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A4478 Brooch, mining equipment motifs, gold, commissioned by Edward Austin, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, c. 1855. Click to enlarge.

Goldfields brooch commissioned by Edward Austin

In May 1851, a few months after Edward Hammond Hargraves had published his discovery of gold, Bathurst shopkeeper Edward Austin arrived in Sydney with a nugget weighing about 225 grams. According to The Sydney Morning Herald (15 May 1851) it created 'a great sensation'. Austin's find fanned the excitement that was to shake the colony and create a rush to the Bathurst region. Choosing to remain in Bathurst, Austin made his fortune by providing diggers with credit to buy mining tools and then …


Object No.


Object Statement

Brooch, mining equipment motifs, gold, commissioned by Edward Austin, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, c. 1855

Physical Description

A rectangular brooch made of gold, rusticated wire framework with mining equipment motifs including shovels, a windlass, buckets, picks, a sieve and a miner, surrounded by framework of leaves. Hinged pin on reverse.


On reverse, engraved, 'Australia, c. 1852'



45 mm


50 mm


14 mm



The brooch was either designed or commissioned in 1851 by Bathurst merchant and gold buyer Edward Austin for his wife Mary Ann.



The following summary of Edward Austin's life is compiled from genealogical research.

1804 Edward Austin born Elias Arnstein in Sulzbach, Bavaria
1822 completed tailor apprenticeship
1824 employed as tailor in Munich
1830 employed as book keeper in Constanz, Switzerland
1831 travelled to England and adopted the name Austin
1831 arrested and tried for stealing two brooches and one ring (in England). Sentenced to 7 years transportation.
1832 arrived in Sydney and sent to Bathurst as govt. servant.
1837 obtained ticket of leave. Remained in the Bathurst area
1839 obtained certificate of Freedom. Married Mary Ann Chambers (six children subsequently born; three daughters and three sons)
1841 purchased home in Bathurst
1845 sold storekeeping business
1846 owned further twenty one properties in Bathurst. Visited England. Obtained letter of Denization
1847 granted full pardon by Queen Victoria
1851 first buyer of gold discovered near Bathurst (subsequently had gold mining brooch made for wife Mary Ann)
1856 died in Bathurst, buried at Kelso cemetery.


Credit Line

Gift of Una & Winifred Lane, 1954

Acquisition Date

27 May 1954

Cite this Object


Goldfields brooch commissioned by Edward Austin 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 25 June 2022, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Goldfields brooch commissioned by Edward Austin |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=25 June 2022 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}