Flows of water on a nineteenth-century Australian goldfield
journal contributionposted on 2020-10-15, 00:40 authored by PW Davies, S Lawrence
The goldrush in Victoria during the 1850s and 1860s created new awareness of the many meanings and values of water. Most mining technologies required substantial
quantities of water to power machinery and separate gold from the earth, but available supplies were often inadequate. Miners responded by constructing dams and lengthy races to capture, store and distribute water to mining claims. In the process they created extensive landscapes of water management, where the natural flow of water was layered with industrial, legal, commercial and social flows as well. Experience in water manipulation on the Victorian goldfields played an important role in the later development of water laws and state water management.