LETTERS FROM THE EDITOR'S POST-BAG
TO THE EDITOR OF THE AROUS
Sir,-I was very interested In your article on the Avoca robbery. It brought many interesting things to my mind in regard to the mystery of the lost gold.
How many Victorians know beautiful Waratah Bay, a shelter in fierce storms for ships battling in the straits? At the Liptrap end of this perfect bay there was, 35 years ago, a prosperous settlement, a lime-burning company having four kilns on the beach, burning the limestone from the cliffs there. The manager was a Mr. Dewar, who lived in a large, rambling house with his wife and family. He was a Scotsman of the finest type-upright, honourable, and his word was his bond.
I preface this to the tale I shall tell, as I know he would not romance with the truth. About 36 years ago I was spending a quiet holiday at the bay. I went down to get my letters, which came rather spasmodically. Mr. Dewar, who was also the postmaster, was sunning himself, and I sat down beside him. I expect I remarked idly on the beauty of the scene. I remember that I said how free from history such places In Aus- tralia are.
Mr. Dewar said, "Why, lassie, the bay has its history, too," and as time was heavy on our hands, the Wiberg story was told to me. I think Mr. Dewar's first contact with Wiberg came when he ensconced himself in a cave near the settlement.
Wiberg was a man of violent temper. Mr. Dewar said that he roamed the bush from the Tarwin toward Cape Lip- trap, his clothes being ragged, and re- placed by possum skins.
The incident of the Tarwin was that Wiberg was taken in a boat, of which one of the party was Sergeant-Detective Mahoney, reputed to be the best runner in the force. When the boat was pulled in close to the bank, amid high reeds and scrub, Wiberg suddenly dealt Mahoney a violent blow, completely winding him. In the confusion the cul- prit escaped.
Eventually Wiberg appeared at Wara- tah Bay, and lived in a cave, which he made comfortable. He was still being searched for, as police came sometimes to stay at Mr. Dewar's for a few days
to look round.
As Wiberg had a very good pair of field-glasses, he could see anyone com
ing, and he simply faded away at search times. He had plenty of money. Mr. Dewar said that the Despatch brought down kerosene tins of nxle grease, evi- dently stuffed with the gold.
"One day," said Mr. Dewar, "much to my surprise, I saw Wlberg coming down the pier. He asked if his wife (who was a housekeeper to a resident) was still there. Mr. Dewar said, "She is, but how did you get here?" Wiberg told a tale that he had been to Sydney and bought a large yacht, which was lying in shelter outside one of the islands. His two brothers were there, and others, to make up the crew. He had come for his wife and child, and would take them with him, and then they could sall for the south of New Zealand, in search of a gold-laden ship, said to have sailed into a cave one dark night.
Mr. Dewar said, "Let me have a look at the boat," and with scorn in his voice, he said, "Why, man, it is only a carvel. You came in on the tide, but you will never get out again." Wiberg persisted that he would, so Mr. Dewar persuaded him to ballast the boat with some bags of sand. Then Mrs. Wiberg and her daughter came along the pier, very tearful and unwilling to go.
Mr. Dewar said: "I thought very quickly, and said, 'Get back to the beach with your child, Mrs. Wlberg. Get off my pier.' " Very gladly the mother and child retreated, and Wiberg, in a tower- ing rage, started for the yacht, miles away, and in the face of a strong tide.
Mr. Dewar watched him until he turned a corner and disappeared from sight. A day or two later a Mr. Pil- kington, living at Sandy Point, away across the bay, rode in to Waratah. He asked if anyone had left in a boat, as there were pieces of a boat and a red cap washed up. Mr. Dewar subse- quently identified the timber and the cap. He said it left no doubt in his mind that Wiberg had been drowned on his foolhardy trip to the yacht.
A day or two later the Despatch, on her trip to the Lakes, saw the yacht lying in shelter, with distress signals fly- ing. On Inquiry the crew was found to be short of food, and living on toffee made from sugar and water.
