Beechworth Cemetery and Chinese burning towers

The discovery of gold at Ballarat in 1851 sparked Victoria’s famous gold rush of the 1850s. This led to the probably most significant event in the evolution of the state of Victoria, Australia: the mass migration of people from across the globe to the region hoping to become rich. It’s believed that at the peak of the gold rush, 6,000 miners arrived in the region each week, including many Chinese nationals who converged on Beechworth seeking fortune around the late 1850s. As the population in Beechworth (then surveyed as Mayday…

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The unsolved mystery of Madagascar, the gold ship vanished in 1853

The frigate Madagascar left Melbourne for London on this day, August 12, 1853 with more than 150 passengers and its crew…but also nearly three tons of gold on board. It was never seen again. The Madagascar was a sturdy British merchant vessel built in 1837, used for carrying soldiers to India as well as passengers looking for an exotic vacation on the Indian sub-continent. However, by the 1850s, Victoria was in the grip of a gold rush and the ship found it had a new role in its life: instead…

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Shakespeare Ghost Town – New Mexico

This small New Mexico town has gone by many names, and only acquired its present one in 1879 at the beginning of its second mining boom. Old timers called it Mexican Springs, back when it served as a relay station on the Army Mail line, while for a few years after the Civil War it was called Grant. In 1870, some of the prospectors hanging around this little station discovered samples of very rich silver ore in the surrounding hills and they went hunting for financing to develop their new…

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Goldfield Hotel: a step back into Nevada History

Goldfield, Nevada, is one of those legendary towns that exploded during the gold boom of the early 1900s, only to be deserted almost completely in a matter of years. Millions of dollars worth of gold were produced in newborn town between 1903 and 1940, which turned into an entertainment hub: legendary boxing championships took place there, and its Northern Saloon was said to be so long that 80 bartenders were needed to serve the length of it. So, It only made sense then to build an opulent and oversized hotel…

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Okanogan Highland ghost towns: undisturbed relics from the Old West.

These former mining estabilishments hold a surprising abundance of undisturbed relics from the Old West. Scattered on the desolate plateaus of the Okanogan Highlands, a few kilometers south of the Canadian border, stand the quietly abandoned memories of pioneer homesteads: here some of gold rush townsites persist as historic monuments from a bygone era of boom then bust mineral exploration that brought intrepid Chinese miners and later white settlers to this corner of the Old West. Frontier towns like Bodie, Chesaw, and Molson briefly prospered during the late Victorian era…

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Barron Ghost Town: another abandoned mining town.

As we know, in the late 1800’s there was a gold rush in western America. If most gold seekers headed out west to California, Canada and Alaska, Washington was perfectly settled in the middle. So, while they were heading up to Canada for their chance at glory, they were bound to stop in Washington. Some glorified Okanogan even called this area the “El Dorado of the North”, and of course, within a short burst of time, various mining camps were set up along the mountain side, one of them being…

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Gold Rush: the story of the Chinese man who got rich washing free the clothes of the Seekers.

A popular folk tale from the Gold Rush era has it that a Chinese laundryman got rich not from searching for gold in the American River but from washing. He was the laughingstock of all the gold diggers who were staying in Weaverville, when California had become the new Eldorado: he was a little Chinese boy named John John (moniker reserved for all the Chinese immigrants during the gold rush) who for months washed miners’ clothing, never earning a penny for his labors. Obviously, the cunning seekers took advantage of…

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