Well aware of the chaos, violence and diseases accompanying the gold rushes in California (1848) and Australia (1851), the Nova Scotia government wanted to ensure orderly and peaceful development. Starting in 1861, gold mining districts were formally established in the province, with Mooseland being the first. Other sites receiving official designation in the early 1860s were Tangier, Lawrencetown, Oldham, and Waverley in Halifax County; Renfrew and Uniacke in Hants County; The Ovens in Lunenburg County; and Isaac’s Harbor, Goldenville, and Wine Harbour in Guysborough County. Later, additional districts like Brookfield, Whiteburn, and Moose River were designated. In total, 65 gold mining districts had been established by the early 1900s.

Besides surveying promising districts, the government also stepped in with rules and regulations about gold mining. Individual prospectors or mining companies had to register claims and sign an agreement recognizing responsibilities and lease length; resident commissioners were appointed for each district as well. Though aiming for control over the gold mining industry, the government was flexible, changing regulations as need arose. An early example of this was allowing companies beginning to work the Tangier-Mooseland fields in 1862 to consolidate claims at Tangier that were too small for significant quartz mining. This resulted in fewer lessees but higher gold yields.
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Dian Day, Susan Sellers, Rita Wilson
1861 - 1910
Nova Scotia, CANADA
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