World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Gold Commissioner

Article Id: WHEBN0010769036
Reproduction Date:

Title: Gold Commissioner  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Rock Creek Gold Rush, British Columbia gold rushes, Cassiar Country, Ballarat, History of British Columbia
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Gold Commissioner

Gold Commissioner was an important regional administrative post in the colonies of the British Empire where extensive gold prospecting took place including in Canada - Colony of British Columbia; in Australia - New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia; in New Zealand; and in South Africa. The key responsibilities of gold commissioners were to uphold law and order and to provide access to the gold fields, issue mining licences and register gold claims. Such a role was required due to the lawlesness that often followed gold rushes.

British Columbia (Canada)

In Colony of British Columbia during the 1860s, Governor Douglas had three priorities to protect the two colonies he governed:[1] to protect the boundaries, to uphold law and order and to provide access to the gold fields. In 1859, the Pig War together with McGowan's War the previous year, underlined concerns that American settlers might challenge the British jurisdictions. After the native population in the Washington Territory was crushed and the area was opened to settlement, its non-native population grew rapidly to more than 11,000. General William Harney, after meeting with Douglas, reported to Washington that the population of the colony was largely American with few British and that it would soon be a commercial necessity for the colonists to yield Vancouver Island to the U.S. government. In these circumstances, Douglas enhanced the limited military capability of the Royal Engineers and developed the office of Gold Commissioner buttressed by the periodic visits of a traveling judge.

The ten Commissioner's were appointed to specific geographic jurisdictions. Their primary role was to issue mining licences and register gold claims. The commissioners also acted as agents of everyday authority. They settled mining disputes, collected government revenues, oversaw land claims, served as electoral officers and dealt with the natives. They displayed the British flag.[2]:81 They acted as a receiver-cashier for gold, which was held until the Gold Escort could deliver it to the capital. A Gold Commissioner's powers and duties also encompassed the duties of Government Agent, Indian Agent, magistrate, Mines Commissioner, surveyor, sheriff, coroner and other duties. The powers of a Gold Commissioner within his designated jurisdiction were second only to the Governor. The position remained as a fixture in the new province when the colony joined Canada in 1871 although by the end of World War I nearly all Gold Commissioner positions had been devolved to separate offices, with the bulk of the office's power and legacy inherited by the Government Agent, who typically was also Indian Agent as well as Mines Commissioner, which was a post associated with each of the mining districts. The office of Chief Gold Commissioner continued, however, and still functions today as the administrator and chief regulatory authority for the Mineral Tenure Act, Coal Act and associated Acts dealing with the holding and maintenance of mineral and coal tenure (claims and leases) within British Columbia.

The current Chief Gold Commissioner (2012) of British Columbia is Madame May Mah-Paulson. Previous BC Chief Gold Commissioners include Edmund J. Collazzi, Anne Currie, Gary Townsend, Laurel Nash, Jody Shimkus, Lisa Nye, William Phelan, Patrick O’Rourke, Gerald German, Denis Lieutard, John Clancy, M.R. Rutherford, E.J. Bowles, R.H. McCrimmon, K.B. Blakey, P.J. Mulcahy, Robert J. Steenson, Peter O'Reilly, and Chartres Brew, the first to hold the office.


  1. ^ The Colony of Vancouver Island and the Colony of British Columbia
  2. ^ Barman, Jean (2007). The West Beyond the West: A History of British Columbia (3rd ed.). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.  

Other sources

  • McGowan's War, Donald J. Hauka, New Star Books, Vancouver (2000) ISBN 1-55420-001-6
  • British Columbia Chronicle,: Gold & Colonists, Helen and G.P.V. Akrigg, Discovery Press, Vancouver (1977) ISBN ISBN 0-919624-03-0
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.