Report of the Committee on the Claims to Original
Discovery of the Gold Fields of Victoria.
THE Committee appointed to consider the propriety of requesting his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor to take such steps as may enable the Council to mark in a substantial manner their high appreciation of the services rendered by Mr. E. H. Hargreaves to this colony, by the discovery of gold fields in the continent of Australia, and also what other persons are entitled to reward for the discovery of the Victorian Gold Fields, have agreed to the following report:—
After giving every possible publicity to their intended investigation, and requesting, by public advertisements,
all persons concerned to attend or communicate with your committee, they proceeded to take the evidence of such persons as presented themselves, and took into consideration the various documents referred to them by your honourable House, the report of the committee of the Legislative Council of New South Wales on the subject of Mr. Hargreaves, and a large mass of correspondence relative to the claims of the Rev. W. B. Clarke, Don Louis de Boliva,
In dealing with this subject, your committee cannot but draw some distinction between scientific and practical discovery, for, although the former would, in reality, have been equally as beneficial as the latter, had the colonists been as ready to trust to the scientific theories of the scholar as they were to the tangible demonstrations of the actual digger, yet, seeing what has been the result of the Rev. W. B. Clarke's discovery in 1841, as compared with that of Mr. Hargraves in 1851, your committee feel called upon to recommend a more substantial reward to the one than they can do to the other; at the same time they admit the higher claims to honour and public consideration that the scientific explorer possesses. It appears from the evidence given by the Rev. W. B. Clarke, before the select committee of the Legislative Council of New South Wales, that as far back as 1841 he discovered gold in the mountainous country to the west of the Vale of Clwyd;—that in 1843 he spoke to many persons of the abundance of gold likely to be found in Australia;—that in 1844 he exhibited a sample of gold in quartz to the then Governor, the late Sir George Gipps, to the late Mr. Robinson, then member of the Legislative Council for Port Phillip, to Mr. Justice Therry, and to several other persons; but that the subject was not followed up, "as much from considerations of the penal character of the colony as
from the general ignorance of the value of such an indication." Thus, it appears, that the Rev. W. B. Clarke did all in his power to make his discovery serviceable to a country
not then in a position to make that discovery available; and your committee, therefore, feel bound to
recognise his claim to be considered the first discoverer of gold in Australia. The changed condition of the sister colony when Mr. Hargreaves washed the first
gold on the Summer Hill Creek, aided by the know- ledge of the mode of proceeding necessary to obtain the precious metal, acquired in California, put the discovery
of Mr. Hargreaves on a far more advantageous footing than that of Mr. Clarke, which, owing its origin to scientific research and analogical reasoning, could not be expected to make so strong an impression on the public mind as the palpable, practicable, and easily understood demonstrations of the former gentleman.
With reference to the discovery of the Victorian gold
fields, your committee would recur to the early portion of the year 1851, after the discovery of the Bathurst and Turon workings in the northern portion of the great Australian range. The not unfounded apprehensions of at least a temporary depression from the draining off of our population to the northern district, caused a committee to be formed in this city to promote the discovery of a gold field in Victoria. The
knowledge that the dividing range of this colony is a
continuation of that of New South Wales, and that the general features of this country resembled in many parts the auriferous, districts of the former, induced a
strong and prevalent impression that extensive gold deposits were to be found in Victoria ; an impression which was strengthened by the fact of the production five years before of a large mass of gold ascertained to have been procured in the Pyrenees district.
It is therefore not surprising that such excitement on the subject prevailed at this period, and that several persons simultaneously commenced to search for gold
in several localities.
It appears that in the month of March, 1850, the honourable member for the Loddon, Mr. W. Campbell, of Strath Loddon, discovered on the station of Mr. Donald Cameron, of Clunes, in company with that gentleman, his superintendent, and a friend, several minute pieces of native gold in quartz. The circumstance was avowedly concealed at the time, from an apprehension that its announcement would prove injurious to Mr. Cameron's run. Observing, however, the migration of the population of New South Wales and the panic created throughout the whole colony, and especially in Melbourne, on the 10th of June, 1851, Mr. Campbell addressed a letter to Mr. James Graham, M.L.C., stating that within a radius of 15 miles of Burn Bank, on another party's station, he had procured specimens of gold.
A party formed by Mr. Louis John Michel, consisting of himself, Mr. William Haberlin, James Furnival, James Melville, James Hendon, and B. Gruenig, discovered the existence of gold in the quartz rocks of the Yarra ranges, at Anderson's creek, in the latter part of June, and showed it on the spot to Dr. Webb Richmond, on behalf of the Gold Discovery Committee on the 6th July. They communicated the full particulars of the locality to his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor on the 8th, and on the 16th they brought to town and exhibited to the Gold Discovery Committee above mentioned, a sample of gold procured by washing the alluvial soil in the same neighbourhood
at Anderson's Creek.
