MOUNT HOPE The ridiculous and most inexplicable rush to Mount Hope is happily over. A more iniquitous hoax was never perpetrated on any body of men than has been practised in this this instance on the miners. The report had not the slightest shadow of foundation. I have visited the whole of the country from the Terricks to the extraordinary hummocks of Mount Hope, and after most careful and attentive examination, was unable to discover any traces of gold digging or prospecting in any part. Indeed, the region presents no auriferous indications. I have been told that in some parts of the Terricks a little quartz is to be found, in which it is just possible that gold may
exist. I saw no such quartz myself, however, and I do not believe that gold will ever be found in quantities sufficient to pay for the working of the ground anywhere to the north
of the Whipstick Scrub. It has been stated — but as far as I could discover, erroneously— that there is a connection, marked by stony rises, across the plains from the Whipstick to the Terricks. I am informed, too, by those intimately acquainted with the ground, that no such rises exist. From the northern extreme of the Whipstick Scrub, an apparently dead level country, consisting of box forest and huge plains, extends to the Terricks, a distance of about thirty-five miles. These hills, which are of about the same elevation as the Big Hill at the entrance to Bendigo from Melbourne, are formed of huge, jumbled masses of granite, many single blocks of which are more than twice the size of the Sandhurst English Church. In the interstices of these great rocks grow an infinite variety of shrubs and flowers, some of great rarity, and beauty. A number of the crevices and hollows are of great size, forming large caverns, into which the sun's rays never penetrate, and which are consequently perfectly cool in the hottest weather. The decomposition of the granite has formed a fine grass soil at the foot of these hills, and there are a number of small rises about them, which are excellent grazing ground. A low range of similar character, well grassed and highly wooded, stretches away in a northerly direction to the Pyramid. There are on the Terrick some extensive and very beautiful groves of pine, and they possess also several fine springs of water. It is about seven or eight miles from the Terricks to the Pyramid, an isolated mount of similar formation, which has very appropriately received its name from its peculiar shape. It is from two to three hundred feet in height, and viewed from any point, the pyramidical conformation at once strikes the beholder. It
is most perfect from the south-west as it is approached from the direction of Dunolly. The distance from this extraordinary hill to Mount Hope is about six miles. It is connected with the latter by a low range similar to that extending from the Terricks, which forms, with Mount Hope as one extreme of the arc and the Pyramid as the other, a perfect and beautiful amphitheatre, facing to the westward. Mount Hope, which was so named by Sir Thomas Mitchell, on his return expedition from the Darling, consists of a number of small hills or hummocks, also formed of immense blocks of granite, but of a different character from the granite of the Terricks and the Pyramid. Mr Panton in- formed me that it is known as porphyritic
syenite. That gentleman has made several very excellent and correct sketches of the most striking features of this remarkable range, which it is to be hoped he will give to the world.There are two or three hummocks of the same character, but of lower elevation, dis-
tinctly isolated from the rest, rising at a short distance to the westward from Mount Hope, from the great level plain which stretches away to the north, to the Lod- don on the east, the Campaspe on the west, and to our iron bark ranges on the south. Let the reader then pic- ture to himself a vast extent of open country as level almost as a bowling green, with a low,
lightly wooded range rising abruptly from its midst, and extending about twenty miles. As a range simply it is perfectly insignificant, but it is rendered striking and interesting from its singular configuration, its peculiar geological features, and from its strange isolation, rising as it does from the plains like a little archi-
pelago of desert islands and rocks from the
The Bendigo Creek, which is here called Mount Hope Creek, runs along the eastern, and Bullock Creek along the western base. The distance across from one to the other is
nowhere, I believe, above five or six miles, and in some places they approach one another much nearer. Mr Thomas Fenton has a sta- tion at tbe foot of the Terricks on the former creek, which in summer time is usually dry, but this year a large quantity of water has been preserved by means of dams. Mr. Campbell's station is situated in a most
romantic spot, at the northern extremity of Mount Hope, the rocks of which rise up
abruptly to a considerable height a few yards behind the huts. In front are large and open plains intersected with belts of timber and of a beautiful parklike appearance.
Mr. Campbell's homestead is supplied by a well of the purest water dug at the foot of the hill. From this point the Murray is distant, in a north-westerly direction, about
fifteen miles. The peculiar timber which everywhere skirts the river is plainly visible from the summit of Mount Hope.
I made various enquiries as to the truth of the reports about several dead bodies having been found on the plains, but could find no one who knew anything about them except by hearsay. Some persons are of opinion that the statements were at all events very much exaggerated.
From all I could gather, about eight hundred or a thousand diggers have visited Mount Hope, the greater portion from Dunolly and Chinaman's Flat. Great num-
bers returned before reaching the
Mount, and the most of those who
did arrive at it came back by the Terricks to the neighborhood of the Whip- stick. We, that is Mr Panton and myself, came back that way on their tracks,
and found four or five parties only, camped at the Deadman's hut, on Mr Mouatt's run, about four miles from the Whipstick Scrub. I may mention that there are about a hundred men at work at the Whipstick diggings. They are badly off for want of water just now, but appear to be tolerably satisfied. There are a few men prospecting in the neighborhood of the Deadman's hut, on the outskirts of the scrub.
The rush to Mount Hope has, without doubt, been the result of a deliberate false- hood, and a most iniquitous attempt to mislead the diggers. What object it could have served, l am at a loss to understand— and it is most sincerely to be hoped that such a diabolical practical joke will never be perpetrated again. Hundreds of men left remunerative ground, and sold their "bits of traps" for a mere trifle, as is frequently the case during a rush. Many, I must say, have themselves to blame for lending too ready an ear to every tittle-tattler who comes among them open mouthed blabbing of a rush; and a little more caution should be exercised before sacrificing their all, and fleeing the substance to chase the shadow.
I am sorry to say that some parties be- haved in a most disgraceful and, according to most accounts, a most brutal and criminal manner on the road to and from the Mount. Atrocities of the most devilish
nature are said to have been committed in the neighborhood of Kelly's on the Serpen-
tine, one man having been shot in the most cold-blooded manner, and at Newbridge the conduct of some ruffians was most outrage- ous and unpardonable. These persons, if detected, should be punished with the utmost rigor of the law; for not only are they most dangerous to society, but a disgrace to the respectable body to which they profess to be- long. Actuated by a belief that the squatters
had originated the report, several parties in a spirit of petty revenge, set fire to the grass on their runs, and an immense amount of damage has been caused in consequence.
This is an offence which should also be treated with severity.
An immense number of dogs perished dur-
ing the rush, chiefly, I imagine, from want of
water. Some parts of the road are abso- lutely lined with their bodies.
In conclusion, I have merely to remark that there are, and have been no gold diggings about the Terricks, the Pyramid, or Mount Hope; nor do I believe, except for their own purposes, by the squatters, has a pick or sho- vel ever been used on these hills. I do not think that gold ever will he found there, and this is also Mr. Panton's opinion. He, how- ever, is inclined to think that rich lodes of some of the baser metals may exist there.
The diggers have all left. We did not see one, either about the Mount or on the road. —Courier of the Mines.