The worst financial depression NSW has faced was not in the 1930s, but rather four decades earlier in the 1890s.
The 1890s depression was characterised by a severe financial crisis that saw more than half the various trading banks suspend payments and many non-bank insitutions fail. By comparion only a few small insitutions failed in the 1930s. Likewise unemployment is assumed to have been even worse in the 1890s financial meltdown.
In this climate, any hope of serious private investment in mining disappeared and the government looked to encourage the unemployed to get out of the towns and cities and into gold prospecting.
Left: Mines Department Annual Report 1895. Images and content presented here from this report reproduced courtesy of NSW Trade & Resources, Minerals & Energy