THE TARRANGOWER DIGGINGS
(From our own Correspondent.)
Bendigo, February 27th, 1854.
The chief subject of interest connected with this district, at the present moment, is the recently discovered gold field at Bryant's ranges, known by the name of Tarrangower, and, as I paid the place a visit last week, I send you such
an account of the diggings as a hasty examination has enabled me to compile.
Bryant's ranges are distant from Sandhurst some 25 miles. There are two roads by which
one can reach them, the nearer turns off from the main road at Kangaroo Flat, passes through Ro- binson Crusoe Gully, and, crossing Bullock Creek, gradually ascends the high country, where the new diggings are situated. The other route follows the main Bendigo road, till within a few miles of the Porcupine Inn, and then turns off. Bryant's Ranges are south-west of Bendigo, are within 14 miles of Castlemaine, and some 7 or 8 of the River Loddon. On this occasion of visiting Tarrangower, I took the former road.
For several miles after leaving Robinson Crusoe Gully, and indeed until we approach Bullock Creek, the gold formation is as strikingly displayed as in any portion of the Bendigo diggings; but no attempts have been made in the way of prospecting the ground. The diggings, after passing through Golden Square, those in Kangaroo Flat, Adelaide, and Robinson Crusoe Gullies, present at the present time a very deserted appearance, the population having been drained off to the ranges. After crossing Bullock Creek, some 10 miles from Sandhurst, we soon come into a granite country, which con-
tinues until we near Bryant's Ranges, when the
auriferous rocks again appear, and we are once again in a gold region, of which the most remarkable feature is the great quantity of dust
on the road—a nuisance which increases as we go into the heart of the diggings, becoming generally knee deep. The surface soil is of a very friable nature and is easily pulverised. What travelling in such a place in winter will be, where the road will be so deep, and the earth is so rotten, may be conceived.
The diggings at Tarrangower are similar to
those at Forest Creek, but on a somewhat
smaller scale. The bed of the creek and the gullies are narrow, and the hills rise somewhat abruptly, though to no great height. There is nothing of the Bendigo character ahout the country. The road follows up the course of Long Gully, where the diggings were first opened, for a couple of miles, and is lined on either side by an almost continuous row of stores, refreshment tents, eating houses, doctors' tents, apothecaries' shops, and, in fact, shops of every description. The diggings up the gully are scattered, and there is no doubt, when
water can be had, that much of the ground occu- pied by the street and shops may be worked profitably. At the head of Long Gully, there is a dividing ridge, and from it several other Gullies: Growlers', Eagle Hawk, and the ravine
known by the name of the Springs, branch off in different directions. In Long Gully, there are several flats, one in particular, Broad Point, where extensive diggings have been opened, and many of the holes pay well. The general depth of the holes in this gully is from 10 to 16 feet.
Growlers' Gully, called so from the numerous disputes about claims in it, lies next to Long
Gully, and is about a mile long. It is wider
than the other gullies, and has been much more intensively worked. The whole surface of the gully is covered by mounds of earth, a great proportion being washing stuff. I saw several [heaps], which from the quantity of coarse gold observable in the stuff, would certainly yield five or 6 ounces a load ; and I heard of a few in- stances, in which as much as thirteen ounces were got. There was a report, too, pretty well au- thenticated, that forty-two pounds weight were got out of a load of stuff dug from a hole in this gully, at the bottom of the Surface Hill. I saw a nugget at the Commissioner's, weighing 106 ounces, eight pennyweights, got in a hole in Growlers' Gully. The place has now been pretty well turned over, and at the present time
there are about 2000 at work on it.
Eagle Hawk is the name given to the gully next to Growlers', trending in a slight dry point. It is somewhat like its namesake at Bendigo in appearance, but of course on a very much smaller scale. This, however, by no means resembles the Bendigo Eagle Hawk in richness, for it is the poorest that has been opened. In the upper part of it a great many holes have been sunk and abandoned ; but lower
down there is a very large population located, [tally] two thousand. The gully is nearly two miles long, and diggings have been opened throughout its length. As a general thing the holes are shallow, about ten to fifteen feet deep, but there are several places where they were much deeper, and the sinking is very hard, some of the strata requiring to be worked with gads.
