Gold discoveries in Australia in 1851 and New Zealand in 1861 galvanised the economic development of Australasia and had spillover effects in Britain, in ship technology, and even in the trans-Atlantic trade. The gold rushes quickly transformed economic, social, and political life. Moving around the continent in an anti-clockwise direction, they were to help found the northern port cities that grew to service the gold seekers. While the major strike in Western Australia in the 1890s out-produced the earlier period, Australia saw a third gold peak in the 1990s. The article surveys the contribution of the rushes to the development of Australasia.