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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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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