Economically and politically, the gold rush produced tension between the small-time capitalist miners, and the government of the colonies, which wanted to retain some sort of economic power in a time of colonial growth and wealth. Indeed, from the primary source "the political demands of the diggers" which was passed by a meeting of diggers in1854, we can see that what miners saw as excessive taxation with no political representation was causing extreme tension. This tension came to a head in the attack on the Eureka stockade, in which these miners made a stand for the economic protection of their trade, an area in which they clearly felt politically let down. Indeed, as Charles Fahey asserts, "the egalitarian ethos of the goldfields was strengthened by a common opposition to the monthly license fee".
More than this, the gold Rush caused racial tension inbetweeen the new arrivals from China in particular, and the Anglo-Saxon colonialists. This tension was clearly exhibited in the 1861 'Lambing Flat Riots' where, as the Sydney Morning Herald reported, around 3000 white settlers rallied around a "no Chinese" banner and committed atrocities to the Chinese. These racial tensions are described by Russell Ward, stating that the white settlers considered themselves superior to newcomers , and that the gold fields generally caused increased resentment of the local indigenous populations and recent 'Mongolian' immigrants alike.
In these situations the chief anxieties of gold rush Australia can be seen, situations which were almost certainly breed and increased by the stress and hardship of the occupation, in a male dominated society.
The early 1900s skyline of Ballarat, a skyline which has changed little since the gold mining boom in rural Victoria, when nearby gold at Sovereign Hill and other areas attracted investors, banks and immigrants to the urban centre. At the time Melbourne and other Victorian cities were growing to rival the established colony of New South Wales due to the rich gold fields.
Accessed at: State Library of Victoria: http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/pcards/gid/slv-pic-aab11811/1/pc002875