Tag Archives: gold rush era

A city founded on gold

North-west of Melbourne was Victoria’s Ballarat, home to over 100,000 residents. The first Europeans settled in the area in 1838, but thirteen years later after an Aborigine found a nugget of alluvial gold, Ballarat’s gold rush brought thousands of hopeful prospectors from around the world. Although the alluvial gold became scarce after several years, underground mining continued until 1918.

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by the bay

On an early morning hike I past two women heading to the beach with their surfboards. Wind swept over Port Phillip Bay, but still the waves were no higher than thirty centimetres. Further ahead was Station Pier Cruise Ship Terminal where the Queen Elizabeth was docked. Cars crawled past to enter the ferry that would later sail to Devonport, a journey I’d taken in my late teens.

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Melbourne’s first sea port

Since tankers couldn’t navigate the Yarra River, this maritime village was intended to be Victoria’s port and capital. Due to a shortage of fresh water, Melbourne became the state capital while Williamstown remained an important port and ship building site. Continue reading Melbourne’s first sea port

Another site to visit that’s free

Inside Melbourne’s old treasury building was a museum situated within the last free tram stop along Collins Street. For those interested in early European settlement and the gold rush era, there was room after room dedicated to this section of Victoria’s past. Continue reading Another site to visit that’s free

Lillooet

I visited Lillooet more for its beautiful sounding name than the well known music festival. As I came closer to the quiet town and its gold rush past, the mountains were parched.

I turned left at a church to the Chinese Rocks piled above the town. Below the wide main street stretched close to the Fraser River. While searching for gold, Chinese miners had washed and stacked these rocks. Across from the Chinese rocks, was a barren skeleton of a tree ominously called the hanging tree.

Chilkoot and White Pass Trails

The Chilkoot Pass at the Linderman Lake end, looked easy enough but from Skagway it involved a steep climb. Fine if you had nothing to carry, but prospectors lugged all their heavy supplies. While I explored the area, three hikers took off for the three-day trek. Continue reading Chilkoot and White Pass Trails

By train from Carcross to Lindeman Lake

After lingering in Carcross, we finally boarded the train and were off, passing kilometre upon kilometre of Bennett Lake. When we reached the end of Lindeman Lake, the train stopped because this was where gold miners built their canoes then paddled upstream heading for Dawson City, in the direction I had come from. Continue reading By train from Carcross to Lindeman Lake

Skagway decision

My plan before this trip, was to see the Arctic Ocean up in Tuktoyaktuk, then return through Dawson City to Whitehorse. After that, I had no idea. Only when I reached Skagway, did I decide to exit by ferry from the port in the direction of home.

I stayed in a cute, once a brothel hotel, and while having breakfast the following morning, was reminded I was in Alaska, U.S.A. A woman nearby, talked incessantly about the guns she and her husband had brought on the trip. It wasn’t my kind of breakfast conversation. Continue reading Skagway decision