John Davies of Talsarnau, Gwynedd, with his brother and friend seeking gold during the Australian Gold Rush
John Davies of Talsarnau, Gwynedd, with his brother and friend. They are seeking gold in Queensland, Australia in the 1880s
Harry Jones, contemporary cartoon
Harry Jones, contemporary cartoon
Rachel and John Price, with their daughters Esther and Rachael Jane
Rachel and John Price, with their daughters Esther and Rachael Jane
Rachel Price
Rachel Price

Gold has been mined intermittently in Wales for thousands of years, but the industry never employed huge numbers of workers. Despite this, many Welsh emigrants joined the famous 'Gold Rushes' of the 19th century.

Gold discovered in parts of the USA, Canada and Australia attracted people from all over the world. Many found very little and gave up prospecting to turn to other employment or to return home. A few made a passable living from gold; even fewer made a very large amount of money.

George Hall was born near Hay on Wye in 1855. He developed the Gwalia series of gold mines in Western Australia in the 1890s. The mines made a huge profit for his employers and Hall made a personal fortune himself albeit with some dubious business deals.

Harry Jones from north Wales had a more typical story. He emigrated to British Columbia, Canada in 1862 with 'The Company of Welsh Adventurers'. He continued prospecting for gold there until he died in the 1930s aged 95.

John and Rachel Price

John and Rachel married in Dowlais in 1868 and emigrated to Australia. They had some success in the goldfields, returning to Wales after 5 years. John left £10 in an Australian bank but Rachel refused to return so he went to Liverpool alone to catch his ship. He couldn't leave his wife however and returned to her in Dowlais.

Comments(2)

Jennifer Protheroe-Jones Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales Staff
30 March 2020, 19:18

Dear Elaine Coomber,

Thank you for your enquiry.

I have emailed you with suggestions on how you might be able to research your ancestor's emigration.

Yours sincerely,

Jennifer Protheroe-Jones
Principal Curator - Industry

Elaine Coomber nee Sedgmore
27 March 2020, 10:49
My greatgrandfather Thomas.Jenkins from Hirwaun Aberdare Glamorgan South Wales went to mine for gold. How can I find out more.

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