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THE DISCOVERY OF BENDIGO
The select committee of the Legislative Assembly appointed to inquire into the claim of Mr. Frencham to be regarded as the discoverer of the Bendigo gold-field met at Parliament-house on Thursday. There were present Mr. Bailes (in the chair), Mr. Bur- rowes, Mr. Gordon, Mr Williams, Mr. A. Young, and Mr. Bennett.
Mr. James Mowatt, stationer at Eagle- hawk, stated that he had been a resident of the district since 1837. He was the owner of the Yarrabird Station at the time gold was discovered, and he knew the Bendigo Creek well. He recollected when the first hut was put up by Mr. Myers. It was there before the gold was discovered in October, 1851. He was absent from the district until January, 1852, when Captain Harrison told him that gold had been found at Golden-square by one of Mr. Fenton's shepherds. Mr. Stewart Gibson had remarked in his hearing, " Those d—shepherds discovered the gold."
Mrs. J. Kennedy, relict of the late over- seer of Ravenswood Station, stated that early in September, 1851, she camped on Bendigo Creek, and found gold there. After- wards she heard that a shepherd had dis- covered gold, and some of it was sold to her husband. Some weeks subsequently Mr. Frencham and a one-armed man came to the place. They had red shirts on, and thinking they were commissioners she dropped what gold she had in the creek. It was coarse gold, and was embedded in the clay. She took out two gold licenses—one for herself and one for Mrs. Farrell.
Dr. William Barker, medical practitioner, residing at Albert-park, stated that in 1851 he was at Bendigo at the Mount Alexander Station. Barker's Creek was called after him. He remembered in September or Octo- ber Byass, a one-armed man, coming to the station, and offering to show the men where gold could be found.
Mr. Patrick Peter Farrell, cooper, living at Carlton, said that in August or September, 1851, he was at Ravenswood Station. While rambling about be found a bit of gold at Golden Point. He afterwards camped at the place with his wife and Mrs. Kennedy, and got a lot of gold. He was warned that an announcement had appeared in The Argus that a cooper and two women had found a lot of gold, so that he had better be careful or he would be murdered for what he had. One night he heard rustling among the trees, and he gave his wife and Mrs. Kennedy a rusty bayonet and a tomahawk while he charged his pistol. He fired his pistol, and the people who were hovering round soon beat a retreat. (Laughter.) He found 5lb. or 6lb. of gold. It was after this Mr. Frencham appeared on the scene, and the rush then set
Mr. John Paton, late of the public service, stated that in October, 1851, he was at Forest Creek, and he fell in with Byass about the end of that month. Byass said he had found gold on Bendigo Creek, and he then went to the creek. He at once pegged off a claim and got 30lb. of gold from it. Mrs. Kennedy
was there when he arrived. He was in the district in 1849, and it was then called
Mr. William Sandvach, a resident of Hotham, said that as far as he could learn Bendigo was called after a fighting sailor, who was so nicknamed. He arrived at Ravenswood Station on the 21st November, 1851, and the following day he went with some others to Bendigo Creek, and found Mrs. Kennedy and the shepherds there. They showed gold which they had found.
Mr. G. M. Newman, engineer, residing at Clifton Hill, stated that on the 4th of Novem- ber, 1851, he was on his way to Forest Creek with a party when they met Mr. Fenton, and he advised them to go to Bendigo Creek. When they arrived at the creek about the 10th of November they found four men fos- sicking. He saw Mr. Sandback, but not Mr. Frencham. His party sunk the first shaft at Golden Gully. It was sunk to a depth of
The commission then adjourned until Thursday next.