In 1851, Edward Hargraves discovered a 'grain of gold' in a waterhole near Bathurst. He was convinced that the similarity in geological features between Australia and the California goldfields (from where he had just returned) boded well for the search of gold in his homeland. He was proved correct. He named the place 'Ophir', reported his discovery to the authorities, and was appointed a 'Commissioner of Land'. He received a reward of 10,000, plus a life pension.
The discovery marked the beginning of the Australian gold rushes and a radical change in the economic and social fabric of the nation.