Edward Hargraves, gold rush publicist, ca. 1880-1884 photographer Henry King
The press announces the discovery of Payable Gold, starting the Gold Rush in Australia.
NEWS OF HARGREAVES DISCOVERY
DISCOVERY OF AN EXTENSIVE GOLD FIELD. (1851, May 15). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved July 20, 2021, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12927091
DISCOVERY OF AN EXTENSIVE GOLD FIELD.
DISCOVERY OF AN EXTENSIVE GOLD FIELD. (From the Bathurst Free Press, May 10.,)
The existence of gold in the Wellington district has for a long time been an ascertained fact, but public attention has never until now been seriously drawn to the circumstance. A little temporary curiosity would occasionally be excited whenever news were spread abroad, that old McGreggor, the gold-finder from that district, had passed per mail on his way to the metropolis, as was always believed, laden with auriferous treasure. This sub-sided, nothing more would be heard of the matter for a long interval than an occasional rumour that he had rejected some tempting offer, held out by a Sydney Jeweller, or Wellington settler, as an inducement to disclose the secret of the locale, whence his treasure was derived. It is sufficient for the present purpose to state, that the progress he made in life with no other ostensible means of earning money than shepherding and gold-finding, has always been regarded as presumptive evidence of his success in the latter vocation.
The arrival of Mr. Hargraves in Bathurst on Tuesday evening last, who, it was generally known, had been in communication with Government respecting discoveries made by him of extensive gold deposits in our cis-montane region, has now brought the subject more prominently before the Bathurst public. On Thursday evening, he invited a few gentlemen to meet him at Mr. Arthur's Inn, with the object of communicating such information as he had obtained upon this interesting subject, in his recent explorations, and the readiness and intelligence which he displayed in answering the numerous questions addressed to him, showed satisfactorily that he not only possessed an intimate knowledge of gold mining in all its branches, but was desirous of giving every possible information upon the matter connected with his visit. From the running conversation which was kept up for several hours, we gleaned the following particulars.
Mr. Hargraves, who has spent nearly two years at the California diggings, returned to this colony in January last, having, as he states, whilst there, derived considerable information from the Mexican miners, whom he represents as by far the best and most successful diggers. Struck by the similarity of the geological formation and external physical characteristics of certain portions of this colony and the California gold fields, he was induced, at his own expense, and on his own responsibility, to visit this and the neighbouring districts, to institute a personal examination. His researches have been crowned with success. After riding about 300 miles, so as to intersect the country at numerous points, and spending from two to three months in the prosecution of his object, Mr. Hargraves states as the result of his observations, that from the foot of the Big Hill to a considerable distance below Wellington, on the Macquarie, is one vast gold field, that he has actually discovered the precious metal in numberless places, and that indications of its existence are to be seen in every direction, indeed, so satisfied is he on this point, that he has established a company of nine working miners, who are now actively employed, digging at a point of the Summer Hill Creek near its junction with the Macquarie, about 50 miles from Bathurst and 30 from Guyong. Ophir is the name given to those diggings.
Several samples of fine gold were shown to the company by Mr. Hargraves, weighing in all about four ounces - the produce, he stated, of three days' digging. The amount thus earned by each man he represented as £... 4s. 8d, per day, but he observed that from want of practical knowledge, and proper implements, he was convinced that nearly one-half of the gold actually dug had been lost, owing to the labour being performed in his absence. One of the samples produced was a solid piece, weighing about two ounces, and was found at the diggings attached to the root of a tree, by Mr. John Lyster, who is one of the company. Another sample consisted of small pieces, weighing from several grains to a pennyweight, all elongated, and of various shapes, and a third of small flat particles, principally oval. The large piece, which appears as if it had been in a state of fusion, is intended by Mr. Hargraves as a present to his Excellency the Governor. The only process through which the above samples had passed, was the washing, which had been performed by Mr. Hargraves himself.
The principal localities mentioned by Mr. Hargraves, where he had discovered gold, were Summer Hill, Guyong, and Lewis Pond Creeks. He also found gold at Dubbo, below Wellington, which he stated to be in powder, fine as the finest flour, but so far as he could judge from the opportunities he had, it did not exist in sufficient quantity to pay for the necessary labour. From the nature of some of the country explored by him, he is of opinion that gold will be found in mass, and would not be surprised if pieces of 30 or 40lbs. should be discovered. He had seen no country in California, which promised metal in such heavy masses. This description of country he represents as not being desirable as a field of speculation. One or two occupied thereon might be lucky enough to find a lump, but their companions will expend much toil and probably obtain nothing, whilst the ground which yielded the " dust" or larger particles could be calculated upon as returning a certain remuneration for a given quantity of labour.
We are assured by Mr. Hargraves that there exists an opening for an unlimited supply of labour in the vicinity of the diggings already opened by him, but he holds out no florid hopes, he makes no unreasonable or exaggerated statements. His arguments and representations simply amount to this, that there exists in the neighbouring, districts an extensive gold field, but whether a rich or remunerative field of labour he does not undertake to say. This question remains to be solved by actual trial.
We have now given the principal items of information connected with this most important and interesting subject. In the statements made we do not intend to incur any responsibility. We tell the story as 'twas told to us. The suddenness with which the announcement of a discovery of such magnitude has come upon us - a discovery which must, if true, be productive of such gigantic results not only to the inhabitants of those districts but to the whole colony, affects the mind with astonishment and wonder in such a manner as almost to unfit it for the deductions of plain truth, sober reason, and common sense. Mr. Hargraves is an intelligent, an educated, and we believe a respectable man. His manner is quiet and unobtrusive. He does not seek to thrust his information upon the people, but when questioned, answers modestly and intelligibly any questions put to him. The attention paid to him by Government is some guarantee of his respectability and his acquaintance with his subject, and there really does appear such an absence of any reasonable motive to mislead the public that if we do not comprehend all we have heard from him we are not prepared to disbelieve it. He started yesterday for Coombing, to join Mr. Stutchbury, the Government geologist, who, we are informed, will accompany him to the diggings. The matter will therefore be quickly placed beyond the reach of suspicion or incredulity.
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