The influence of mineral discoveries on the development of Australia is widely recognized, particularly the impact of the gold discoveries on migration. This paper sets out to examine the effect of a single goldfield, Charters Towers, on the Colony (State) of Queensland. The development of the field is traced from its discovery in 1872 to its decline in 1913.
The aspects of the field examined include production, investment, capital formation and population. The output of the field is examined in detail and anomolies in earlier reporting corrected. Capital formation on the field is documented and the inflow (and return) to English capital calculated. The impact of the goldfield both on interstate and overseas migration is estimated together with its contribution in total to Queensland's population.
Much of the data used has been compiled from Government reports and contemporary writings of that period. There have been few writings of any detail since, with the exception of the History Department of the James Cook University. This paper provides an economic, rather than social, account of the Charters Towers goldfield and thereby fills a gap that exists in current literature.