About the same time, Mr. James Esmond, who had returned two months previously from the Californian diggings, on the completion of an engagement, set out in the search along with Messrs. Pugh, Burns, and Kelly, and obtained gold in the quartz rocks of the Pyrenees, near Mr. Donald Cameron's station. This was exhibited by Mr. Esmonds, at Geelong, to Mr. Clarke and Mr. Patterson, on the 5th July, and the general fact of the discovery of gold at the Pyrenees was published in the Geelong Advertiser of the 7th, and the particulars of the precise locality, with Mr. Esmond's consent, on the 22nd July. On the 10th of the following month, (August) Mr. Patterson received a sample of gold from Mr. Esmonds, the produce of the cradle, from the same locality, since called the Clunes diggings.
Dr. George H, Bruhn, a German physician, in the month of January, 1851, (i.e. before Mr. Hargraves' discovery at Summerhill) started from Melbourne to explore the mineral resources of this colony. During his lengthened tour, he found, in April, indications of gold in quartz about two miles from Mr. Parker's station and on arriving at Mr. Cameron's station was shown by that gentleman specimens of gold at what are now called the Clunes diggings. This information he promulgated through the country in the course of his journey, and communicated to Mr. James Esmonds, at that time engaged in erecting a building at Mr. James Hodgkinson's station. Dr. Bruhn forwarded specimens, which were received by the Gold Discovery Committee on the 30th June, 1851.
The precise locality of Mr. Esmond's discovery was not made known until the 22nd, whilst Mr. Campbell and Mr. Michel divulged the precise spot on the 5th ; but it appears in evidence that previous to the former gentleman making the exact spot known, Mr. Esmond's party were actually at work upon it. Mr. Michel and his party have, therefore, in the opinion of your committee, clearly established their claim to be held as first publishers of the discovery of a Gold Field in the Colony of Victoria; the situation of their works being shown publicly on the 5th of July, and full particulars communicated to the Government on the 8th, and licenses to dig for gold there were issued shortly after, viz , on the 1st September, which was previous to their issue on any other Gold Field; and about three hundred persons were at work when
Balaarat was discovered.
At each of these diggings workings were carried on with more or less success by a considerable number of diggers. Probably from want of practical experience rather than of good auriferous soil, it appears that not many were particularly fortunate; but the workings were still in active operation at both places when the extraordinary attractions of Ballaarat rapidly drew them off to its prolific deposits.
Mr. Thomas Hiscock, a resident at Buninyong, induced by the writings of the Rev. W. B. Clarke, and by the discovery of Brentani's nugget in the Pyrenees district five years before, had kept a constant look out for gold in his neighbourhood. It does not seem that he was possessed of either scientific or practical knowledge of the subject; but he discovered an auriferous deposit in the gully of the Buninyong ranges now bearing his name, on the 8th August, and he communicated the fact, with its precise locality, to the editor of the Geelong Advertiser on the 10th of that month, the same day as Mr. Patterson, of Geelong, received from Mr. Esmonds the first actual produce of the Clunes diggings. It does not appear that there was any knowledge whatever by these parties of each others' commencing the search for
It is obvious that Mr. Hiscock's discovery, at Buninyong, by attracting great numbers of diggers to the neighbourhood, was the cause of the discovery of Balaarat. Balaarat is, in fact, upon the same range, and at no great distance, about six or seven miles. The discovery of the Golden Point at Balaarat is claimed by two parties, both of whom went first to Hiscock's diggings, and then extended their searches, one on one side, the other on the other side of that grand focus of attraction. Where so many rich deposits were discovered almost simultaneouslv, within a radius of little more than half a mile, it is difficult to decide to whom is due the actual commencement of the Balaarat diggings. It is, however, clear that Mr. Brown and his party were working, during the first days of September, on one side, and Messrs. Regan and Dunlop on the other side of the ranges forming Golden Point. But, it must be observed, that these, and the numerous other parties who by this time were searching the whole country for gold, had been attracted there by the discoveries in the neighbourhood of Messrs. Esmonds and Hiscock, and that, in the language of a disinterested witness, Mr. Alfred Clarke, of Geelong, "the discovery of Balaarat was but a natural consequence of the discovery of Buninyong."
