SYDNEY, SATURDAY, MAY 31, 1851.
TIE GOLD DISCOVERY IN
NEW SOUTH WALES.
WE, have compiled the following outline of the history of the Gold Discovery in New South Wales up to the present date, for the purpose of transmission to Europe by the Thomas Arbuthnot, the first ship for England. We have been particularly
careful to confine ourselves to such state-
ments only as we know to be facts, and can personally vouch for, and such as have been communicated to us by persons of unimpeachable veracity. We indulge ¡in no speculations whatever ; but simply leave these facts to speak for themselves. Our purpose at present is to give such a succinct and faithful account of the dis-
covery as shall enable mercantile men and other parties interested in tho subject in
Europe to form a correct estimate of it, and to draw practical inferences for their own guidance. We hope that our labours will prove acceptable to many of our own community, and save many tho trouble of sending voluminous and perplexed accounts of the matter to their correspondents in Europe.
I.-DISCOVERY OF THE GOLD FIELD.
Scientific men, judging from the geolo- gical appearances of the country, have been for some time of opinion that gold might be found in various districts of the Australian Continent. Amongst others. Count Strzelecki, the well-known ex- plorer, stated his belief that gold existed in the vicinity of the Blue Mountains, to
the westward of Sydney. The Rev. W. B. Clarke, a distinguished geologist, certainly the best in Australia,-and a re- spected minister of the Church of England in Sydney, has frequently, through the local press, expressed the same opinion. But he goes further, stating his belief that gold may be found in larger or smaller
quantities almost throughout the whole of
the principal chain of mountains which belts the Australian Continent. The success of the miners in California awoke attention to these suggestions ; but until the beginning of the present month, no- thing practical resulted from them. An old shepherd, named Macgregor, who kept sheep in the Wellington district, has for years been in the habit of occasionally visit- ing Sydney, and appeared, to possess more money than, could be gained at his humble employment. The suspicion, arose that he was a goldfinder ; but he kept the secret closely, and public curiosity was not at- tracted to the circumstance. On the 6th May (the present month), a Mr. Hargraves, arrived, at Bathurst, and announced to se- veral of the most respectable inhabitants that he was engaged in exploring, the sur- rounding country, and had been in com- munication with the Executive Govern- ment respecting discoveries which he had
made in that district of extensive gold de-
posits. Mr. Hargraves favoured us with
a personal interview yesterday, and made the following communications to us : He has been eighteen months in California, and travelled a distance,
of 600 miles in tho interior of the Southern district of that country. He visited most of the diggings in that
locality, including-Wood's, and Sullivan's, near the Sonoranian camp, where he worked as a miner. He also visited the
diggings on the Feather and Yuba rivers, and pftrticwivrly noticed tho celöl>rfttea[
ojies at '/tbe forks of the Yuba,'" In all
his journeys he especially noted the j geological appearances of the gold coun- try; Sixteen years before, he travelled over .a large portion of the New South Wales district. The. siniilarj ty observable between the Californian gold-country and the interior of Australia, struck his .mind forcibly, and impressed him with the. be-; lief that gold existed as well in the latter as the former country. . Oh his return to Sydney, he determined on making a tour of inspection. He started in the aniddle of las't January, and . travelled over a district extending upwards of 300 miles in' length. On the 12th February, he first dismounted and dug for gold, and was successful in finding some dust. In numerous other places where the geological
appearances .seemed favourable, he also searched, and in no instance did he fail ¡to find the .precious metal. At a particular spot, which he named Ophir, ho perceived the best indications of an abundant yield, an«l at once organized .a company of nine persons to dig there. These men earned, at first, at the rate of about forty-five shil- lings per diem each; hut for want of proper implements and experience in washing tho gold, half thc amount gathered was lost. Mr. Hargraves exhibited sam- ples of the gold dug out by this party on
his arrival at Bathurst. The fact of thc
existence of gold in Australia was thus placed beyond doubt. Mr. Hargraves who is an intelligent and respectable .colonist, does not seek to force his information upon those with whom becomes ,in contact, but when questioned, his replies have a direct bearing on the subject, and are without reserve. Ile is evidently incapable of en- tertaining a desire to mislead tho public upon so very important a matter. He distinctly states that ho had never previ
ously read or heard of any communications of the Rev. Mr. Clarke's upon the subject,
nor oven . knew of the existence of that
gentleman. He,.therefore, was not lcd to make personal examination by any scientific suggestion of another person ; but simply from the analogy, which he ob- served between the physical features of the Californian gold-country, and portions of thc interior of Australia. Mr. Stutchbury, tho geologist sent out by the Home Go- vernment, has examined tho district pointed out by Mr. Hargraves. His report has not yet been made public : but it is well ' known that he fully confirms tho statements
of Mr. Hargraves respecting tho abun- dance of tiie precious metal in the dis-
II. -LOCALITY OF THE GOLD FIELD.
The gold district lies to the westward of Bathurst, which is 113 miles west of Sydney. The Ophir diggings aro about thirty-rfivo miles north-west of Bathurst, on the Summerhill Creek, near its junction with the Macquarie River. Tho surround- ing country is wild and barren, with .very few trees, and hardly a blade of grass, and 1s nearly encircled by mountains. Bullock drays can approach to within half-a-mile of thc diggings. The climate
is much less genial than around Sydney- j frost arid' snow generally prevailing in winter ; yet it is.considerably milder than
that of California.
