Historical information

From 1851 the Victorian government required all men on Victorian Goldfields to carry a Gold License. The fee was one pound per month, and was payable in advance.

There was agitation surrounding the gold license which was thought to be an excessive fee and did not give the bearer right to representation. On 03 December 1854 the gold diggers on the Eureka Lead fought a short battle against the army and police troopers. A few months later a new system of taxing gold diggers was introduced - the Miner's Right.


The Victorian Gold Licence was issued from 1851 until early 1855. Every man on a Victorian goldfield had to carry a valid gold license, so few survived the harsh treatment of being carried around a working goldfield.

There was much dissatisfaction about what was thought to be an unfair mining tax (or gold license). On 29 November 1854 Ballarat miners burnt their licenses on Bakery Hill. On 3 December 1854 the Eureka Stockade Battle took place, resulting in the Goldfields Commission. The first Miner's Right was issued in late June 1855, and in July the first Local Courts were elected by miner's right holders.

The two Fitnall Gold Licenses are important because they were issued on either side of the Eureka Stockade, and are in very good condition.

The Gold Licenses were donated to the Ballarat School of Mines by John Wilson in 1921.

Physical description

Two gold licenses issued by the Colony of Victoria. The licenses are printed onto blue paper with a Colony of Victoria logo at the top. The licenses were issued on either side of the historic Eureka Stockade in Ballarat East which took place on 03 December 1854.

.1) No 219 - Made out to [H?] Fithall on 16 April 1854 and signed by Commissioner R.C. Mackenzie. The license was valid until 31 July 1854.

.2) No. 214 - Made out to [H?] Fithall on 1 May 1854 and signed by Commissioner J. Johnston. The license was valid until 15 May 1855.

Inscriptions & markings

On the backing card "Given to the School of Mines, October 6 1921, by John Wilson Errard Street, Ballarat."