The Ballarat Goldfields Diary

A Note for Teachers

These files have been created to make primary sources of information more accessible to students.

  • They are deliberately short.
  • The audio files are designed to make difficult historic text come to life for students
  • The text is provided so students can read along
  • We have tried to model good referencing techniques

The State Library of Victoria has acquired a diary of a digger in Ballarat in 1855. It is incredible. The author is believed to be a Scotsman and records daily life in meticulous detail. Sovereign Hill’s Barry Kay has been recording some excerpts for us. We have started with a few recordings below. Reproduced with kind permission of the State Library of Victoria.

Click on the player below each date to listen:

11 July

Our diarist chooses a claim only to have it disputed by “a Dundee man”. He walks out to Slaty Creek and stays with friends, two men sleeping in a stretcher 2 feet (60 cm) wide!

14 July A Great Lark

A newly married woman tries to trick an older man.

24 July A Long Day

Our man works in a wet drive only 2 feet high and ends up with sore kness and neck. He tells us of other parties finds.

30 July Dr. Doyle

Our diarist is ill and seeks the help of Dr. Doyle whos “sounds his bones” before prescribing. We hear of his evening duties.

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