The gold escort

 

 

 

 

How was gold transported?

The Australian Colonies
Stage 3 | History

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Criminal record sheet for bushranger Frank Gardiner

Crime does pay. For a bit.

In 1862 Frank Gardiner (pictured) and a gang of bushrangers bailed up an escort and stole around 80kg of gold.

He was eventually caught and sentenced to 32 years hard labour.

Source: Criminal history sheet (12 June 1870). Sydney Living Museums

A miner could transport his or her gold to Sydney using the 'gold escort'. But bushrangers often tried to rob them during the journey, so it could be risky.

For a small fee miners could send their gold to places like Sydney using the gold escort.

Once it arrived safely it could be put into a miner's bank account.

At the start of the gold rush, the escort was organised by the police. In later years, private companies also start to run gold escort services.

Because the escorts were carrying gold, sometimes worth thousands of pounds, they were often targeted by bushrangers.

As a result, the policemen who travelled on the escorts were heavily armed.

As more and more people went to the gold fields the gold escort became more regular.

Soon hundreds of kilograms of gold was being sent to Sydney each week.

After the Sydney Mint opened in May 1855, most of the gold was delivered there.

It was then turned into gold coins called sovereigns and sent back to the miners, using the gold escort once again.

About the author

Head and shoulders portrait of man standing holding old bottle and in front of shelf of bottles.

Edward Washington

Program Producer – Learning

Ed is part of the Sydney Living Museums learning team, which provides curriculum-based programs to more than 60,000 students and teachers every year. In 2019 he received the Ruth Pope Bequest Annual Travelling Scholarship for international travel and study.