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Victoria during the Gold Rush

Title
Map of Victoria Constructed and Engraved at the Surveyor General's Office, Melbourne. Published by authority of the Government. Under the direction of A.J. Skene, MA Surveyor General, The Hon. J. J. Casey, President, Board of Land and Works & Comr. of Lands & Survey.
Author
WINDSOR, G.A. and William SLIGHT
Publication place
Melbourne,
Publication date
August 15th 1872.
Dimensions
1310 by 1990mm. (51.5 by 78.25 inches).
Price
£6,000
Reference
11822

Description

Lithographed map with outline original colour, dissected and mounted on linen, folding into green cloth covers with gilt tooling and lettering.

Notes

A detailed map of the state of Victoria. At the time of printing, Victoria was a relatively new colony, established in 1851. The discovery of gold near Ballarat and Bendigo a few months later set off one of the largest gold rushes in history, as settlers poured in to seek their fortunes. The map reflects the colony's source of population and wealth, showing how settlements cluster around the gold fields.

The map was commissioned and overseen by Alexander Skene and the Hon. J. J. Casey. Alexander Skene was a Scottish surveyor who had a prominent role in land distribution and regulation in Australia. The Hon. J. J. Casey was the Commissioner for Victoria at the time, a colourful figure who went on to become Minister for Justice. A contemporary newspaper reports in 1878 that Casey had complained that someone without a title had preceded him into dinner at the Paris Exposition Universelle, and had told the Prince of Wales himself that Victoria should be given more land. While his manner may have been distasteful, Casey's claim was built on a solid foundation. Gold exports from Victoria enabled Britain to clear all foreign debts by the end of the century, and the explosion in population, particularly in Melbourne, meant that it was one of the most successful new colonies. However, the growth in population also initiated demands for agricultural and political reform, policies aided by the accurate surveying and mapping of Victoria, and the ultimate aim of this map.

We could trace only two institutional copies of this edition, in the National Library of Australia and Cambridge University Library.

Bibliography

NLA MAP RM 1945.