Themes

GOLD MINING    •    GOLD IN NATURE    •    GOLD IN SOCIETY    •    GOLD IN ART

Creation of Gold Districts

Detail of a survey plan of the gold district of Oldham, showing the lots laid out.

Upon the announcement of the discovery of gold on the eastern shore of Nova Scotia in 1860, hundreds rushed to the area with picks and shovels. The scene was chaotic and landowners asked the government for protection.

Two gold districts were established in 1861 and others followed as news of gold discoveries in various locations along Nova Scotia’s eastern and south shores caused a stampede of the hopeful. In total, Nova Scotia had 65 gold districts around the province with lands surveys laying off lots of 50 feet by 20 feet to be leased by the Crown.

Survey plan of the gold district of Oldham showing lots laid out.

Plan map of the Oldham Gold District ca. 1864.

N.S. Department of Natural Resources Historical Mine Photo Collection.

Detail of a survey plan of the gold district of Oldham, showing the lots laid out.

Detail of plan map of the Oldham Gold District ca. 1864.

N.S. Department of Natural Resources Historical Mine Photo Collection.

Watercolour painting showing two men at the mouth of a gold mine shaft in Oldham, NS.

Oldham Gold District, Whitehead, N.E., c. 1870. Watercolour painting by Frederick B. Nichols.

AGNS: 2011.264

Black and white photograph of tributers around the opening of a mine shaft.

Tributers at the Goldenville Gold District.

DNR: Index of Historical Mining Photography, Nova Scotia 1870c-1960c.

Nova Scotians were intent on avoiding the trials and tribulations of the disorganized gold rushes in California and Australia.

"In other Countries, the discovery of gold has attracted mixed multitudes to the mines, of which the reckless and dissolute have often formed a large proportion. Robbery, riot and murder, have characterized these mixed communities, both in California and Australia. In Nova Scotia, Gold mining, like everything else, has developed itself in an orderly and law-abiding spirit." Joseph Howe, Provincial Secretary, 1861.