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dinal direction, and general characteristics to the gold-bearing regions in Siberia, California, Borneo, and other places.
In 1839, the intrepid and scientific explorer, Count Sterzelecki endeavoured, but in vain, to awaken the attention of the colonists to the subject. For several years afterwards, a shepherd named M’Gregor, was in the habit of occasionally bringing pieces of gold to Sydney; but he refused to state where he procured them. In 1841 the Rev. W. B. Clarke, of the parish of St. Leonard, near Sydney, a divine of eminent geological and scientific acquirements, found gold in the very basin of the Macquarie river, which he exhibited to the Government and other influential persons, and in the public journals pointed out the very regions where it was found; but no one attempted to profit by the disclosures which he made, cautiously considering that the country was still a penal settlement. He subsequently communicated to the Geological Society his conviction that gold, copper, and lead, were in considerable abundance in the schists and quartzites of the mountain chain. This intelligence awakened the attention of Sir Roderick Murchison to the subject, who announced to the Geographical Society in 1845, and afterwards to the Geological Society of Cornwall, that auriferous alluvia would probably be found in abundance at the base of the western flanks of the dividing ranges in eastern Australia, and strongly advised that the British Legislature should send out competent persons to explore those regions. Colonel Helmerson, who is well acquainted with the Ural gold districts, suggested the same idea at St. Petersburg.
In 1846, Sir T. Mitchell, while exploring the interior, procured several rich specimens of gold embedded in quartz, which he stated could be obtained in abundance ; he, however, deemed it advisable not to notify the region. In 1849, a Mr. Smith, of Berrima, exhibited a lump of gold to the Colonial Secretary, and offered to
the locality of the aurifera on the receipt of a reward from the Government, but this was refused and Mr. Smith kept his
In the papers relating to Crown lands, presented to Parliament at the commencement of the session of 1851, there is a dispatch from Sir Charles Fitzroy, the present Governor of New South Wales, to Earl Grey, containing the following passage :-“A specimen of gold,
: weighing about three ounces and a half, was lately exhibited to me. I have not been able to learn the precise locality where it was found, except that it is in the western side of the great dividing range in the Sydney, or Middle District.” The specimen of gold here mentioned by Sir Charles Fitzroy, was not, as some have conjectured, one of those pieces sold in Sydney by the shepherd M Gregor. I myself found it in the river Turon, near the junction with the Macquarie. I also procured scale gold, and copper ore, but I prosecuted no further search, as the Government and others who saw the specimens disregarded my statement of the richness of the district; and some even pronounced me an enemy to the colony, for daring to discover the alluring metal.
This treatment, although unpleasant, was precisely such as I had expected to receive at the hands of the wealthy and the influential colonists, whose present interest it was to prevent the diversion of the already limited supply of labour to new objects, and to gold mining particularly, as they pondered on the possibility of the labourer deserting the flocks, the herds and the corn fields, and rushing to the diggings, immediately an El Dorado was proclaimed in New South Wales. But although they turned a deaf ear to the pleadings of science and enterprise, and sceptically pronounced the gold brought in by persons from the bush as jewels and watch cases, that had been hidden by thieves, and melted by bush fires, they could not check the progress of discovery.
Mr. F. Forbes, who, in 1850, died in California, published a pamphlet in Sydney, in 1849,
in which he affirmed, on scientific data, the existence of gold formations in Australia. About this period, several promising outcroppings of copper and lead were discovered ; and the fact that the country was rich in minerals became so evident, that the colonial executive requested the home Government to send out an efficient geologist to examine the country, and accordingly the appointment was conferred on the eminent Mr. Stutchbury, formerly curator of the Bristol Museum, who departed for Sydney in September, 1850.
In January 1851, Mr. E. H. Hargraves, a poor but shrewd adventurer returned from California to Sydney, and although unsuccessful in his search for gold in the valley of the Sacramento, had earned there much valuable information, and was so struck by the great similarity between the geological structure and general aspect of the Californian gold districts, and the mountain regions in the vicinity of Bathurst, over which he had travelled sixteen years previously, that he determined without