From the discovery of Australia’s first payable gold at Ophir in 1851 and for several years after this memorable event, the history of New South Wales is dominated by the feverish rush to find gold – the splendid triumphs and bitter disappointments, the ‘mateship’ of the original diggers and the dramatic impact the gold discoveries had on rural societies and economies.
Explore the Highlights of the Gold Trails and discover for yourself how this golden heritage vein underpins the story of the towns, villages and landscapes of NSW.
Travel the Gold Trails and see the stories of those who won the gold and those who stole the gold brought to life.
The night too quickly passes And we are growing old, So let us fill our glasses And toast the Days of Gold; When finds of wondrous treasure Set all the South ablaze, And you and I were faithful mates All through the roaring days.
When gold was found at Lambing Flat in 1860, thousands of miners and prospectors rushed to the new field. Among the new arrivals were 1,500 Chinese miners.
The Chinese were an organised and highly productive workforce, operating in groups of between 30 and 100 men under the direction of a leader. They were industrious and patient, often doing well on fields where others could not.
Many Chinese never made it south of the border, as they often discovered the New South Wales countryside much to their liking and unearthed new gold rich areas for themselves as they went. Chinese miners staked their claims on the Lambing Flat field from its earliest days.
Learn more about the Gold Trails of New South Wales
The Gold Trails
The Gold Trails experience includes visits to the Lucknow and Ophir sites in Orange, where the first saleable gold was found. Heritage mining landscapes such as the historic Hills End Site at Bathurst, Reefers Mill at Adelong-Tumut and O’Brien’s Hill at Grenfell each have relics of the mining boom days.
There are social echoes in the Chinese contribution at Lambing Flat in Young and the bushranger stories that span the Gold Trails.
Travel the Gold Trails and take the opportunity to fossick for your own golden treasure along the way.
View our video to understand more about the Gold Trails.
Places To Go
Visit the towns and villages of the Gold Trails to experience our golden heritage.