Your committee scarcely consider it within the scope of their instructions to pursue the subject of subsequent discoveries. But the prolific deposits of Mount Alexander render it interesting to record that the honour of first finding gold there is claimed by Christopher Thomas Peters, then a hut-keeper at Barker's Creek, in the service of William Barker, Esq., on the 20th July, at Specimen Gully. John Worley, George Robinson, and Robert Keen, all in the same employment, were immediately associated with him in working the deposits, which they continued to do, with more or less privacy, during the whole of the following month. On the 1st of September, having become alarmed at their
unauthorised appropriation of their produce, Worley, on behalf of the party, "to prevent them getting into
trouble," published in one of the Melbourne journals an announcement of the precise situation of their
workings. With this obscure notice, rendered still more so by the locality being described by the journalist as "at Western Port," were ushered to the world the inexhaustible treasures of Mount
Having thus reported upon the discovery of the gold-fields of Victoria, your Committee turn to the petition of Mr. E. H. Hargreaves, soliciting an acknowledgment of his services in having first demon- demonstrated the existence of profitable gold-fields in the continent of Australia. Your committee consider that the report and evidence of the Committee of the honorable the Legislative Council of New South Wales, received and adopted by that honorable House, is to be taken as sufficient evidence of the fact that Mr. Hargreaves returned to the colony, from California, for the express purpose of searching for gold, that he communicated his views and intentions to the Government and others, that he succeeded in discovering gold deposits, and taught parties how to construct and use the apparatus required.
It is also ascertained that he did this with little assistance beyond his own limited means, without any stipulation for his own advantage, and it is known that since success has shown the soundness of his views as to the richness of the Gold-fields of Australia, he has steadily refused many valuable opportunities of remunerating avocations; trusting for his reward to the honour of the Government and the
gratitude of his fellow-colonists.
To say that Mr. Hargreaves' discoveries led to the discovery of the gold fields of Victoria, is merely another mode of stating that the great dividing range, which stretches from one Colony to another, is rich in auriferous deposits. Without doubt, on the first discovery of the northern diggings, a considerable number of our labouring population was drawn thither; but the infinitely greater evil of emigration to California was stopped at once. Nor is it probable that the migration to the Sydney district would have been more than temporary, even had the Victorian diggings not been discovered; for it does not appear that either
Tasmania or South Australia complain of their
proximity to the mineral riches of Victoria.
Your committee are therefore of opinion that the person who has opened out to us the road to our apparently exhaustless treasures with a noble disinterestedness unexampled in history, should receive a liberal reward. Considering that the gold discovery has advanced this colony a century in progress, has
placed it first in position of all the Australian colonies,
and materially benefitted it much more than New South Wales, your committee recommend that the sum of £5000 should be presented to Mr. Hargreaves; and that the sum of £1000 should be awarded to the Rev. W. B. Clarke, in appreciation of his researches into
the mineral wealth of the country.
With regard to the discovery of the Victorian Gold Fields, your committee consider that the honour must be shared amongst all the parties already enumerated.
It will be seen that on the 10th June, Mr. Campbell communicated the general fact of his having discovered gold in the Pyrenees district to Mr Graham, but that it was not till the 5th July that this fact, together with the exact locality, was made known by the former in a letter of that date addressed to the latter. On the same day (July 5) Mr. Michel actually showed the locality of his discovery to Dr. Richmond, as a member of the Gold Discovery Committee. The Clunes discovery was also made known, at Geelong by Mr. Esmonds on the same day, and the information of it was generally diffused by Dr. Bruhn in his tour through the interior. Mr. Hiscock's discovery, though later in date, was of so superior a value since it at once led to the revealing the treasures of Balaarat, and the turning the tide of popular migration to our own borders, that your committee consider him entitled to be placed in the foremost rank of our gold discoverers.
Your committee, therefore, recommend that to Mr . Michel and his party, as having, at considerable expense, succeeded in discovering and publishing an available gold field, the sum of £1000 should be given;
to Mr. Hiscock, as the substantial discoverer of the Balaarat deposits, a like sum of £1000, to Mr. Campbell, as without doubt the original discoverer of the Clunes, a like sum of £1000, to Mr. Esmonds as the first actual producer of alluvial gold for the market a like sum of £1000, and to Dr. Bruhn, as an
acknowledgement of his services in exploring the country for five or six months, and diffusing the information of the discovery of gold the sum of five
hundred pounds. In closing their report, your committee observe that their sittings have been protracted to an unusual length through their anxiety to examine thorough a very complicated subject, involving many conflicting claims by means of evidence difficult of access and frequently of an imperfect character. They have been solicitous
also, not only to do justice to the rival pretensions of claimants, but to form an accurate record of this
interesting portion of the history of Victoria.
The discovery of the Victorian Gold fields has converted a remote dependency into a country of world wide fame, it has attracted a population, extraordinary
in number, with unprecedented rapidity, it has enhanced the value of property to an enormous extent, it has made this the richest country in the world; and, in no less than three years, it has done for this colony the work of in age, and made its impulses
felt in the most distant regions of the earth.
