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ROMANCE OF AUSTRALIAN FIELDS. DEATH OF LEWIS BEYERS.
By the death of Hugo Louis Beyers, at the Mt. Morgans Hospi- tal on the 28fh ult., a link in the chain of Australian history has been forged. Louis Beyers was a notable
figures in the seventies, particular- ly in New South Wales mining cir- cles, but who throughout Australasia at that time did not know, or had not read of the roaring Turon and Tambaroora, of 'Moonlight,''' of Hawkins' Hill, of Beyers and Hol- terman, of the wonderful nugget, of untold wealth, hourly being unearth - ed and fortunes made in a day, of company upon company floated for hundreds of thousands, of jewels pawned and honour dishonoured to buy scrip; and then of ruin? The Hawkins' Hill boom was the wildest ever known in Australia, and people went gold-mad, not only in Australia, but also in England, and, as was often the case, the mar-
ket manipulators playing their cards well, swept the pool, leaving the ignorant and innocent to drag them- selves from the mire the best way possible. Many stayed there, whilst thousands cursed the day they heard of Hawkins' Hill. The Hill was genuine, for the gold was there. It was the sharper who damned the field, and left it, as it is to this day, stinking in the nostrils of the British and colonial mining investor. Offers of £200 were made for claims disclosing reefs, with no
mention of gold : the reef was all that was needed, and upon that alone a company would be formed, the scrip being taken up like wild- fire, whilst the promoters pocketed the cash. Thus was the mining in- dustry at Hill End stamped out ; and as the necessary capital has not since been forthcoming, the field is practically, as far as mining develop- ment is concerned, the same as it was in 1873. In 1892 the world's record nugget, or rather specimen, was unearthed frorn Beyers and Holtermann's claim. The leasing system was not in vogue at that time, each man be- ing entitled, under his miner's right, to 30 ft. frontage. Had it been pos- sible to obtain a lease of 20 acres, Beyers would have been the weal- thiest man in the Southern Hemis-
phere, for, although he was not the prospector of Hawkins' Hill, he actually discovered the reef, or, as it was then called, the vein, which made Hawkins' Hill, famous. Gold had previously been found a short distance to the north-east, in what is known as "Howley's" vein ; also about half a mile to the south, a rich proposition, 'The Rose of England," was being worked. Beyers was a shareholder in the ad- adjoining claim to the "Rose of England," and noticing that the al- luvial gold won in the gully below did not come down the main creek, at the head of which rich alluvial
had been worked, he concluded that it must come from the blind gully runnings from the head of Hawkins' Hill, and by perseverance, for it was precipitous and dangerous coun- try to traverse, he was rewarded by finding a rich floater, more gold than quartz. He pegged out the "Golden Star," toether with several other claims, which were given to his friends, he retaining various in- terests, and then took in B. O. Hol- ermann, his old mate, as a share- holder in the "Golden Star." From that claim alone, 60 ft. frontage, down to a depth of 250 ft., over £120,000 was mined, and from the adjoining claim, which was even richer, gold to the value of £180,000 was won. It is estimated that the value of gold obtained from Hawkins' Hill was close on £2,000,000. As, how- ever, proper records were not kept in those days, this is only an esti- mate, but making all allowances, is there another mine in the world with an area of 20 acres which has to a depth of 250 ft. produced so much gold? Besides, the vein, or series of veins, only averaged 4 in. in width. Surely Hawkins' Hill has the record, not only for the largest specimen, but also for ex- treme richness. The specimen was worth from £12,000 to £15,000, and together with the smaller specimens broken from around the big one, the value totalled £28,000. Louis Beyers then went into Par- liament as "the miners' friend," ousting David Buchanan, the paid representative of the miners, for the Western Goldfields Division. This electorate was then sub-divided, portions being added to adjoining electorates, and at the next general election Ferry, Beyers and Bu- chanan were elected to represent the Mudgee constituency. Standing a third time Beyers was confined to his bed through ptomaine poisoning, and being unable to visit his elec- torate, was defeated by Wall. That ended his Parliamentary career, and well for him it would have been had he not been so honoured, for there he became associated with the man who is declared to have robbed him of all and left him help- Iessly bound. Beyers, with his Hawkins' Hill money, invested in Sydney city and suburban property, and also bought a large sheep sta- tion on the Bogan River. At one time his estate was valued at £200, 000, but his friend, who had the management of the estate, and who held all the deeds, realised for him self, and finally, when, the A.J.S. Bank suspended payment, Beyers was practically penniless. It was a thorough clearance — a fall from richness beyond man's earthly wants to poverty in almost a mo- ment. No wonder it broke his heart — a heart ever open to the cry of the needy. Beyers was forced through the court, and after paying 19/- in the £l his creditors mag- nanimously allowed him his release. Born. at Posen, Poland, in the year 1835, H. L. Beyers, after qualifying, at the age of 13, in the requisite elementary studies, and being possessed of sufficient funds (£300) to enable him to obtain his passport (his parents having died), left Poland for California, be- ing attracted by the wonderful tales of the richness of that place. Land- ing in New York, he, being too young, would not be permitted to go overland with the caravans, and so shipped to Australia, landing in Sydney able to speak only a few
words of English. Gold was short- ly afterwards discovered, so he made for the fields, and, as was the life of the earliest Australian prospec- tors, followed up all the great gold rushes in New South Wales, Vic- toria, Queensland, and New Zea- land. In 1868 he left New Zealand with £10.000, and came back to Hill End. He married Mary Emmitt, of Bathurst, sister of Mrs. B. O'Holter- mann. by whom he had seven child- ren, six of whom are still living, and making the Hill his home, stayed after all those who had amassed their wealth there had departed; and it was his capital that kept the district going for 25-years,though he was not 'fortunate in finding another rich vein. Besides being a member of the New South Wales Legislative As- sembly for many years, the late Mr. Beyers held numerous honorary, positions, being mayor and, alder- man of the borough of Hill End for a considerable time, a justice of the peace, commissioner, licensing magis- trate, etc. He was also a Master Mark of the Grand Masonic Lodge. "Roughing it" for the last 10 years on the goldfields of this State, he, at the ripe age of 75, after living a life of peace and goodwill towards all men, went quietly to rest— a rest well and truly earned.