III. -OPERATIONS AT THE .DIGGINGS.
The news of the gold discovery spread rapidly, and induced-numbers to abandon their ordinary occupations, and start to the diggings. .From Bathurst, Sydney, and every part of New South Wales, men flocked to Ophir. Some wisely formed themselves into parties of from three, to ¡nine, persons for mutual .labour and pro-
tection, and set off with drays laden with
all tho implements requisito for scientific gold-mining,, and .thc stores necessary for
a three months" bivouac. Others started
alone, -without, either .tools, provisions, or money, determined to scramble.for fortune as best they might. Emigration to tho gold mines is:.the¡mndness of.the moment. Nothing else is talked of in Sydney. Tho most corrcdt estimate that, can be formed of thc actual number now employed nt the diggings, reckons that about 2000 are at. Ophir, ' and . a small number besides scattered over tho couutry im- mediately around '.it. But as tho
crowd is daily increasing, and as tho.rc-, port^will attract many from the noighbour-' ing colonies, it is impossible to say what tho probable number may.. bc within a month from this date. ' It is obviously impossible,' also,' .to form' any estimate of the actual amount of gold gathered up to tliis dato. There aro some , indí.VWürtlsi who blaze abroad thçii\. success, anti ex- hibit their gains- exultingly } but tho ma- jority, are cautious in revealing .tho result of their labours.'; ' It 'is shrQwdlySuspected, ;
tbcrefófa/^bat much more URB boon col jectedtihw' b»s passed into the bands of tîio go|d buyers, and that secrecy has bee» most carefully preserved just where suc- cess has been greatest. For example, it. is known lhat a "party of five or six magis- trates from Bathurst have been working in .company, and have proved eminently successful ; but, the ampunt of .their gains is kept , strictly private. We were informed by a member of the Legislative Council that one of this party had stated - his share of the profits io be ¿£2,000: But this. state- ment depended on report, and therefore
wanted confirmation. It woxild appear .
from all accounts that not less than
£20,000 worth has been already, procured by those who make no secret of their
success. But what proportion this amount 1 may bear to the total value collected, of course we cannot guess. A party of. three or four Sydney gentlemen purchased ¿S900 worth on tho spot from, a few diggers. Of this purchase, one splendid specimen was publicly exhibited in a
jeweller s window ia Sydney, lt weighed 461 ounces gross ; and was almost pure virgin gold. This is the finest lump yet exhibited. Other specimens, from the minutest grains up to lumps of seven or eight ounces, have been brought iuto Sydney, daily.during thc last fortnight, and been fully displayed. Mr. Hargraves ii of opinion that in some spots which have been abandoned as unremunerativc, gold will hereafter ho found in even greater abundance than in places whore largo lumps may by chance be picked up ; as the first diggers cannot afford to he suffi- ciently persevering in their researches. Those who follow may possibly discover rich deposits at a greater depth. II» also ¡ believes that tho Ophir diggings are much
richer than any he ever saw in California. The gold, to a large extent, is found in the bed of the Creek, and the miners are, therefore, compelled to work in the water.
The excitement created by this extraor- dinary discovery has caused a temporary advance in the price of many articles
of consumption. Dealers have taken advantage of it to speculate largely, and the markets have boen considerably agitated. But this can be only a tem I porary evil ; as the report will certainly
bring an influx of provisions from the neighbouring countries, and prices will he
reduced to their natural level. The de-
mand for implements and stores has given an impetus to trade in that direction ; but the departure of workmen from their em- ployments, .has produced serious incon- venience and pecuniary loss to all the or- dinary employers of labour. This evil also will find its remedy, in the crowds who shall pour into Sydney, when the report of
tho gold .discovery has been widely cir-.? . culatcd. Thc coldness of the season,-it being now winter with us,-tho bleak and shelterless locality,-tho want of proper dwellings,.abundant food, and warm cloth- ing,-and tho severity of the labour, >w i ll doubtless entail much suffering on the pioneers of the gold district. But these are inevitable evils, which time alone can alleviate': and, after all, the diggers in
California suffer much more. severely in I each of these respects.
We have only further to add, that ro
I .ports of gold having been found in Illa-
warra, at the Manning River, and in various other localities, are current in Sydney. Rut in no single instance barf tlie truth of these reports yet been proved by tho public exhibition of tho specimens
said to have been discovered. Wc are not
warranted, therefore, in stating positively , that gold has been found anywhere in New South Wales except at thc Ophir diggings.