If you have mining ancestors in your family you can add a lot of context to the history surrounding your family and even follow their movements as they moved around in search of gold or other metals that have been mined in Australia.
A rough guide to the times where gold was being mined in Australia's history is as follows:
- South Australia - 1840's
- Victorian and New South Wales - 1850's
- Queensland - 1860's
- Western Australia - 1890's
- Many travelled over to New Zealand and back following the gold there.
You can find a great timeline of Australian Mining at this educational website Chronology of Australian Mining
The Australian Mining History Association has a wealth of information particularly a bibliography of each state with links to websites that hold information on that States Mining history.
It is a good idea to look at the Government Departments for each State that looks after Mining to see if they have historical records and information.For example - Dept of Planning and Community Development in Victoria has links to historical information at Gold mining - history and mining plots in Victoria
To get a brief overview of an area it is often useful to use wikipedia to get an idea of the area your ancestors may have mined.
Other places to research your mining family members and the places they lived are through State Libraries, Regional Specialist Libraries such as the Bendigo Regional Archives Centre, Universities and Trade Unions.
QLD State Archives - QLD Mineral Leases 1871-1940
QLD Index of Mining Company Records - Companies Index 1863-1959
NSW Registers to Gold Leases 1874-1928 - Registers of auriferous (gold) leases, 1874-1928
Gold Diggers from South Australia 1852-53 - a searchable database
New Zealand Gold Miners Database 1861-72 - Goldrush Online
The Noel Butlin Archives Centre has many records about Gold Mining as well as Union and Business Records.
Looking for family that may have been involved in a Mining Accident and you are looking in Victoria you should certainly look at Dave Evans Mining Index. This is only a sample of a more detailed index that can be found on CD. You may like to see if your local family history group or library has it available.
The QLD State Library has Mining Accidents 1882-1900
Cora Webb has links to information about the Mining Occupation that will give you some background information to this occupation.
If you are looking for more information on the types of health issues that miners may have had such as phthisis and claims they may have made against the companies they worked for you should start with your State Government Archives.
If you are looking for photographs of your ancestors or of the area they mined around. Use your State Library, State Archives, University Archives and Picture Australia to search. You may also like to look at the Images from the Past on the Royal Historical Society of Victoria.
Finding detailed information about your Mining Ancestors may be hit and miss but there are a lot of resources that can enrich the family history of your mining ancestors giving your stories more detail and depth.