Vault #1: Gold Field Gold Deals

Gold Buyer, Forest Creek (1853) watercolour by S T Gill (Samual Thomas),
La Trobe Picture Collection,
State Library of Victoria
Gold Buyer, Forest Creek (1853) watercolour by S T Gill (Samual Thomas), La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria

To make a profit from his labour a digger had to exchange his nuggets or gold dust for cheques, paper money or gold sovereigns.

Professional gold buyers worked the goldfields, usually operating out of tents or rough sheds. They negotiated a gold price with the hungry and thirsty diggers which was often well below what the banks and bullion merchants in Melbourne or Geelong would pay. The gold buyer would arrange to have large shipments of gold escorted to the city banks where he would turn a profit on his investment.

Gold prices varied over the years. By mid-1852, the Melbourne gold price was around £3 per ounce, while on the diggings as low as £2.50 per ounce was accepted. Return on gold exported to the United Kingdom was calculated at £4 an ounce.

Gold prices for vault 1 are given as per the Australian and New Zealand Colonial Gazette 15 January 1853.