1851 in Australia was a watershed year. It saw the start of the Australian gold rushes with significant gold discoveries in both New South Wales (near Bathurst) in February and Victoria in July. As a result of the Gold Rushes, the European population of Victoria increased from 97,489 in 1851 to 538,628 in 1861 and the population of NSW increased from 197,265 in 1851 to 350,860 in 1861. Victoria became a self-governing colony. Sentiment in the eastern Australian colonies moved decisively against penal transportation leading to the end of transportation to Tasmania in 1853. Melbourne's major suburb/satellite city in the Dandenong Ranges, Belgrave is first settled, making it the oldest town in the Dandenong Ranges.
22 July — Northern NSW landholders write to Earl Grey calling for Northern NSW to become a separate colony with transportation of labour. They complain of a shortage of labour due to men going to the goldfields.
29 July — 1500 people attend a public meeting to oppose transportation organised by the Australasian League
Australian Geographic Encyclopedia of Australia 1996 Volume 1 page 30
Encyclopedia of Australian Events, The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd, Bryce Fraser and The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd 1997, MacquarieNet 2002 (online edition) retrieved 14 June 2006
^Munday, Rosemary, ed. (1991). "How Australia Began: Significant Dates in Australian History". The Bulletin Australian Almanac & Book of Facts 1992. Sydney: Australian Consolidated Press. p. 3. ISSN1038-054X.