If there was one issue that defined 1853 it was without a doubt that of gold licenses. Getting the balance right between the interests of the state and those of the diggers nearly led to uprisings in NSW and across the border the seeds of insurrection were brewing on the Ballarat fields.
All in all this made for a very restless year as miners moved between fields and indeed across state borders in search of the best gold and the best licensing deal.
For these were still the salad days of the fields, when easy returns from working the surface ground were to be had if you were only in the right place at the right time.
To hold fast to your ground now – or to up stakes and follow the rumours to a new field? Decisions, decisions …
Licensing tent. From collection of lithographs and sketches 1853-1874 by S.T. Gill
Reproduced courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW (a1833044)