Sunday, May 4, 2014

Miner's Right, Woolshed, 1856

From the collection of the Gold Museum, Ballarat.



The question as to whether George was a gold-digger, or merely attracted by the festival-like atmosphere of the diggings, is something I often wondered about.  I thought it was resolved when I discovered that his qualification for being included on the 1856/57 Electoral Roll for the Legislative Assembly in the Reid's Creek and Woolshed Division, Ovens District was a Miner's Right.   His occupation on that document was given as 'miner'.  I further discovered that when the new constitution took effect in November 1856 that a miner's right made provision for the holder to occupy crown land and reside.  So a miner's right made it possible for people, such as George and Susan Griffith, to have a secure place to live. Even if George did not spend a lot of time digging for gold, it would seem likely that he must have spent some time engaged in it.


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