The Victorian Gold Discovery Committee wrote in 1854:
The discovery of the Victorian Goldfields has converted a remote dependency into a country of world wide fame; it has attracted a population, extraordinary in number, with unprecedented rapidity; it has enhanced the value of property to an enormous extent; it has made this the richest country in the world; and, in less than three years, it has done for this colony the work of an age, and made its impulses felt in the most distant regions of the earth.
For a number of years the gold output from Victoria was greater than in any other country in the world with the exception of the more extensive fields of California. Victoria's greatest yield for one year was in 1856, when 3,053,744 troy ounces (94,982 kg) of gold were won from the diggings. From 1851 to 1896 the Victorian Mines Department reported that a total of 61,034,682 oz (1,898,391 kg) of gold was mined in Victoria.
Gold was first discovered in Australia on 15 February 1823, by assistant surveyor James McBrien, at Fish River, between Rydal and Bathurst (in New South Wales). The find was considered unimportant at the time, and was not pursued for policy reasons.
In the 1850s gold discoveries in Victoria, in Beechworth, Castlemaine, Daylesford, Ballarat and Bendigo sparked gold rushes similar to the California Gold Rush. At its peak some two tonnes of gold per week flowed into the Treasury Building in Melbourne.