Perhaps the most significant legacy for 1857 in NSW gold mining lore was the introduction of new goldfields legislation that adopted the Victorian system of issuing Miners Rights rather than licences.
This system which was introduced into Victoria in 1855 in the wake of Eureka rebellion did – as the very name articulates – identify certain rights on which the miners could rely. This included the right to select a quarter acre of Crown land on the goldfields for a residence.
The introduction of the NSW legislation – AN ACT TO AMEND THE LAWS RELATING TO THE GOLD FIELDS – was the result of much considered parliamentary debate and investigation that drew heavily on the Victorian model.
Left: “Victorian Gold license 1853 and Victorian Miners Right 1856.
Reproduced courtesy Museum of Victoria Reg no:SH 931195 (top) and NU 44735 (bottom)