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TH E

GOLD FIELDS

OF

VICTORIA

IN

1863.

MELBOURNE :

j WILSON & MACKINNON, 78, COLLINS STREET EAST. G. ROBERTSON, ELIZABETH STREET.

SANDS & McDOUGALL, COLLINS STREET WEST.

December, 18G2.





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P R E FACE.

Lv the winter of 1862—full ten years after the discovery of gold in Victoria—it was considered advisable that an inquiry into the state of the gold-fields should be instituted. Two questions were then occupying a consider- • ► able share of public attention in the colony. The first was whether the older fields were showing signs of exhaustion ; and the second was the social condition of the miners engaged upon them.

The proprietors of The Argus determined to despatch a member of their staff, during the Parliamentary recess, to make the necessary inquiries; and the subsequent appointment of a Koyal Commission, for the same purposes, proved that the importance of the inquiry had also impressed itself on the Government. The report of the Commissioners has not yet been published.

The letters which follow contain the results of the writer’s observations. They appeared iu The Argus during the months of August, September, and October,

jv    PREFACE.

1862. They were received with favour by the mining community, as containing a faithful exposition of the state and resources of the gold-fields, and the condition and prospects of the miners. A wish was generally expressed that the letters should be republished in a permanent form, more especially for circulation in England, as offering the latest reliable information on the subjects on which they treat. In deference to that wish, and by the kindly accorded permission of the proprietors of The Argus, they are now offered to the . public.

Melbourne, December 26, 1862.

CONTENTS.-

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Chapter I.

noi

Introductory . '.........1

Chapter II.

The Rich Quartz Keefs of Inglewood ....    8

_    ■    . / Chapter III.

The Antimony Mines of MTvor.....28

Chapter IV.

Tarnagulla and Poverty Reef    .    .    ;    .    .    32

Chapter V.

The Silver Mines of St. Arnaud    .    .    ..    .    .    43

Chapter VI.

Bendigo (or Sandhurst).......5S    •

Chapter VII.

Bendigo (continued)........71

Chapter VIII.

The Whipstick........87

Chapter IX.

Maldon.—Public Quartz Companies, and the Causes of their Failure .    .....

Chapter X.

l’AGB

Maldon Mining Companies (continued) .    ...    107

Chapter XI.

Castlemaine..........118

Chapter XII.

The Chinese on the Gold-fields ....    130

Chapter XIII.

Dunolly.....'.....140

Chapter XIV.

Inkermann .    .    .    .•.....156

Chapter XV.

Ballarat ........    .    J02

Chapter XVI.

Ballarat (continued).......171

Chapter XVII.

Ballarat (concluded).......181

Chapter XVIII.

Maryborough............

Chapter XIX.

MTvor.....•.    .    .    .    .    205

Chapter XX.

Unvisited Gold-fields.....*.    . 214

Chapter XXI.

Bulla Bulla and its Kaolin ....    .    223

Chapter XXII.

PAOK

The Social Condition of the Miners.....282

Chapter XXIII.

Characteristics of Auriferous Quartz ....    248

Chapter XXIV.

Method of Extracting Gold from Quartz .    .    . 252

Chapter XXV.

Water-Supply for the Gold-fields.....264

Chapter XXVI.

Legislative Requirements of the Gold-fields    .    . 275 *

Chapter XXVII.

Legi slativc Requ i rements of the G old-fields (continued) 284 Chtpter XXVIII.

The Geological Maps of the Colony    ....    293

Chapter XXIX.

Minerals and Metals other than Gold    ....    302

Chapter XXX.

Mining and Miners.......- 312

. Chapter XXXI.

Conclusion.........323

THE

GOLD FIELDS OF VICTORIA.

Chapter I.

INTRODUCTORY.

The purposes for which I visited the gold-fields were fourfold. They were to ascertain from actual observation the condition of the miners; the position and prospects of existing mining companies, and the causes of the failure, of those that have disappeared from the share list; the opportunities for the employment of labour and capital which recent discoveries have opened up ; and what improvements in the existing laws affecting mining enterprise the experience of the last few years has suggested to those who are practically engaged in mining labours.

The time for this inquiry seemed to be specially opportune. Since the Royal Commissioners of 1856 visited the gold-fields, a vast change has come over mining operations in this colony. The older fields have become less productive, and where thousands of European miners six years ago were busy with tub and cradle, drawing fabulous sums from the soil, only a few fossickers are about, or a patient and plodding race of workers—the Chinese—contriving by hard labour and abstemious living, to obtain sustenance. Newer fields have been opened up in every direction, widening im-

