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Discovery of an Extensive Gold Field. From the Bathurst Free Press.

THE existence of gold in the Wellington district has for a long time been an ascertained fact, but public attention has never until now been seriously drawn to the circumstance. A little temporary curiosity would occasionally be excited whenever news were spread abroad that old M'Gregor, the gold-finder from that district, had passed per mail to the metropolis, as was always believed, laden with auriferous treasure. This subsided, nothing more would be heard of the matter for a long interval, than an occasional rumour that he had rejected some tempting offer, held out by a Sydney jeweller, or Wellington settler, as an inducement


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to disclose the secret of the locale whence his treasure was derived. It is sufficient for the present purpose to state, that the progress he made in life, with no other ostensible means of earning money than shepherding and gold-finding, has always been regarded as presumptive evidence of his success in the latter vocation.

The arrival of Mr. Hargraves in Bathurst on Tuesday evening last, who, it was generally known, had been in communication with Government respecting discoveries made by him of extensive gold deposits in our cismontane region, has now brought the subject more prominently before our Bathurst public. On Thursday evening he invited a few gentlemen to meet him at Mr. Arthur's inn, with the object of communicating such information as he had obtained upon this interesting subject in his recent explorations, and the readiness and intelligence which he displayed in answering the numerous questions addressed to him, showed satisfactorily that he not only possessed an intimate knowledge of gold-mining in all its branches, but was desirous of giving every possible information upon the matter connected with his visit. From the running conversation, which was kept up for several hours, we gleaned the following particulars.

Mr. Hargraves, who has spent nearly two years at the California diggins, returned to this colony in January last, having, as he states, whilst there, derived considerable information from the Mexican miners, whom he represents as by far the best and most successful diggers. Struck by the similarity of the geological formation, and external physical characteristics of certain portions of this colony and the California gold fields, he was induced, at his own expense, and on his own responsibility, to visit this and the neighbouring districts to institute a personal examination. His researches have been crowned with success. After riding about 300 miles, so as to intersect the country at numerous points, and spending from two to three months in the prosecution of his object, Mr. Hargraves states as the result of his observations, that from the foot of the Big Hill to a considerable distance below Wellington, on the Macquarie, is one vast gold field; that he has actually discovered the precious metal in numberless places, and that indications


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of its existence are to be seen in every direction. Indeed, so satisfied is he on this point, that he has established a company of nine working miners, who are now actively employed digging at a point of the Summer Hill Creek, near its junction with the Macquarie, about fifty miles from Bathurst, and thirty from Guyong. Ophir is the name given to these diggins.

Several samples of fine gold were shown to the company by Mr. Hargraves, weighing in all about four ounces—the produce, he stated, of three days' digging. The amount thus earned by each man he represented to be 2l. 4s. 8d. per day; but he observed that, from want of practical knowledge and proper implements, he was convinced that nearly one-half of the gold actually dug had been lost, owing to the labour being performed in his absence. One of the samples produced was a solid piece weighing about two ounces, and was found at the diggins attached to the root of a tree, by Mr. John Lyster, who is one of the company. Another sample consisted of small pieces, weighing from several grains to a pennyweight, all elongated, and of various shapes; and a third of small flat particles, principally oval. The large piece, which appears as if it had been in a state of fusion, is intended by Mr. Hargraves as a present to his Excellency the Governor. The only process through which the above samples had passed was the washing, which had been performed by Mr. Hargraves himself.

The principal localities mentioned by Mr. Hargraves, where he had discovered gold, were Summer Hill, Guyong, and Lewis' Pond Creeks. He also found gold at Dubbo, below Wellington, which he stated to be in powder, fine as the finest flour, but so far as he could judge from the opportunities he had, it did not exist in sufficient quantity to pay for the necessary labour. From the nature of some of the country explored by him, he is of opinion that gold will be found in mass, and would not be surprised if pieces of 30 or 40 lbs. should be discovered. He had seen no country in California which promised metal in such heavy masses. This description of country he represents as not being desirable as a field of speculation. One or two occupied thereon might be lucky enough to find a lump, but their companions would expend much toil, and


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probably obtain nothing, whilst the ground which yielded the “dust” or larger particles, could be calculated upon as returning a certain remuneration for a given quantity of labour.

