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Historical - Alexander Waddell

Schools Gold Rush Project Questions

Helpful Pre & Post Excursion Project Ideas For Teachers & Students

The Gold History of the South Coast of New South Wales. Araluen and Mogo is a reflection of a phenomenon that occurred throughout Australia. This event was built on the efforts of our forebears and the pioneers. Our most important historians are the descendants of those pioneers. For example Georgina Jackson, manager of The Original Gold Rush Colony is the great great grand-daughter of Alexander Waddell, the first man to find gold in the Araluen. Staff member Ross Hosking is related by marriage to Andrew Tom, the descendant of The Tom Brothers, who really found the gold that Hargreave claimed to have found.

This set of questions is designed to get the students thinking about what life was like in the Australian Gold Rush days of the 1850s and to "stand in the shoes" of the goldfields diggers and their families.

Teachers may print out and use this page as a tool to form lesson plans, which address a spectrum of core subject areas, before or after an excursion or school camp at the Gold Rush Colony in Mogo.

Students may find this page stimulating and fun or could use the question topics as a springboard for school project ideas when studying the 1850's gold rush era.

The questions may be answered by a mixture of research and imagination.

In working through these HSIE and interlinked subjects, don't forget that parents and grandparents can be a major source of information.

  1. Your father built a settlers cottage for the family to live in. Write a short story about a day in your life. Remember to include your daily chores.
  2. Gold prospectors often went into areas that were untouched by European settlement. In what way was the environment affected by their activities?
  3. Mining was carried on extensively in the Mogo area. As a miner writing a letter to a friend in England, explain the work involved and the difficulties encountered in setting up a mine.
  4. Some names of the Australian Gold Rush are well known, and some less so. Compare how much we know about Edward Hargraves, and how little about John Lister and the brothers James and William Tom.
  5. Men outnumbered women by six to one on the diggings. Explain why this was the situation and what difficulties would women with children face in the goldrush villages.
  6. If you found yourself in a creek bed that no one had ever visited before, how would you go about finding some gold?
  7. You live in a tent in the diggings. Please describe your evenings activities.
  8. It's 1865, the alluvial gold is starting to run out and you have to make a choice about the future. What do you think is the best option and why?
  9. You and a friend decide to buy a gold cradle. How would you use it and how would it speed up your gold recovery?
  10. Explain the process of hard rock mining.
  11. You arrive at the diggings for the first time and you have no money. You need to build shelter. Explain how you would go about this task. 
  12. You have heard that Bushrangers have attacked at Majors Creek. Write a newspaper article to send back to Ireland.
  13. Describe the last days of an Australian bushranger.
  14. Compare the properties of Gold to Fools Gold.
  15. The troopers have come to check on your Mining Licence. Write a short play about what happened.
  16. What are the biggest differences in your day in the 21st century compared to a child your age in 1850's Australia or Great Britain?  Write a diary about your good fortune.
  17. You have made friends with a local Aboriginal. What kind of new foods have you been introduced to?
  18. Create a menu from the foods available to a gold prospector in NSW in the 1850's.
  19. What would life be like in the Australian Gold Rush if you could not speak English? Where did the main first immigrants to the Australian goldfields come from?
  20. Compare your clothes to those worn during the 1850's.

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