THE DISCOVERY OF GOLD AT
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ARGUS.
Sir,—Knowing the first meeting held on Bendigo was reported in The Argus, and wishing to know the correct date, I have carefully looked over The Argus files in the Public Library, of Novem- ber-December, 1851, and January, 1852, to find the name of Bendigo first men- tioned in the signature to a long report headed "Mount Alexander," in The Argus of 13th December, 1851, against the proposed £3 licenses (myself moving the fourth resolu- tion),and the greater meeting, held, as stated, on " New Year's Day, 1852, " re the 30s. cash versus ½oz. of gold. All through the years, Sir, the words " twenty-second" floated in my mind , but I was not sure whether they referred to arrival at a certain place (first coming to the colony) on 22nd October 1849, or to arrival at the rocks at Bendigo 22nd November, 1851 ; and so—said about the middle of November (Mr. Fenton's books will tell the time of paying off)—Mr. Frencham's advent was nearly a week later. But from the middle of Novem- ber even to the third meeting on New Year's Day would not be the " fully two months " later of your Sandhurst correspondent. From the flowery language and poetical description in the report of that first meeting, held at night close to our mia mia camp fire, &c., arises a suspicion that the first oratorical speaker (Mr. Frencham) and the reporter " Bendigo " were one and the same person. And, Sir, the wonderful part to me of that report was this—such a speech never passed my lips (murder will out, even after long years). Meeting Captain Harrison, I said—
" Why, sir, what is reported in The Argus I never said at all !" " Well," replied he, with a laugh, "you ought to have said it ." Re- ports of what others might not have said troubled me not ; the night scene was truth, and for the curious is worth reprinting. Since writing to Mr. M'Lennan I have heard there is a little agitation at Sandhurst to have the old name Bendigo back, on account of people at home thinking Bendigo and Sandhurst two places. Re the name, allow me a word. I have received letters from a lady (a stranger) who, when a girl, was on Myers's Station at shearing time, 1851, remain- ing there for some time with her father. She says :—" I know you are telling the truth when you speak about the sailor." Her words—" we arrived at Myers's Bendigo Station "—and the version of the shepherd, James Liston, to me have caused me to ponder over Mr. Grice's notes. I did not know Myers's Station was so named. His home- stead was some miles from the Bendigo hut, on Gibson and Fenton's run, and which whole run belonged to Heap and Grice before their time. Mr Grice's note says :—" It was named by Tom Myers (Heap and Grice's over- seer) about 1841. Tom himself was a bit of a dab with his date, and a great admirer of the boxer Bendigo, hence the name." Now the "it" in Mr Grice's note is not locality, and therefore indefinite—and query, was the fighter Bendigo famous at that date, 1841 ? Tom Myers, simply overseer then, and stationless, would scarcely call himself Bendigo, though he could and might call him afterwards little station so, and which would give locality—nicknames are tenacious, sticking even to kings and their habitations , and Tom Myers (lady asks "Is he still alive ?"), without falsifying Mr Grice's note, could still be the christener of the boxing sailor hutkeeper and his hut, and which would give locality to the habitation and the man, and definition to Mr. Grice's "it." The hut on Gibson and Fenton's station would not have retained the name if Myers's home- stead, some miles away, had been so named first. James Liston was on the station (Heap and Grice's) from the early days, carrying his double-barrelled gun and dodging the spears of the blacks, and saw the spearing of the young squatter on the Loddon, and told me of it. I have written this for the interested, dwelling in the once Bendigo, but now famous city. I remember saying in January, 1852, "Jim, I should not wonder but what this one of these days will be a big diggings," and I had written the little
" O, lift your eyes, ye sighing sons of men ;
The long-fled golden age returns again.
See ! youthful riches, with his yellow wand,
Touching the hills and valleys through the land."
—I am, &c.,
North Melbourne, Sept, 10.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ARGUS.
Sir,—On perusing a letter on the above subject in your issue of the 9th inst, written by Mr. Sandvach, I beg to state that I have no desire to plunge into a newspaper contro- versy to court public popularity or reward. Still, I consider that the importance of this question demands that facts alone should be
Mr. Sandvach appears to have lost his temper at my naming him a "Jumbuck" man, and myself a mining expert. I assure him the words were only used in a jocular sense in my letter. And I did sign myself "Mining Expert ' for the first time during my mining career throughout Australia in the past 39 years. I do not admire the title in a mining sense. At the same time I would not play second to any so called expert, even in these school of
I agree with Mr. M'Intyre, M.L.A., that the locality was first known as Bandicoot Creek, and was subsequently named or re- christened Bendigo on Christmas Day, December, 1851. With every respect for the memory of the departed Tom Myers, who, it is said, was a dab with his fists, I say that in December, 1851, there were fully 200 of a fighting fraternity, composed of the most double-distilled villains that ever escaped from New South Wales, Tasmania, and Swan River, concentrated on that infant gold-field. Mr. Sandvach correctly re-
fers to public meetings that took place in December, 1851. Now where did the public come from if not from the golden gully which our party discovered, as previously stated, it being the first golden gully discovered on Bendigo ? I re- peat that the person who induced our party to proceed to Bandicoot or Bendigo was a very tall man named Fenton, who, I think, had formerly been in the army, and subsequent to our meeting he purchased a small station near St. Arnaud. I am not positive if he said he was landlord or owner of the Porcu- pine Inn, he appeared too superior a man to rent such a den. Our party did fire the first forge on Bendigo. The blacksmith referred to fixed his forge near where Black's store was subsequently erected. He worked for his hire only, pointing and steeling picks at 1s. and 1s. 6d. a point. He made considerable cash in a short time. He informed my two mates, who were both blacksmiths that he was off to Geelong to get married. That was the end of him, poor fellow.
Mr. Sandvach states that the black trooper did not pick up the "speck " on the sunny side of the golden gully even up to December 15. I confess I never came across this black trooper or the historical "speck." Never tireless, our party sank the first payable golden hole on Bendigo, and in the middle, not on the sunny side, of the said gully. Trusting I am not trespassing on your valuable space in these troubled times.—Yours, &c.,
G. M. NEWMAN, Mining Investor, Phair's Hotel, Collins-street, Sept, 10.