I think no one can doubt that Wiberg
After some time, Mr. Dewar said, the two brothers came from Melbourne and occupied a vacant house. One man had
his young wife with him. They were very poor, seemingly, as they lived on fish and vegetables, raided by night, from neighbours' gardens. All the time they could spare the two men searched the coastline for the gold.
One morning the young wife came to Mr. Dewar and said that her husband had not returned home. They found him dead. He had evidently slipped or fallen on a pinnacle of rock, which
had entered his head.
Mr. Dewar said most impressively: "What a lesson on the lust for gold! Wlberg's bones lie In the bay at our feet, and his brother's body iles in the little cemetery away to our left." Mr. Dewar was firmly convinced that the gold was planted between Waratah and Cape Liptrap.
Your readers will be glad to know that out of this welter of misery Mrs. Wiberg came into peaceful days. She married again, for obvious reasons I can- not say to whom, but her life un- doubtedly then "fell in pleasant places." -Yours, &c, _ Cheltenham. M. HUNTER.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ARGUS
Sir,-I was much interested to read the article on the buried treasure at Inverloch. It keenly brings to my memory some facts connected with the Wiberg robbery. Turning up an old ledger I found this item, dated Septem- ber 25, 1879:
"Load of furniture from Tooradin to Bass Landing for Martin Wiberg. From the landing it was carted to Anderson's Inlet by bullock waggon. The load con- sisted of bedstead, chairs, and about 20 boxes, and some were very heavy. Wiberg said they contained carpenter's tools, &c. We got as far ar Queens- ferry the first night, and Wiberg had a couple of meals with me, and slept at my bachelor quarters that night. We arrived at Bass Landing next day. The bullock dray was loaded up, and Wiberg paid me with two sovereigns, and went with the load."
Little did I know at the time that the boxes contained so much wealth, or I might have been tempted to put one
of them aside.
Your account is fairly correct, but It does not mention how suspicion fell on Wiberg. He married a barmaid at Williamstown, and spent money freely, but his wife became jealous and gave the police a hint. A search of his hut
ended with some of the money being found in bars of soap and carpenters planes. He was then arrested. The officer he kicked into the river was Detec- tive Secretan
Some years later I had a German seaman working for me, by name Martin Kunzie, who came from the same town as Wiberg He said that when he left home Wiberg was keeping an hotel and that he made no secret that he had been to Australia, and had made his money there. So, in my opinion and that of other old hands very little trea- sure will ever be found at Inverloch - Yours, &c,
Grantville C T WHITE
TRAIN SAFETY COMES
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ARGUS
Sir,-I wonder how manj of the readers, of 'The Argus week-end magazine of January 8 noticed that in the most interesting article Train Safety Comes First the illustration stated to represent Some of the Tracks at Flinders Street Station in reality depicts the approach to Spencer street station fiom North Melbourne-Yours &c, T G S GRIEVE Canterbury
[Other readers have also noted the point-Ed "A"]
A GOLDSEEKER'S ODYSSEY
TO THE EDITOR OF THE AHOUS
Sir,-I read the comment on Mr Menzies' book with interest I think Mr Young's strictures unnecessarily severe It is true that three j ears after Menzies built the mansion on Mounts Bay road and married the jewellers daughter, he was working for wages for a living, so that he met the tate of many a good man If at his time of life he can Induce a London firm of publishers to ' take him on he is more than able to shoot himself out of a paper bag '
In the next town farther out from Menzies I saw a tribe of about 100 blackfellows with bones through their noses, all men of more than Oft in height, come into Kookynie where they killed one white man
The shooting of the Afghan by Martin Walch for polluting the soak was FO iustifted that Walch was acquitted It
î true that before the railway or police arrhed lawlessness was rare For one reason lawbreakers had a bad get-away, and when caught they had an eor cut off to know them by Menzies, mine the Lady Shenton and the adjoining mine the Lady Sherry were not great
-Yours, &c , J EM