GYMPIE CREEK GOLD
THROUGH the courtesy of the authorities, we have been permitted to publish the following report from Inspector Lewis to Commissioner Seymour, concerning the route to the new gold- fields, and the state of the population at present
upon them :
Police Department, Inspector's Office,
Brisbane, November 11.
Sir,-I have the honor to report for your in- formation that, in accordance with your instruc- tions, I started on the 31st ultimo, in charge of a party of police, for the Gympie Creek Gold- field, for the purpose of forming a police station
there, and arrived at the diggings on the 3rd
I found the road leading from Durundur to Imbil (a distance of about fifty miles) impassable for drays accompanied by the ordinary number of drivers. I am quite satisfied that no loaded dray could possibly have reached the diggings safely, were ¡t not for the assistance of parties of men proceeding to the gold-field, and the aid which the several drivers of teams gave to each other in lowering with ropes the goods and drays down the declivities, and holding the vehicles by main force from toppling over in passing along steep sidelings.
Several drays were overturned, and some of the drivers badly bruised in their attempts to save the horses and goods entrusted to their charge from destruction. I was very much surprised that no lives were lost in these hazardous undertakings, more especially as I found that it was with much difficulty I managed to lead on foot a saddle-horse along some of the places where drays had passed.
On reaching the diggings I found a population numbering about five hundred, the majority of whom were doing little or nothing in the way of digging for the precious metal.
Claims, however, were markod out in all di- rections, and the ground leading from the gul- lies where the richest finds have been got was taken up for a considerable distance. I have very little hesitation in stating that two-thirds of the people congregated there had never been on a diggings before, and seemed to be quite at a loss what to do. Very few of them had tents to live in or tools to work with ; and I am afraid that the majority of those had not
sufficient money to keep them in food for one
I have calculated that about twenty-five per cent of those who went to Gympie Creek have returned to their homes. I conversed with several of them ; and, from what I learned, I have reason to believe that the longest period any of them remained on the gold-field did not exceed seven days ; and very few of them had done even a day's work.
From all that I could glean from miners and others, with whom I had on opportunity of speaking, respecting the diggings, I think it very probable that a permanent gold-field will be established at, or in the vicinity of, Gympie Creek ; and if reports - which were in circula-
tion when I left the diggings-to the effect that several prospecting parties had found gold at different points, varying from one to five miles from the township, be correct, there is little doubt but it will be an extensive gold-field, and will absorb a large population within a very short period.
When I left, there were two general stores, two butchers' shops, and one blacksmith's shop, in what is called the township ; other stores were in the course of erection ; provisions were plentiful, and at reasonable rates.
I formed the police station on a rising ground about one hundred yards from the Mary River, and half-a-mile from the township. I had a good road made through the scrub to the river. The ground upon which the camp stands forms a kind of pocket, in which there is very good grass. I directed Sergeant M'Carthy to put up a sapling fence across the pocket, in which the horses can be safely kept at night. The horses can be hobbled out in the daytime, but I am afraid that there will he very little feed for them in a short time, as the whole country from Durundur to the diggings, and beyond them, has been burnt, and for miles on each
side of the road.
I started for Brisbane on the 6th instant, and having heard that Mr. Low, of Mooloolah, had cut a marked tree line, via Cooroy, Scott's sta- tion and the Glass Mountains, coming out at Warabab, I came that way. I think that I must have passed through upwards of thirty scrubs, some of them very dense and a long way through.
The greater number of the creeks crossed were dry, some of them had very steep bank. I do not consider that this route would he
passable for drays, unless a very large amount of money was expended in bridging the creeks and removing fallen timber. The road, how- ever, is more level than the old one, but would be very boggy in wet weather.
The distance by this route is about 131 miles.
... ... ... ... Miles.
From Diggings to Cooroy ... 30 Cooroy to Scott's ... ... 12 Scott's to Lander's ... ... 32 Lander's to Glass Mountains ... ... 10 Glass Mountains to Warabah ... ... 10 Warabah to Petrie's ... ... 22 Petrie's to Brisbane ... ... 15
Total ... ... ....131
At Warabah I formed a police station. I found a slab building there containing three rooms, with a good shingle roof. Some of the slabs were removed from the building, but there are quite enough on the ground to replace them. There is a very good paddock there of about 100 acres, enclosed with a substantial
The building requires two doors and three windows to put it in good ropair.-I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient servant,
J. A. LEWIS, Inspector of Police.