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Title: Rolf Boldrewood and the Gold Rushes
Contributor(s): Ryan, John Sprott  (author)
Publication Date: 2010
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Abstract: Thomas Alexander Browne (1826–1915), a man better known by most for his writing pseudonym of 'Rolf Boldrewood', was born in London in 1826 and arrived in Australia from India on a convicts-bearing ship in 1831. His father, Sylvester Brown - (Boldrewood added the -e to his own surname in the 1860s) - first had settled in Sydney, but in 1838 he would overland his own cattle to Port Phillip. He had speculated in land at the site of what would be the later great city of Melbourne, only to be ruined in the depression of the early 1840s. Thomas, who saw himself as the repairer of the family's fortunes, in 1844 would himself take up a run in western Victoria, and was duly prospering there until the 1860s, when he was forced to sell one sheep station and then, in 1869, was driven off another by drought. Towards the end of this period he had submitted his first plain yet romantically informative articles on pastoral topics to the Cornhill Magazine in London, where they appeared in 1866 and 1868. Meanwhile, traces of gold had been discovered in various parts of Australia in the late 1830s, but the sporadic nature of the early finds, coupled with initial Government discouragement and even suppression of the all too unsettling news of possible wealth for the taking, meant that there were no tempestuous popular gold rushes until the early 1850s. The first came after Hargraves' concerted diggings at Bathurst in early 1851, and then the fresh discoveries at Ballarat and Bendigo followed later in the same year. Almost at once numerous books were written about goldfields and gold mining, some giving advice on gold mining and digging, others broadly treating of life on the goldfields and even further, reaching out to include general accounts of life in the Australian colonies. One of the most potent sources of exciting information about Australia's gold was clearly the periodical 'Household Words', edited and much shaped as to its contributors and contents by Charles Dickens, from 1850.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Golden Words and A Golden Landscape, p. 1-18
Publisher: Arts New England, University of New England
Place of Publication: Armidale, Australia
ISBN: 9781921597206
Field of Research (FOR): 169999 Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified
160802 Environmental Sociology
160803 Race and Ethnic Relations
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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