Gold Licence Or Miner's Right

Schools - Australian Gold License

The Australian colonial governments created a revenue generating system by forcing each gold digger to buy a licence or miner's right. This revenue was then used to police the goldfields, supposedly to reinforce law and order.

Each digger had to pay 1 pound, ten shillings each month, simply for the right to dig. Miners were not able to claim the land they were working, and could be forced by the Gold Commission Police to relocate without compensation. The government hoped that these high fees would force some classes of people to go back to work in the cities.

Some diggers could not renew their licences, having sold all their belonging to pay previously, and their labour had not resulted in stricking any gold. Others simply would not pay for their licences. If a miner had lived in the colonies for 6 months, and paid for an
eight pound annual licence, the digger was then allowed to register to vote.

Diggers had a mutual hatred for the "Traps" or troopers who conducted the searches for diggers' licences on the goldfields. There was widespread police corruption which ensured that the diggers united against the forces of authority. This included corruption at the official and magesterial level.