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measurably the area of the known auriferous lands of the colony, and in their turn have yielded up their treasures, to be again abandoned for fresher scenes. To mining with tub and cradle, and puddling by horsepower, co-operative labour in extensive operations has succeeded in some districts, and on almost every field quartz raising and crushing on a large scale have superseded the primitive systems of six or eight years ago. The deep leads of Ballarat have been bottomed, the quartz lodes of Sandhurst and Maryborough have been followed to great depths. In the quartz mills, new processes have been introduced for saving gold, which have revolutionized the system, and reduced the cost of crushing from pounds to shillings. In other districts, new sources of investment and new branches of employment for labour have been opened up—such as the antimony mines of the MTvor district, and the silver quartz lodes of St. Aruaud and Crowlands. Extended areas, as regards mining claims, have been offered in every mining district to attract the miners ; licences to occupy land for residence and cultivation have been freely issued by Government; extensive commonages have been proclaimed for the use of the miners’ horses and dairy cattle; water-supply has been provided to ^ some extent; railways and roads have been opened up ; the remotest districts are easily accessible, as compared with six or eight years ago, to the purveyor of stores and the market-gardener ; and the Land Act and immigration regulations have, to a small extent at least, encouraged settlement. It was desirable to ascertain how far the social position of the miner had changed with these changes, for the better or the worse. Little was known ou this point by the general public. It was evident that “ the jewellers’ shops” of former days had long

ago been rifled of tbeir golden stores, and that the flats of Bendigo no longer offered such “ piles ” to the lucky - miner as were obtained, and spent, and got and wasted again, in the old days of that famous field. But it was also apparent that mining is followed more as a business than it was in earlier times, with more steady application, improved appliances, and under more favourable domestic arrangements. The number of miners has decreased. The yield of gold has also diminished, and retorted gold, the produce of machines, has largely supplanted alluvial gold in the market. Wages, for labour rendered to public companies or to small private capitalists, have largely taken the place of profits, small or great, from the exertions of the individual miner with his tub and his cradle. It was necessary that the extent of this change should be ascertained, seeing that in session after session, in Parliament itself, startling statements had been put forth by gold-(i elds members as to the earnings and circumstances of the miners—statements which, per force, were left without authoritative answer. These reasons induced the inquiry which forms the first object of my mission.

As to the second. Mining enterprise, so far {»Melbourne capital is concerned, was dead when this inquiry was commenced. The mania which took possession of the public some two or three years ago had produced its natural fruits. The bubble companies first went, and tlie losses in which they involved their victims produced disbelief in those genuiue speculations which were brought into existence about the same time. On every gold-field some Melbourne company planted its foot, and built its machinery, and then—impatient in expectations of profit—withdrew the supplies, suspended labour, sold oft’ for a tithe of their cost machinery and

claims which might have been made to contribute largely to the produce of gold and the profits of the shareholders. One after another, promising speculations had dropped out of the list of existing companies. Bolivias, Monte Christos, Reforms, Fortimas, Old Quartz Hills, and Eaglehawks, had melted away in rapid and ruinous succession. Chairmen and directors had vanished from the scene. Secretaries, whose most arduous task seemed to be the daily perambulation of Collins street, gloved in lemon-kid and spotless in attire, had transferred their talents to distant spheres. Of the brokers who crowded the share exchange a year before, only a few were left— the substantial men of their race—while scores had thrown a sea change between them and Melbourne. Their old familiar places in the long room of the Criterion, at the hour of lunch, know them no more. But though dead for the time, it was seen to be impossible that mining enterprise, in a colony so promising as Victoria, so rich in metals, and so abundant in unemployed capital, could long remain without showing symptoms of revival. Some stimulus in this direction was given by the great yields of gold obtained on Ballarat shortly before my inquiry began. The slow but certain progress of some of the Maldon companies, the extraordinary results obtained by the Ajax and other semi private adventures in mines where public companies had ignominiously failed, had given a breath of air to fan the slowly-reviving flame, to which the splendid promise of the netv fields about the Jordan appeared likely to give fresh life and vigour. But there seemed to be a danger that if the same causes were left to operate as they had done before, the same results would follow. New schemes, as gilded and as hollow as those disposed of in the past, would arise, to dazzle and to

burn those who were tempted by them ; stock-jobbing would displace legitimate investment, and that spirit of enterprise which, fairly exercisecLand turned into proper channels, might be productive of lasting benefit to the colony, would waste itself in vain labours, and leave mining, as a great colonial interest, in a worse position than it was before. For those reasons, it seemed desirable that the history of a few of the unsuccessful public companies should be investigated on the spot, and the causes of their failure ascertained, by way of warning and example, that if failure could be traced to removable causes better modes of management might be pointed out, and a life-like tone and system given to the operations of future mining ventures.

The third and fourth objects of my mission arise naturally out of the first and second. It was not asked nor required that I should deal with those difficult questions which engage the attention of scientific men, as to the origin and distribution of the precious metals, or that I should attempt to picture the order and succession of those vast convulsions of nature which have resulted in Victoria as we find it. The experience of some districts, however, as regards the yield of gold from quartz at various depths, and as to the forms and characteristics of the reefs themselves, is found to vary materially from that of other localities, and it seemed that my inquiries on these points might not be without their practical value. Nor was it necessary for my purposes that every gold-field in the colony should be visited and described. It was sufficient if it could be shown that even the older gold-fields are far from being in an exhausted state; that the newer fields are barely opened up; and that in every direction, turn where you will, vast tracks lie unexplored, in which, if surface indications are to be re-

