-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Gold Fields of Victoria in 1862 By J. A. Patterson

To make sure I don't miss any more articles, I now have an alert set up whenever a page featuring Talbot or Amherst is added to Google's database. A little gem just turned up: a book from 1863 from Oxford University's library that was recently digitised all about the Goldfields in Victoria.

Here are extracts that mention Amherst and Talbot, click on any of them to be taken to the book. Besides the thrill of just seeing the names in print in such an old tome, I like the occasional glimpses of everyday life the book gives.

The Gold Fields of Victoria in 1862 By J. A. Patterson: "will succeed A new rush of no great dimensions towards Amherst occurred whilst I was in the neighbourhood and lately various nuggets of some size have been found in the vicinity of the town The alluvial indeed is far from exhausted and there is a vast extent of untouched land which offers a certainty of moderate yields with the chances of good prizes at times The splendid reservoir constructed in the neighbourhood of the town and now full of water will assist in making some of the poorer ground payable Maryborough however labours "

"in a district now comparatively deserted More crushing machines are wanted and some little would be done to improve the reputation of Maryborough if the absurd distinction made by the banks between its gold and that of Talbot were done away with a distinction which "
"adds 9d per ounce to the value of Back Creek gold and lessens the escorts from Maryborough by a considerable amount gold being taken from it and sold in Talbot for the higher price while the intrinsic value is the same "

"The second description of mining for gold to which I have alluded is deep sinking It is a form of gold digging which requires co operation on a large scale and is seen in its perfection at Ballarat and at the Eocky Lead of Talbot Its aim is to reach the very rich beds of old rivers overlaid by successive layers of basalt clay and earth and years of labour and the outlay of a large capital are required before mines of this kind can be brought into full operation I have already so fully described the system however as it is seen on Ballarat that I have only now to say that it does not vary from alluvial digging by shafts and drives in the shallow fields beyond the magnitude of the works and the employment of steam power in pumping winding puddling and washing out It brought into existence however a class"

"charged with gold to travel far from their source The deep leads are more difficult to trace What stranger travelling over the bluestone ranges between Ballarat and Amherst or wearily plodding over the long brown table land between Malmsbury and Taradale or emerging suddenly on the basaltic table land around Vaughan accustomed though he might be to gold mining on the shores of the Pacific would imagine that the richest of all our known auriferous leads lie deep down under successive layers of volcanic rocks such as those he ia travelling over t The unaided experiences of the miners led to these discoveries with all their important consequences Even now in the eleventh year after the discovery of gold in Victoria the prospecting miner sets out on his mission of hope much like a seaman who goes down to the deep without c"

"I had originally proposed to return from St Arnaud by way of Stawell better known as Pleasant Creek and from thence to have passed to the Vale of Avoca and onwards through Talbot Clunes and Creswick to Daylesford passing some time in each of those important gold fields on my way I started therefore from Ballarat at the pleasant hour of two o clock in the morning and if any modern Charlie who kept watch and ward through the long dark night on Ballarat had chosen to call the hours as his prototype of old did he might well have added that depreciatory observation as to the character of the weather to which the rain and mist provoked the ancient watchman It was in truth a dreary morning I had laboured under the impression that a macadamized road connected for some distance at least the two important townships "
"if the road to Creswick was bad that to Clunes was almost inconceivably worse Just as we approached its most troublesome part the rain came down more thickly the mist crept closer to the ground and the lamps became useless for any other purpose than to make the fog visible Down came the off wheeler and the near wheels simultaneously in a deep ditch cut by the roadmen to improve the track and oat stepped a fellow passenger and myself into the soft mud to assist the coach to the perpendicular again and restore her Majesty"

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