When gold was discovered in Victoria in 1851, the rush to those goldfields eclipsed the rush to California for the gold rush in 1849. With so many people from all over the world, the diggings became an equaliser of men who longed for the freedom and independence to be their own master.
The program cleverly exploits maps of the area, stories and images of the ships bringing in the men and families smitten with gold fever, and even a descendent of one of the early squatter families, to build a picture of the complete revolution that gold brought to these antipodean colonies that were ruled at the time by squatters and their representatives and governed by the British Colonial Office.
Bill Peach, who wrote and presented the series, was well known to Australians at that time as the original anchorman of the ABC’s nightly current affairs program This Day Tonight. He’d left after nearly a decade to make the 10-part half-hour series Peach’s Australia, and would make another 10-part series, Peach’s Explorers, after this series.