Perhaps nothing in Australia’s history can compare with the discovery of gold, for its impact on the population was tremendous. Men were enticed to leave their homes and employment, and travel the hazardous routes to the newly discovered goldfields in the hope of making a quick fortune. The news in Australia of the discovery of gold in California in January, 1849, led many to sell their belongings and take passage on one of several ships in Melbourne bound for California. Some 400 men embarked for the distant El Dorado in a matter of days. This was a notable incident in the Melbourne on the day, when the seeking of gold was discouraged as far as possible by the authorities. While the ships were being filled with able-bodied men bound for San Francisco, gold was being discovered in the Pyrenees in Victoria by a shepherd boy named Chapman. He is reported to have sold 22ozs of gold of high quality to a Collins Street jeweller. By George O Brown.