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2 corrections, most recently by anonymous - Show corrections


The Select Committee of the Legislative As- sembly appointed to inquire into the claims of Mr. Henry Frencham and others, to the reward offered for the first discoverer of payable gold at Bendigo, sat again at Parliament House yesterday (from the "Standard"), Mr. A. S. Bailes pre- siding.

Mr. James Mouat, stationer, of Eaglehawk, was examined. He said he had resided in Ben- digo district since 1837, and at the time he heard of the gold discovery, which was in 1852, his in- formant being Captain Harrison, he lived at Ben- digo. He was there in October 1851, or about a monnth before the accepted date of the gold   discovery, and there was no talk whatever about any such find. He was told that one of Fenton's (Gibson and Stewart's) shepherds first found gold specimens.

Mrs. Kennedy, widow of John Kennedy who was manager of Ravenswood station in 1851, stated that in August or September of the same year some shepherds brought specimens of gold to the station, found in the Buninyung district, and about September her husband and Mr. Gibson were shown similar specimens. In that month

she found specimens along the creek herself,

and, along with her husband ard Mrs. Farrell, obtained a licence. This was previous to her seeing Mr. Frenchman, who found her and Mrs. Farrell

washing dirt in a dish.

To Mr. Frencham : I did empty the contents of the dish in order that you would not see what was in it. (Laughter)

Dr. W. Barker, of Albert Park, who was en-

gaged in squatting pursuits at Bendigo two or three years before the discovery of gold, said he  

remembered a one-armed man named Biass taking diggers to look for gold at Bendigo in August or September 1851, without success.

Patrick Peter Farrell, cooper, now of Carlton, informed the committee that he was employed on Gibson and Stewart's Station in 1851, and in August or September found specimens which turned out to be gold. He showed them to Mr. Kennedy, and they resolved to keep the matter

secret because they had no money to get licenses.   It was Mr. Biass, he thought, who brought the the news to Forest Creek, and then Mr. Frencham. Dr. Russell, John Magrath, and Captain Harrison came up about six weeks from the time he first obtained payable gold. Before Mr. Frencham made his appearance 4 lb or 5 lb of gold was ob- tained, and the precious metal could be found with

one's eyes shut. The spot in question was Golden


John Paton, a retired public service officer, residing at Albert Park, related that he bad seen Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy working at Golden Point Creek, washing dishes of dirt early in November, 1851. He believed it was Biass's information at Forest Creek which caused the rush. He subsequently pegged out a claim, and believed it was the first payable gold find. A shepherd named Graham, and other shepherds, claimed that they had first discovered gold. From the appearance of the spot worked by the Kennedys, they did not appear to have been there more than a week. Witness laid claim to no reward, but he believed that he sank the initial shaft on the left bank of the creek, and next to the shepherd's discovery. The first sub- stantial, payable gold was obtained in his "claim". Altogether 30 lb or 40 lb of gold was  

won from his claim.

William Sandbach, of Hotham, stated that when   he arrived at Bendigo on 22nd November, 1851, he saw Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Farrell, a shepherd who was called Ben Hall, and another shepherd fossicking at the creek. He was there about a week when Mr. Frencham arrived on the scene as a stranger to make inquiries,

G. N. Nieman, an engineer, residing at Clifton Hill, said that about 10th November, 1851, he saw four men working at "The Rocks," Bendigo   Creek, and believed Mr. Sandbach was one of

them, Therefore Mr. Sandbach must have been  

wrong in his reference to dates. Witness and

three others sank a payable shaft at Golden


At this stage the committee adjourned till

Thursday next.