A forged steel pick with a wooden handle. The steel pick-head was hand-forged by a blacksmith. This miner's pick was used on the Ballarat gold-fields c1920
L 41cm W of handle 6cm W of pick-head 21cm
This gold miner's pick from the Ballarat Goldfields c 1920 was donated by Mr David Hopcraft, a dealer at the Arkuna Market Berwick, Victoria in December 2010. When Gold was discovered in Victoria c1853 most of the labourers and some landowners left the market gardens and farms to try their luck on the goldfields. Local Blacksmiths made picks similar to this one for them. There was a great shortage of labour in Melbourne and at the same time, due to the huge influx of people lured by the Gold, there was an increased demand for food. The market gardeners were getting very good prices for their produce and many increased their wealth considerably and many of these tenant farmers were able to purchase their blocks of land and live a profitable life.
There was such a shortage of labour that J.B.Were applied for Irish immigrants to work the farms.
This pick is an example of the hand made tools many pioneers took with them when they abandoned their farms and market gardens in the District of Brighton to try their luck at prospecting when gold was discovered in Ballarat and Bendigo c1853. Some were successful , most were not and retuned again to the hard life of farming.