We are assured by Mr. Hargraves that there exists an opening for an unlimited supply of labour in the vicinity of the diggins already opened by him, but he holds out no florid hopes. He makes no unreasonable or exaggerated statements. His arguments and representations simply amount to this, that there exists in the neighbouring districts an extensive gold field, but whether a rich or a remunerative field of labour he does not undertake to say. This question remains to be solved by actual trial.

We have now given the principal items of information connected with this most important and interesting subject. In the statements made we do not intend to incur any responsibility. We tell the story as 'twas told to us. The suddenness with which the announcement of a discovery of such magnitude has come upon us—a discovery which must, if true, be productive of such gigantic results not only to the inhabitants of these districts, but to the whole colony, affects the mind with astonishment and wonder, in such a manner as almost to unfit it for the deductions of plain truth, sober reason, and common sense. Mr. Hargraves is an intelligent, an educated, and we believe a respectable man. His manner is quiet and unobtrusive. He does not seek to thrust his information upon the people, but when questioned, answers modestly and intelligibly any questions put to him. The attention paid to him by Government is some guarantee of his respectability and acquaintance with the subject, and there really does appear such an absence of any reasonable motive to mislead the public, that if we do not comprehend all we have heard from him, we are not prepared to disbelieve it. He started yesterday for Cooming, to join Mr. Stutchbury, the Government geologist, who, we are informed, will accompany him to the diggins. The matter will therefore be quickly placed beyond the reach of suspicion or incredulity.




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Extract from a Letter of the REV. W. B. CLARKE, in the Sydney Morning Herald, 24th May, 1851.

WHEN in 1841, and subsequently from year to year with increased conviction, as the results of my inquiries came before me, I announced that Australia was an auriferous country; and when in a letter (I think to Sir H. de la Beche,) which has been quoted in the Quarterly Review, it was said that gold as well as copper and lead is in “considerable abundance” in our schists and quartzites, it was no hypothetical assertion. I simply declared what I believed on evidence which was in all points consistent with the full exploration of the Ural and the rivers of California, and which the perseverance of gold-seekers here has now fully confirmed. Nor do I shrink from further declaring, what time will establish, that the present gold-field is but one of numerous localities along the Cordillera, in which gold and gold alluvia will be found by those who search for them.

That in this respect I am not exciting vain expectations may be believed, if we only bear in mind what we are taught by the facts well established in the history of the Ural. It is but a very few years since the only known locality of gold was at Ekaterinburg; and it is now known to occur north and south of that locality, over more than six degrees of latitude. And now a region that within the memory of the writer produced but a small amount of gold, produces three millions sterling per annum. Even certain rocks themselves of the Ural, not only quartz and schists, but limestones also, when pounded, are known to produce a per-centage of gold.

It may be asked what right have we to anticipate such results here? I answer unhesitatingly, that, although it is, perhaps, out of the power of human prescience to predict with unfailing certainty that such will be the case here, yet if there be any truth in the deductions of geology, such may be anticipated, wherever constants which have never failed elsewhere are found. Geological data fairly interpreted will not deceive, for the laws impressed upon the physical world are of Him whose ways are stable and unvarying.


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As a geologist, fully aware of the risk which reputation may run in all prospective statements, I declare it to be my belief that the axis and flanks of our Australian Cordillera are of the same geological epoch, and have undergone similar transmuting influences with the axis and flanks of the Ural; that in constituents, in changes produced by igneous action, in age, in almost every phenomenon, and in elevation above the sea, in standing as a wall between the sea and a desert, just as the Ural stands as a wall between what was sea long after our Cordillera became dry land, and the desert of Siberia, there is a most perfect analogy in all respects in these distant chains; and therefore, it is not blind hypothesis, but careful analysis, which has brought me to predicate of Australia, what is now geological history in Russia.

