What’s left of it now?
- Kiandra, New South Wales – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kiandra Coordinates: 35°53′S 148°30′E / 35.883°S 148.5°E / -35.883; 148.5 is an abandoned gold mining town and the birthplace of Australian skiing. The town is situated in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, Australia, in the Snowy River Shire inside the Kosciuszko National Park. Its name is a corruption of Aboriginal ‘Gianderra’ for ‘sharp stones for knives’. It was earlier called Gibson’s Plains, named after Dr. Gibson, a settler in the district in 1839.. For a Century (until the establishment of Cabramurra), Kiandra was Australia’s highest town.
In November, 1859, Gold was discovered by mountain cattlemen, the Pollock brothers, and by March 1860, some 10,000 miners and storekeepers had raced to the scene. Initial returns were very good. A 9 kg nugget was discovered in river deposits under what became known as New Chum Hill. Kiandra post office opened on 1 June 1860 and 15 hotels and 30 stores set up shop. But by 1861, the Sydney Morning Herald was reporting a “mass exodus” and the easy pickings were exhausted.
Significant numbers of Chinese people worked the Kiandra goldfields. Chinese miners built Three Mile Dam in 1882 to assist with sluicing operations at “New Chum Hill”. The scenic lake still exists and now supplies Selwyn Snowfields with its snow-making water requirements
- Kiandra – New South Wales – Australia – Travel – smh.com.au
Historic goldmining town now little more than a ghost town.
Today Kiandra is literally one old house, a Court House which is used to store equipment, some ruins and enough memories to bring the whole cold and lonely valley alive. In its heyday it was a true gold rush town which rose and fell in less than a year.
Kiandra’s moment of glory occurred in a few months from 1859-1860. The rush broke out after payable gold was discovered by David and James Pollock (two men who had been bringing their cattle to graze on the summer pastures in the area for some years)
An old lady remembers