Gold rush & bushrangers!

What was life like during the NSW gold rush?

The discovery of gold in 1851 was boosting the economy with new found wealth. Bushrangers were terrorising rural towns. Migration - particularly of women - was increasing and new technology was expanding and connecting the colony like never before.

Focusing on the decades between 1850 and 1880 Gold rush & bushrangers! investigates the way in which people's lives were affected and changed during the New South Wales gold rush.

Simply select a topic to get started, you will be able to:

  • analyse artworks and objects for evidence;
  • read primary sources (including documents and newspaper reports);
  • complete activities and answer questions;
  • conduct independent research.

Designed by primary school teachers, for students, this free resource offers in-depth (but accessible) research, new perspectives and student activities.

It will also help young historians understand how we know what we know and the importance of using a wide range of sources when researching the past.

The Australian Colonies
Stage 3 (Yr 5&6)

History | English | Creative Arts | Mathematics


HT-3-1 | HT-3-2 | HT-3-5

Bushrangers & crime

Were bushrangers villains or heroes?

Includes student activities

The NSW gold rush

What happened when a miner found some gold?

Includes student activities

Troopers & Aboriginal trackers

What was it like to be in the mounted police?

Includes student activities

Female migration

Why did thousands of women migrate to NSW? 

Includes student activities

Chinese goldminers in NSW

What challenges did these migrants face?


Building the railways

How significant was the advent of the railway?   

Includes student activities

Impact of new technology

How did the electric telegraph help police?

Includes student activities

The gold escort

How did miners transport their gold to Sydney?

Includes student activities

'Who's a clever cocky then?'

Think you know it all? 

Take the student quiz and see how you do!

Need more resources for primary school history?

Early convict Sydney

Find out what life was like for convicts in the early years ofthe colony.


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Day in the life of a convict

Day in the Life of a Convict will help you investigate what life was like for the ‘government men’ who lived at the Hyde Park Barracks.


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Female migration

Why were women migrating to Australia in the 1800s and what was their experience like?


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More learning resources

Sydney Living Museums offers a range of free online learning resources. Designed by teachers for primary and secondary school students to use in class or at home.

See all learning resources