Historical information

Taken in the 1990's, this photograph depicts a row of shop fronts in the 'Street of Shops' exhibition in the Burke Museum in Beechworth. This exhibition was created and opened in 1979 and was intended to reflect and imitate a historic peirod in the town's past. The time period decpicted is that of the Gold Rush which swept through many Victorian towns from the 1850's onwards. For the town of Beechworth, the gold rush began in 1852, when gold was discovered in Spring Creek, drawing in many new residents seeking to make a fortune and transforming a once remote town into a bustling centre brimming with hope and opportunity. By 1857, the town contained over 200,000 residents and with this, the need for more amenities and intsitutions arose. Multiple churches, banks, schools, shops, hospitals and other essential buildings appearing over the years. The wealth acquired through the gold rush is largely responsible for the vast development of the town and many of its significant buildings which still remain to this day.

This photograph also highlights the significance of this type of exhibition, providing a new mode of experiencing and learning about the past. The street depicts the many supporting trades and industries that arose from the mass migration during the gold rush. The creation of the Street of Shops in 1979 was envisioned by Roy Harvey who was the curator at the time, with the intention of recreating an authentic feel to the environment while collecting from the community to accurately portray the multiculturalism that is ingrainded in many towns and communities of Victoria.


This photograph contains historical significance as it relates to and portrays an especially important period of time within Beechworth and Victoria's history. The gold rush phenomena ushered in a wave of hope and prosperity for citizens and immigrants alike. It provided many with the opportunity to strike it rich, while the town prospered and grew in many ways. This widespread development that accompanied the gold rush occured throughout Victoria and holds great historical importance when recording the social, economic and communal developments that occured throughout the time period which gave way to the beloved towns and communities we know today. Beechworth itself is acknowledged as Victoria's best-preserved gold mining town and deserves recognition of its significance. it also showcases the great significance of social develpment and globalization that occured throughout the state during this period.

Physical description

Coloured rectangular photograph printed on matte photographic paper and unmounted.

Inscriptions & markings

Dancing every night 8pm-6am [mirror] / Gold Diggers Arms Hotel façade / Star / Beechworth Gold / J. Davidson / Saloon