"KEEP IT QUIET!" Anniversary of Gold Discovery AN UNSETTLING FACTOR Just 111 years ago to-day gold was first discovered in Australia. The date was February 15, 1823, the discoverer was assistant surveyor James McBrien, and the locality Fish River, between Rydal and Bathurst (N.S.W.).. The find, which was considered un- important at the time, and was not pursued for reasons of policy, was the forerunner of one of the most sensa- tional outpourings of wealth in the his- tory of the world. Since McBrien's discovery Australia has produced about 700 million pounds' worth of gold. McBrien recorded in his diary that he had "found numerous particles of cold in the sand on the hills con-
venient to the river," and went on surveying. Sixteen years later Strezl- ecki, in his explo- rations beyond the Blue Mountains, came across aurife- rous pyrites near Hartley, and was asked to keep the matter secret. The possibility of the gold fever spread- ing among soldiers and convicts to the
destruction of all discipline was the reason. Other dis- coveries were suppressed by the then Governor (Sir George Gipps). Little or nothing was done in gold production until the fifties, when, almost simultaneously sensational finds were made both in New South Wales and Victoria, and the rush, which completely changed the destiny of Aus- tralia, started. The first discovery of gold in Tas- mania was made, it is believed, on the Tullochgorum Estate, near Fingal, shortly after interest was excited in the California goldfields, and before the opening up of the Victorian mines; but it was not until the year 1851 that miners were actually engaged in search- ing for the precious metal in the nar- row valleys which descend from the south-eastern face of Tower Hill. The golden days are gone for the moment. The output calculated in mil- lions is now recorded in thousands. But the high price ruling for the metal has stimulated a revival, especially on the old fields, where mining by mo- dern methods has put shows again in the payable stage. Estimates of the amount of gold won in Australia for 1933 show an increase of about 113,000 oz. fine, compared with the production in 1932, when the amount obtained was greater than for many years. Gold production in Aus- tralia last year was 823,664 oz. fine.