DISCOVERY OF GOLD AT BENDIGO.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ARGUS.
Sir,—As my letter to Mr. M'Lellan was written simply in the interest of justice to save, as I said, reward being wrongly given ; and, seeing in The Argus of to-day letters on pages 7 and 10, my statements spoken of as incorrect, allow me, please, to reply with a little of the liberty accorded to G. M. New- man. Origin of Name.—Mr. R. Grice's note, saying "it was named by Tom Myers (Heap and Grice's overseer) about 1841. Tom, him- self, was a bit of a dab with his fists, and great admirer of the boxer Bendigo," is, I be- lieve, fact ; and came to me down the ages 1841 to 1851 by a fellow shepherd (James Liston), then on Gibson and Fenton's station, and who was on the station in the early days of Heap and Grice, when the blacks were bad, and the sailor hut-keeper was so christened. Mr. Grice's note and the words of the shep- herd settle it. Bandicoot Creek I never heard of. Mr. Fenton tells me Piccaniny Creek was miles away, and there could not be two, although there is a Back Creek at Talbot as well as at Sandhurst.
Re Mr. Frencham and the meeting and my statement being incorrect. I went to Forest Creek for licenses before the arrival of Mr. Horne, the first com- missioner on Bendigo, overtaken by Captain Harrison on my way back. The said captain got up the first meeting against the proposed £3 licenses, when Mr. Frencham spoke. I read the resolution thanking the press (date may be found in The Argus as it was printed).
My brother was there. There was a second meeting, I think in the early part of December,
when Captain Harrison gave offence by keep- ing his hat on, when three cheers were given for the Queen. My brother left for England some five days before Christmas, 1851, myself going with him to Forest Creek, returning to Bendigo on Christmas Day (I think a Sunday), and dug the grave and buried the first body (an old sailor) next morning. The third and greater meet- ing was that day week—New Year's Day— against the demand of Commissioner Captain Dane (not Dana), reported as late from India,
for 30s. in money, and refusing the offer of ½oz of gold instead, the buying price being £2 7s. Sold mine at a high figure—£2 11s. I read one of the resolutions at that meeting also, standing with Captain Harrison on the top of a loud of washdirt on a bullock dray, Captain Dane, about 300 yards away, strutting backwards and forwards in front of his camp. Now, re G. M. Newman, Mr. Fenton, the then squatter, will be rather surprised to know that he was in those days landlord of the Porcupine, and that a man named Lewis was not, and whom (on my way for licenses) I heard, at his wits' end, asking for another bucket of water for the failing brandy cask. On Christmas Day, 1851 (my return to Ben- digo), I found Golden Gully had been opened, a black trooper finding the first speck of gold on the surface. G. M. Newman says :— "Fixed camp, and erected the first forge on Bendigo." He may have done, for the first blacksmith landed his bellows on the ground, and never that I knew of lifted them, made a couple of hundred quickly near the rocks, and off. Sir, it is passing strange that your "mining engineer and expert," "after teaching the Jumbuck men " (who were going with a face into the bank, and getting one day 22oz.)—"practical mining"—should say that he afterwards sank a hole 20ft. deep, halfway up Golden Gully, about 10th of November, 1851, when to my certain knowledge the black trooper had not picked up the speck on the sunny surface side of Golden Gully on the 10th, or even 15th, of December. Allow me, please Sir, to tell you of the first quartz " mining expert" on Bendigo. I saw him thus :— Locality—The hill, afterwards called Speci-
men, the crown of which was a huge pile of white quartz—one block standing up half the size of a hut. Time, well on in January, 1852, the man of science (with a bullockless) dray close by) was on the top of a solid body or reef of white quartz, pounding his way down with a big hammer. My mate and I, novices, not experts, wondered, questioned, and laughed. Some days afterwards we saw the foot deep-cavity the man of science had toiled at and left. Our first working ex- perience, excised from my letter, was about as scientific—also the second. Getting a cradle, we worked for a week with the wash- board up end down, one hand panning-off about a tubful from the cradle bottom in the afternoon. The statements in my letter to Mr. M'Lellan, re William Johnson and the first speck ; the action and words of William Ross, P. O'Donnell, and Mr. Fenton , our starting (shearing over) before daylight, not to be seen, and of the finding of the two women and the one shep- herd and hutkeeper only, digging, with their words to us of the finding of the gold and boxing of the sheep—were strictly true. My brother (Crown-street, Newmarket) can so testify. Mr. Fenton, calling upon me, gave his finding of the boxed flocks as shepherd- less, and then finding the men digging where they told him they had before seen himself and Mr. Gibson, and where he and Mr. Gibson had found gold. I can say this—that Mr. Fenton showed me some gold at the wool- shed before the shearing was over, and on my innocently asking, "Where did you get it?" replied smilingly, "Didn't I tell you?" I suppose, Sir, you will yet hear, as I have done, of other discoverers besides Messrs. Frencham and Co.—I am, &c.,
North Melbourne, Sept. 5.