A. P. A. GREEVES, Chairman.
INTERCOMMUNICATIONS SIGNALS for RAILWAY TRAINS.—The directors of the Great Northern Railway Company, with a view to the safety of the pas- sengers travelling on their line, have given orders for the application to all their passenger trains of a new and simple invention, to enable the guard in the last break-van to communicate, in cases of danger, with the engine-driver. The apparatus for this purpose consists of a large hand-wheel fixed on a dead centre in the break-van, a cord passed under all the carriages of a train by means of swivel, and a cup-bell about a foot in diamer, placed near the engine whistle. By means of this contrivance the guard will be enabled, when required, to attract the attention of the driver merely by turning the wheel in his van, which will have the effect of striking the bell near the driver, whose duty it will be, as soon as he hears the alarm, to reverse his engine, and bring his train to a stand- still as soon as possible. We are informed that this invention is now being adopted generally on the narrow gauge lines of railway, and that all the Great Northern passenger trains will be supplied with it by the 1st of February next. It is to be pre- sumed the signal has undergone the requi- site experimental tests ; nevertheless, good prac- tical judges entertain a doubt whether the mere striking of a cup-bell, even of large diameter, will answer all the purposes an alarm signal ought to serve. In the case of a long train, it is more than probable the guard in his break will not hear the bell, which, in case of the opparatus getting out of order, may occasion serious inconvenience, as he will not know whether the signal has been given or not. Again, it is considered that the communication from the guard's wheel to the bell by means of a continuous cord is not the most efficient contrivance that might be adopted, inasmuch as it is frequently required, in long journeys, to detach carriages from passenger trains, which will then involve the tedious operation of threading and unthreading a number of swivels before the train can be started. It is believed that a better plan would be to provide separate sets of cords, or light chains, for each carnage, capable of being easily connected by hooks by the man who puts on the coupling-irons. An important improvement would be to connect the chain with the alarm whistle on the engine, and to require the guard to give one beat as a signal for starting, which would at once prove the completeness of the communication, and insure the guard's presence in the break-van before the moving of the train-a regulation which railway directors have long and not very successfully endeavoured to enforce by means of penalties. As the apparatus would only admit of traction in one direction, the alarm whistle would continue to sound until shut off by the engine driver, which would indi- cate to the guard that he was on the alert. By a slight modification the signal might be made available, for
the interior of passenger carriages. A handle con- nected with the cord under the carriages might be enclosed in a small gloss case, which would secure it from frivolous or wanton use, as the breaking of the pane—which would be a matter of no moment in cases of emergency—would be an effectual telltale against mischievous delinquency. By means of the new signal it is hoped to prevent some of those fearful collisions which have occurred during the past year on various lines from the want of a vigilant look-out on the part of those in charge of the trains. Thus, a casual signal displayed on the line, which may not be observed by the driver and stoker, may catch the attention of the guard, who will then be in a position to alarm the driver and stop the train. Had such a signal been in use on the train that met with such a frightful accident near Oxford some time ago that catastrophe would in all probability have been averted, as the guard saw the danger, which the driver did not, but he had no means of stopping the train.—
IMPRESSIONS OF THE UNITED STATES.—In a letter to the editor of the New York Tribune, Mr. William
Chambers expresses himself as follows with regard to his impressions of the States :—
" I leave the United States with much regret. I carry with me the conviction that a great and splen- did future is before them. Contrary to the opinion of most travellers from England, I see here a young but rapidly growing nation offering an example to the oldest communities in Europe. It is far from my wish to flatter ; but what do I not feel vast delight in see- ing? I am overcome with the stupendous proportions and capacity of the country—its far stretching fields for human subsistence and happiness ; of the Ameri- can people, so little understood, and often misrepre- sented, I candidly own that their remarkable love of order, their energy and perseverance, their love of in- dependence, and self-respect of even the humblest classes among them, their striking sobriety, their ad- mirable education systems, their many excellent libraries and universal fondness for reading, their press free from fiscal exactions, their flourishing re- ligious institutions untampered by civil polity, their economically and spiritedly got up railways, now pushed half way to the Pacific, the neatness of their dwellings, their wonderful—and to an Englishman, alarming—progress in the mechanical arts, the mar- vellous growth of their cities, and I will add their civility to strangers—I say all this gives me an un- qualified pleasure ; and when I contrast their cities, free of pauperism and vice in it's most loathsome forms, with what meets the eye in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and other large cities in Britain, I feel that travellers from the old country have really little reason to speak disdainfully of America, or to exaggerate faults which at most are only partial and of no sort of account."
THE DUKE OF NEWCASTLE.—We understand that his Grace the Duke of Newcastle has contributed no less than £800 during the present year towards the restoration of various churches not immediately con- nected with his own estates. The churches, on his Grace's patrimonial estates have just been inspected by Mr. Scott, the architect, and very considerable im- provements are contemplated in all those requiring renovation, both internally and externally.—Notting-