MOUNT ALEXANDER DIGGINGS.
Having just paid a visit to these diggings, I hasten to add my mite to the quantum of in- formation already furnished to the public prints by the various parties who have visited and re- turned from the same spot. Any attempt, how- ever, to furnish something new from thence would be about as novel a piece of information as say- ing that Charles Joseph La Trobe, Esq. was His Excellency the Lieutenent-Governor of Vic- toria, and William Lonsdale, Esq. its Colonial Secretary.
In the first place, I would very respectfully suggest, that parties visiting the diggings, as equestrians, intending to camp out, should take the road via the Lady of the Lake, crossing the Deep Creek at Mr William Wright's old Inn, and thence by Mount Aitken to the Bush Inn, Mount Macedon. This route will furnish them
with an abundant supply of both grass and water. Nothing need be said of the road from thence to Mount Alexander, there being but one road until reaching a round water hole in the centre of the forest, within five miles of Forest
Creek. At this point the round water-hole is on the right hand side of the road, and to the left of the main road will be seen a tolerably well-worn track, leading to Friars Creek, as well as being a nearer cut to the Argus Office and Post Office, by which the traveller will
save some three or four miles in distance.
By following the regular road from this water- hole, he will make the commencement of the diggings on Forest Creek at Golden Point, and from which point for many miles is a continued line of canvas habitations; in every case where the creek is joined by a creek or gully a similar line of tents may be seen us far as the eye can reach, and at the junction of these creeks on gullies with the Forest Creek, a little village or kind of township is formed, consisting generally of one or two stores, a ginger beer establish- ment, a butcher's shop, and in some cases at the foot of a large gum tree, a solitary dealer in
nuts and lollypops. The largest of these town- ship or villages and the principal seat of at- traction is where the Argus and the Post-office is stationed, and it is at this spot where the greatest quantity of gold, has been disem- bowelled. The place is called Red Hill, and all parties who visit Mount Alexander for the pur- pose of digging for gold, I mean such gentle- men as have resigned government and mercan- tile situations, I would advise to watch the ope- rations of the diggers at this hill; and if they think they can indure the labour necessary to reach the vein at a depth of 20 to 22 feet through a surface as hard as the shell of an Egyptian pyramid, let them doff their coats, set to work, and prosper. If, on the contrary, they find this kind of work will not suit their con- stitutions, and exceeds in point of labour their expectations on leaving their more congenial employments in town, let them immediately return, or commence what is called surface-washing or fossicking, the first of these
methods is attended with far less labour than
digging, so long as they can find water; the lat- ter employment, however, struck me as being a kind of robbery. These fossickers are a race of people, resembling drones in a community of bees, collecting their soil from the cells or holes which have been dug, and abandoned by the more industrious workmen, and occasionally as my eyes have witnessed, stealing from other holes during the temporary absence of their in- dustrious proprietors. On post days the Argus and Post-office present a scene as animating as it is novel, one or two hundred people are on these occasions congregated together, to obtain their letters and papers, and as the postmaster is destitute of assistance, it renders the process of delivery of slow accomplishment, which is rather trying to the patience of the expectants.
From the great demand for the Argus and the inconvenience of leaving their work to fetch it, your agent, Mr Howard, intends riding round to all the diggers at Forest Creek, with a horn, announcing his arrival, and in this manner supply the parties without the trouble of leaving their employment. Many opinions have been advanced, and as much more said as to the pro-
bability of milking fortunes at these dig- gings. My candid opinion is, after close observation, that men used to toil from their infancy, may make far more than they would do at their usual employments, and may possibly make a fortune. But to professional
men, clerks, and others, at least at this particular season, the speculation is, to say the least of it, unwise, and may be attended with results most unfavourable to them, both morally and physi- cally. It is scarcely possible that the water at Forest Creek can last more than a fortnight or three weeks, and I regret to observe that at Golden Gully, where there is the finest water- hole, some eighty or ninety cradles are daily emptying their contents into it, which cannot
fail in a short time to choke up the spring.
There is also a fine well of water which is very prudently reserved for the purposes of drinking and other domestic purposes.
In conclusion, it is but fair to say, that I can bear the most ample testimony to the wonderful and extraordinary yield of gold at these dig- gings; as an example among many, I saw one young man obtain from the washing of two dou-
ble handfuls of soil at least five ounces of the
purest gold, and this for four or five dishes suc- cessively. The soil from whence the gold was washed, was obtained from Red Hill, at a depth
of 22 feet.