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MINING VICISSITUDES. - .-
To the Editor.
Sir,— In the issue of the 10th insfc of your highly appreciated paper, and under the above heading, I have with much pleasure read the
great tribute paid by you to the memory of my late esteemed towns man, Hugo Louis Beyers. With, your permission I would like to add somewhat to your tribute. I3 to gether with Thomas Bath, M.L.A., J. K. Weir, and many others now living on these fields, resided at Hill End, New South Wales, for manj7 years, and knew Louis Beyers well. He had, as you rightly state, 'a heart ever open to the cry of j the needy,' for a more open and kind-hearted man it would be hard to find. He was the miners' and workers' true friend, always ready and ever happy to help them when ever called upon, both by his pocket and influence. When Louis Beyers stood for the Western Gold fields against Buchanan, the raid representative of the miners, he had a glorious victory, polling thous ands to Buchanan's hundreds, as i the miners voted solidly for the man J who had worked amongst them and whom they knew from experience woidd in a wnole-hearted manner represent, them and do his utmost to remedy their grievances. For they had real grievances in those days, with little chance of getting their conditions bettered, as Parlia ment was mostly composed of city and agricultural members, with a few goldfields representatives, but these latter, who came, like 'Buch anan, from the city, were generally professional men, and did_ not trouble much about the miners' wants. There were no real Labour representatives, and Parliament was run almost absolutely in the in terests of the capitalists, farmers, and graziers. H. L. Beyers was the first true representative of Labour m the New South Wales Parliament, and bv turning up the files of the Sydney.
'Worker' of about IPOO, then'} edited by George Black, .you will note that paper claims him as such. Allowing for the great handicap of a private member1 getting a measure through the House during the Parkes regime— for that was really a one-man Parliament— Beyers did good work whilst there. He was able to obtain almost all the money | required for public works in his electorate, and besides several other beneficial acts, was instrumental in getting the mining licence fees, which were very high, reduced ; also, he advocated the prospecting aid vote, which was passed, and also the sending out by --the .Mines Department of parties of. prospec tors. He further, on several occa sions, tried ' to bring forward . a. Mining on Private Property Bill, knowing of many places on private estates where there was gold, but was not successful, as the land owners' influence was too strong. By the alteration of the electoral boundaries of the Western Gold fields the miners' votes became split, and so he was defeated by I Wall, though not thrown over by j the miners. After Beyers, several Hawkins' Hill identities sought Parliamentary honours, notably B. O. Holtermann, his old mate, who came to Sydney and conducted a large business in George-street, and who was the representative, till his death, of the North Sydney elec torate, at which place he built the '?'Tower/' now the ' North Sydney Grammar School, at a cost, with the land attached, of £40,000. Then followed Jchn Hurley, of Hartley, William Hurley, and Mark John Hammond. Louis Beyers' greatest pleasure whilst away from his family was to be amongst some of his old friends, the diggers, con- : v-ersing with them on the- wonderful old-time mining experiences, and many a time have I listened in won derment to what seemed like fairy tales, tales of adventure and of the marvellous richness of the Eastern Goldfields, of which there is no re
cord, I fancy I see Mr. Beyers re- j lating how H-oltermann and him- j self when working a new find on the j Turon were mobbed by 300 China- 1 men, barely . escaping with their lives, and having to forsake their claim ; of their show at Sofala giv ing a pound weight of gold to the tub of wash; of their refusing £3000 for a claim at Lucknow which show ed a face like a jeweller's shop, and how the next shot blew all the gold, which was only paint,' away; of when he dug post holes for a hut, and on coming back after a shower of rain with the posts,found the spot rushed, the rain hiving disclosed ( rich alluvial wash in the dirt thrown ; out of the holes; of the , day he' ' bought into an alluvial show at Tarn- ! baroora for £5, and how, on the fol lowing day, over £500 worth of gold was unearthed ; of the- great dish of wash worth £300, he obtained from behind a bar at Kiandra, on the Snowy River ; of the rich pockets on the Snowy, and haw he was turn ed out of his claim by a set of bul lies ;? of the extreme winters on the Snowy, when flour would be 2/6 a pound, and when, on the thawing of the snow in the gullies, cattle and horses would b& found hanging high up in the forks of trees; of the great ? Lambing Flat riot, when the Chinese were most cruelly treated, many being thrown down shafts ; of the great Hargreaves nugget, and of the rich field at Gulgong ; of the West Coast of New Zealand, with wild pigs the only meat -obtainable ; of the cry 'theCommissioner' when all those who had no licence would run for their lives, for if caught they 'were chained to a log and their mining requisites destroyed; of' the Hill End and Tambaroora Gold Cup, won by the outlaw 'Moonlight' under the nose of Com missioner Brown (Rolfe Boldre w-ood) and the police ; of how big black Nat, when, climbing the lad ders to the surface, on looking up saw the next man, 30 ft. above, 'fall, ( and how he (Black Nat) threw him- j self across the shaft and caught the 1 '. other falling ; a.n,d of how the shaft j on tho Golden Star had to be en- j la-rged, by my father and others., to enable the great specimen to b& brought to the surface. These ancT many other experiences have I, with joy, heard him relate. The' death of I his wife was a great blow to H. L. Beyers, and other troubles coming ! on top of that completely undid ! him — he never recovered his lost | ! vitality. And now he has gonej a ' ' worthy man ; so may he. rest in J peace. — I am, etc., R.A.