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Appendix [C.—Vol. iii. P. 310.] Gold.

Extract from the Sydney Morning Herald.

THE first published statement we find in an enclosure of a despatch of Sir George Gipps to the Secretary of State, bearing date 28th September, 1840. The enclosure alluded to is a Report by Count Strzelecki of his explorations of New South Wales, and in that report we find mention, under the head of “Gold,” of “an auriferous sulphuret of iron, partly decomposed, yielding a very small quantity or proportion of gold, sufficient to attest its presence, insufficient to repay its extraction,” and he quotes “the Vale of Clwydd,” as the locality. But this is not an ore of gold, but an ore of iron, and therefore it may be said Strzelecki does not mention gold itself; for it is well known that “auriferous sulphuret of iron,” is merely a variety of iron pyrites. In the beginning of the year 1841, the first actual discovery of “native gold,” of which there are no other ores, was made by a geologist now amongst us, who has long been engaged, without fee or reward, in the laborious work of elucidating the structure and phenomena of Australia; we mean the Rev. W. B. Clarke, who found the metal in the Dividing Ranges separating the eastern and western waters of the Macquarie. This fact, as well as the existence of particles of gold derived from these ranges, in the alluvial bed of Winburndale rivulet, was then announced by him to many persons now in the colony, who can bear testimony to this statement. As a matter of geological interest, the subject was, notwithstanding, communicated to his scientific friends in England, and finding that it was made known by them, he then published the fact, as well as his further discovery, that the gold was in small quantities, in various portions of the schistose formations, whose strike is parallel with the meridian, as well as in the district of Argyle, where he had also detected it. We find the fact announced by him in communications to the Geological Society, and again in the Tasmanian Journal, as well as

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in the pages of the Annals of Natural History, at various times from 1842 to 1847. During this period Mr. Icely's explorations led to the finding of gold in the quartz rocks traversing the schistose formations of the Belubula, thus confirming Mr. Clarke's allegation that gold is extensively developed. A similar confirmation was made by the presence of gold in similar strata near Gundagai. Classifying these facts, the geologist above-mentioned, after careful study of large collections of rocks from an enormous area in the colony, announced unhesitatingly to scientific persons in Europe and America, that the same “constants” which mark the presence of gold in Russia and California, as well as in Europe, are found in Australia; and that the localities where it may be expected to occur are just those in which he had found it, where meridian-directed strata of schist highly inclined, and traversed by quartz dykes, or met by diagonal intrusions of trap or porphyritic rocks, and that at such points only the metal would be abundant. As evidence of this we may here quote a passage from the Quarterly Review, published in London, in September, 1850:—

“The important point for Englishmen now to consider is, the extent to which our own great Australian colonies are likely to become gold-bearing regions: the works of Count Strzelecki and others, having made known the facts that the chief or eastern ridge of that continent consists of palæozoic rocks, cut through by syenites, granites, and porphiries, and that quartzose rocks occasionally prevail in this long meridian chain. Sir Roderick Murchison announced first to the Geographical Society, and afterwards to the Geological Society of Cornwall, his belief that wherever such constants occurred, gold might be expected to be found. Colonel Helmersen suggested the same idea at St. Petersburg. Very shortly afterwards not only were several specimens of gold in fragments of quartz veins found in the Blue Mountains north of Sydney, but one of the British Chaplains, himself a good geologist, in writing Home recently thus expresses himself:—‘This colony is becoming a mining country as well as South Australia. Copper, lead, and gold are in considerable abundance in the schists and quartzites of the Cordillera (Blue Mountains, &c.) Vast numbers of the

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population are going to California, but some day I think we shall have to recal them.’ ”

Nothing can be clearer than this testimony to the claim which the gentleman we have alluded to has a right to prefer to the discovery and announcement of the existence of gold in this colony, and in the basin of the Macquarie River. And now we have announced to us the confirmation of this discovery by Mr. Hargraves, who has found the predictions of geological inductions verified to the letter, he himself having taken a lesson in California. Whatever value, then, may be attached to the abundance of gold alleged to exist in the valleys of that river basin, of which we shall know more when the field has been surveyed, and whatever praise may be awarded to Mr. Hargraves for his diligence and perseverance, and public spirit, we ought not to pass over the consideration of the fact, that his announcement is only the confirmation of a discovery made long before in another part of the same field, by one who had no object but the verification of scientific principles, the investigation of the structure of the colony for the benefit of others, and who, we have reason to believe, is rejoiced upon those grounds only, that his predictions have been found true.