When I was at Tarrangower a new gully called Peg Leg Gully had been opened next to Eagle Hawk, and great expectations were entertained of the productiveness of this one. At the upper end the gully is very narrow, and is bounded by steep bills, but as we proceed down it opens into a more level country. The gully has been opened for a mile and a half, and there are as many, if not more, persons located on it than on any of
the others. The holes vary from twelve to twen-
ty-five feet in depth, and the bed rock is a rotten sandstone. There is water in all the holes in
this gully, though not enough to interfere with working. The washing stuff varies in thickness
from two or three inches to as many feet, but is most frequently about nine or twelve inches thick. Three and four ounces to the load have been ob- tained in many of the holes, but I have not heard of any large hauls.
Tte fall of the ground on the opposite side to Long Gully leads into a ravine which passing be- tween ridges of granite and opening here and there into small mountain embosomed valleys, descends to the Loddon. In the nearest valley there is a very large population located. A road goes through its length bordering the channel of a water-course, and on each side of this road are shops and stores of every description as well as diggers' tents. The tents continue at in- tervals right down to the Loddon, some five or six miles off. This place is known by the name
of "The Springs," on account of its possessing a good supply of water, and on this account alone has the population located itself here. It is two or three miles distant from Long Gully, but not- withstanding, a great deal of washing stuff is carted to it for the purpose of being washed. Holes have been sunk in the bed of the Creek, probably in the first instance for gold, but as there was not enough found to pay, they have
been used as wells. There are several wells sunk inside of tents, too, for the purpose of securing a supply of the necessary element. At the Springs water is sold at 6d. a bucket, and when carted to the diggings is retailed at 1s. At the lodging- house where I stopped, I paid one shilling for water every time I washed myself, and as the dust is infinite, ablutions are necessary pretty often in the day. It will be observed, that in this gold field, as at the Ovens, the auriferous rocks are in immediate contact with granite. The Tarrangower Gold Field is indeed but a nar- row belt of auriferous country, bounded on each side by granite. The width is very inconsider- able but the length may be as great as some people imagine, viz., to Castlemaine, in one di- rection, and to the Kingowar or McIntyre Dig- gings in the other. No such rich granite basin as Reedy Creek at the Ovens has been found at Tarrangower. A little fine drift gold washed down from the slate formation at the head of the ravine
has been found at the Springs, but nothing of consequence.
A peculiar feature of this gold field is the extensive surfacing along the ridge between Long Gully and Growlers' Gully, and at the head of Eagle Hawk, leading from Peg Leg Gully, there are rich auriferous quartz veins, where many parties have done a good thing by smashing up the quartz. The surfaces of the hills have deposits of the
precious metal, and the diggers have torn up the ground and heaped piles of washing stuff, awaiting the advent of rain. Surface earth has also been heaped up along the banks of the water course in Long Gully. It must not be imagined however, that all this auriferous dirt will pay. In very many instances it has been heaped without
having been tried, merely because other parties were digging up the adjoining surface.
The number of licenses which have been taken out is only about 1000, a very small proportion
when compared with the estimated population of Tarrangower, according to the Government calculation amounting to 18,000. The escort which left for town last Tuesday, took down
only 890 ounces.
There are two commissioners at Tarrangower, Messrs. Lowther and Daly. The latter gentleman is pretty well known to our Sydney friends as the successful electro-biologist, who, upwards of a twelvemonth since, caused such excitement by his lectures and experiments. As there is no police magistrate, the commissioners sit on the bench, and as there is no clerk, they have to act, for themselves. A clerk of the bench is, how- ever, daily expected.
The police force of Tarrangower is very small and quite inadequate to the requirements of the district, though crime is not so rife there as report would lead one to expect. There are thirty-three policemen, of which number six are troopers, commanded by Sub-Inspector Nicholson.
The camp is situated near the head of Long Gully, and is a miserable place enough at pre- sent, not possessing anything like the necessary accommodation. The police office is a tent, without a flag over it, and through the day we might as well sit in an oven. There is no post office, a gross instance of Government neglect, and one which has caused very much dissatisfaction.
Everything except water is very cheap at Tarrangower. Stores of all descriptions are as cheap as, and in many instances cheaper than, they are in Bendigo. Grog is hawked about and sold at tents at ls. a glass, with very little attempt at secrecy. Bottled ale and porter can be got at 5s. a bottle.
The probable extent of the Tarrangower gold
field I have already alluded to. I believe that it is now at its maximum, and that those who will come crowding in for the next month or two will only come to find a field over populated, where hundreds are doing nothing. There can ho no doubt respecting the richness of some of the gullies here, but even now there are too many blanks, and people are fast returning to Bendigo . I am afraid that there will be a second edition of the McIvor rush, involving the same amount of disappointment and disaster. There are however several gold fields adjacent, which will serve as cities of refuge.