Edward Hammond Hargraves

Edward Hammond Hargraves (7 October 1816 – 29 October 1891) was a gold prospector who found gold in Australia in 1851, starting the Australian gold rush. Hargraves was born at Gosport, Hampshire, England, third son of Lieutenant John Edward Hargraves and his wife Elizabeth Hargraves. He was educated at Brighton Grammar School in England and Lewes. He travelled to California during the California Gold Rush but his prospecting in California was not successful. On 12 February 1851 he, with John Lister, found five specks of gold in Lewis Ponds Creek. Enlisting the help of others to continue the search, he returned to Sydney in March to interview the Colonial Secretary, and, encouraged by word from his friends at Bathurst, wrote to the Sydney Morning Herald describing the rich fields.[1][2]

Hargraves was rewarded by the New South Wales Government for his find – he was paid £10 000 and was appointed Commissioner for Crown Land. The Victorian Government paid him £5 000. He only claimed £2 381 before the funds were frozen after James Tom protested. An enquiry was held in 1853 which upheld that Hargraves was the first to discover a gold field.

In 1856 Hargraves purchased a 640-acre (2.6 km2) landing at Budgewoi on the Central Coast of New South Wales. He went on to build "Norahville" at Noraville. Wollombi Aboriginal Tribe members are known to have worked on the property. Some sources state that Hargraves had "be-friended" the Aboriginal tribe members. In 1877 Hargraves was granted a pension of £250 per year by the Government of New South Wales, which he received until his death. Shortly before his death in Sydney in 1891 a second enquiry found that John Lister and James Tom had discovered the first goldfield.[2]

Hargraves wrote a book about his discovery titled Australia and its goldfields: a historical sketch of the Australian colonies from the earliest times to the present day with a particular account of the recent gold discoveries., published in 1855.

See also

  • New South Wales gold rush


  • Evans, Joe. 1988
  • Hodge, B. Hargraves, Tom Hammond (1890–1891), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford

External links

  • Maitland Mercury, 7 May 1851 disputing Hargraves' claims

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