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Julia Farrell

Gold Miner

Julia Farrell was born in New Norfolk, Tasmania, the seventh child of the union. By the age of 17, she had crossed the Bass Strait to Melbourne.  There she married Patrick Farrell, at St Francis’ Church in 1848 – the very same year gold was first discovered in Colomo, California.

This discovery led to the American gold rush of 1849. The Australian gold rush soon followed, with gold first being discovered in Bathurst, there was a rush to New South Wales and there grew a hope that gold would also be discovered in Victoria.

Histories of the Victorian gold rush often overlook women’s presence on the goldfields[1]  Women at this time often accompanied their husbands to the gold fields but generally stayed home to look after housework and children. Panning and mining for gold were not considered women’s work, as the labour was too hard and demanding. [2]

In 1851, that would soon change. While their husbands were working at a nearby station, Margaret Kennedy and Julia Farell camped and panned by Bendigo Creek and found gold!

At the time it was reported in The Argus that gold had been found. The discovery of gold by these two women proved that women were just as capable and successful as men, in work that was at the time considered by many, too hard for women.[3]

However at the time there were others who also claimed to have been the first to have found gold at Bendigo Creek. To this day, many historians believe that Margaret Kennedy and Julia Farrell were the first to find gold at Bendigo Creek, while others disagree.



Stevens-Chambers, Brenda

Celebrating Bendigo Women 2016


Original Reference:

Hull, Rita

The Ladies Claim to Fame References; the story of Margaret Kennedy and Julia Farrell 2011


Site: An obelisk by Bendigo Creek marks the site of the first gold discovery in 1851 and is a tribute to the pioneers.

Traditional owners acknowledgement:  The Bendigo area is the traditional land of the Dja Dja Wurrung people. We acknowledge and pay our respect to the Dja Dja Wurrung People, the Traditional Owners of the land.