Again, look at the direction of these chains. It was Humboldt who first remarked, that gold is a constant in meridian-directed mountains. The Ural, the ranges of California, and the Australian Cordillera, have verified the dictum; for there is not a greater deviation in Australia from a true parallel to the meridian than there is in the Ural, which is deflected between north and north thirty-five degrees west in the northern part of its course, and between south and south forty-five degrees west in its southern expansion.

There is, however, one striking fact which I cannot omit in this place, a fact never before mentioned. If we look at the globe, we shall find that in the longitude of about 149° or 150° east extends the middle of the meridian chain of Australia, parallel by similar chains, having similar axes, in South and in West Australia. Exactly ninety degrees from this main Australian chain occurs the auriferous Ural in 60° east, and exactly ninety degrees from the same chain occurs the north and south auriferous mountains of California in 120° west. The fourth quadrantal meridian falls along the Atlantic, between Brazil and Africa, both auriferous regions.

In three of these meridians the earth has been fissured, and igneous rocks have pierced and transmuted elevated schistose beds.




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When this fact first struck my mind, I received a fresh light, and guided by it, I saw, that if a careful examination and comparison of the actual formations of California and the Ural would justify it, I should be safe in positively asserting what I did, and from the effect of which assertion explorers have been led to verify my conclusions.

By personal survey, or by the assistance of numerous kind friends, who take an interest in my humble endeavours to advance the progress of science in this colony, I have had at one time or another under my hands collections of rocks from almost every available locality between Cape Howe and New Guinea; and I am prepared with evidence, some of which will appear in the Report I have been long preparing (and which, but for the pressure of my more solemn engagements would long ago have been ready for the press,) to show that, what is now known of the Ural and of the Californian Sierras, may be predicted of our Australian Cordillera. And I trust it is not taking an arrogant position, when I assume, that as my former declarations have been found true, and that if I had not made them, we should not now have had them so promptly realized, so my present warning ought not to be neglected, when I affirm that Summer Hill and its vicinity is but one of the localities over which Government must one day watch with jealousy the rights of the Sovereign.

Note communicated by SIR RODERICK MURCHISON to the Author.

BETWEEN the years 1841 and 1843 Sir Roderick Murchison described to geologists the gold-bearing rocks of the Ural Mountains, which he had explored. In 1844 (not 1845, as has been erroneously stated,) he published, in the fourteenth volume of the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, a comparison between the Eastern Cordillera of Australia, which was then about to be described by Count Strzelecki, and the Ural Mountains. In 1846 he recommended the Cornish miners who wanted employment to


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emigrate to New South Wales, and there search for gold, (small portions of which had been found near Bathurst and Adelaide,) instead of tin in the alluvia,—his views being recorded in the Penzance newspapers, and the Transactions of the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall. In 1848, having received specimens of gold from colonists, (Mr. T. W. Smith, and Mr. Phillips,) he wrote to Earl Grey, referring to the former comparison with the Ural Mountains; and stating the results already obtained, he added, that the operations might be much extended if some modification of the mining laws were declared. But the Minister declined interference, apprehending, (as His Lordship has since expressed himself,) that the agitation of the discovery of the precious metals would prove injurious to an agricultural and wool-growing community. The anticipations in England, and the first discoveries of the ore in Australia, were therefore prior to the accidental opening of the golden gravel of California in 1847. After that great event Sir R. Murchison treated publicly on various occasions the subject of the distribution of gold over the surface of the globe, his last and concluding views being put forth in the article “Siberia and California” of the Quarterly Review, September 1850. Even this last publication, in which the subject of Australian gold was again introduced, had been read in Sydney before some of the accounts of the profitable discoveries of 1851 were written—accounts which have been widely circulated both in the newspapers and in the Blue-books of the Houses of Parliament, and in which no mention is made of the prognostics of 1844 and 1846, or of the monitory letter of 1848.

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