garded, great treasures in gold and gold-bearing quartz are hidden. Year after year had seen the area rapidly extended, within whkh gold has been found. Westward, and towards the se% the deep leads of Ballarat and Smythesdale were being followed up ; and those who are best acquainted with those ancient watercourses entertain no doubt that in time to come they will be followed far through the great plains on which we are now settling a race of farming freeholders under the new Land Act. North-westward, the Pyrenees had been crossed, and quartz-reefs and alluvial fields had been traced into the plains of the Wimmera. Northwards, at St. Arnaud, Iiorong, and Inglewood, the mallee scrub had been invaded, and the march was still towards the Murray. Eastwards, and south-eastwards, we had seen the dividing range, and the whole wide expanse of Gipps Land, barely commenced upon as a gold-field—the richness of which.promises to rival (hat of Forest Creek and Kangaroo Flat in years gone by. Southwards, too, from Taradale—the old border of the quartz-bearing country— the leads of gold had been traced under the blue-stone (as at Ballarat) ; while Daylesford was drawing a population increasing in numbers and wealth to a district scarcely heard of a year ago as a gold-field. In every district of the colony, in short, it was believed, opportunities unexampled in other colonics existed for the em-' ployment of labour and capital in the development of our auriferous resources ; and it was anticipated that such a light might be thrown upon them by a special visit, and the opportunities for gathering information which personal intercourse with the mining population would present, as would draw the attention of the mining investor and prospector to untried fields, and stimulate the lagging efforts of the workers in some old

fields, by showing them the results of perhaps more persevering, or spirited, or better-directed labours in other localities. But there are other resources in Victorian mining than gold. Antimony, silver, tin, and iron, exist in abundance ; copper has been found ; lead and zinc have been spoken of; and valuable clays have been discovered on every hand. But none of those minerals (with the exception of tin) or clays have been developed to any commercial extent, considering the importance and richness of the deposits ; and it was anticipated that the attention they must receive from a special visitor, deputed to examine and report upon their peculiarities, would create fresh interest, in England as well as in the colony, in the field which Victoria presents for the labour of a largely-increased population, and the capital of a vastly-extended mining interest.

Inseparable from the question as to how the resources of the colony in minerals would best be developed, is the fourth object of my mission. From the first discovery of the gold-fields, the laws by which their working has been regulated have been undergoing modification. Large charges by the state for permission to dig for gold, and limited areas for the labour of the miner, fixed by local boards jealous lest too much of the mineral wealth of the land should be handed over to individuals, were originally the rule; but in both cases, the pressure of experience and public feeling has been felt. Legislation is promised for the amendment of the laws relating to the gold-fields, and it was considered important that the views of the miners on this subject should be made known. The drainage of reefs question, and that of leases of auriferous lands, have been dealt with ; but one of a still more difficult character—that of mining on pri- ' vate property—remains behind, and has acquired largely-

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increased interest of late, from the action of mining companies in buying up the freehold of the lands they mine upon, and from the extensive alienation of lands from the Crown which has followed the operations of the Land Act of the present year. On these questions, and on some of lesser importance—such as the constitution of the mining boards, the codification of the mining laws and bye-laws, the question of business licences, &c. —it was my duty to ascertain the views of practical men, and to place them before the public.

These, then, were the aims and objects of the mission on which I was sent forth by The Argus—the leading journal of Melbourne—and with this rapid prefatory explanation 1 pass on to the business with which 1 was entrusted.

Chapter II.

THE RICH QUARTZ REEFS OF INGLEWOOD.

We have heard a good deal from the other side of the Atlantic, of the rapidity with which townships have sprung up on the prairies of the “ Far West,” and doubtless the progress of settlement there has been extraordinarily rapid. But it is doubtful whether any New London or New Troy has sprung into existence west of the Mississippi with a rapidity equal to that which has marked the rise of some of the out-lying townships of Victoria. Of these, Inglewood may be taken as a sample, and the story of its rise and progress is full of encouragement to those who have made this colony their choice, as well as to those who, at home, look to our progress and prospects for temptation to cast in their fortune with ours. Three years ago a wilderness of

tnallee scrub—inhospitable, waterless, and repulsive to the traveller—we now see it a long line of street, full of substantial brick business premises, and cared for by a municipal council. In length it almost rivals “the lang toun o’ Kirkaldy.” Its hotels are surprisingly large and comfortable, offering to the traveller more than “the comforts o’ the Sautmarket.” The making and kerbing of its streets is in progress—its first rate has been collected, and its first account presents a balance on the right side. It has its newspaper. It has its reservoir —a work which promises to be useful, if it ever gets filled with water ; and it is the centre of a quartz reefing district, from which large results have already been obtained, and which hold out promise of a most hopeful kind to those who may have the courage to extend their searches further into the scrub, and to settle in the district of which Inglewood is the centre. That so much has been done in so brief a period, in the town and around it, is as surprising as it is gratifying.

Inglewood can be reached either by way of Bendigo, or through Tarnagulla, better known as Sandy Creek. From Sandhurst-the distance is some thirty miles, the road crossing the ranges on the west side of Bendigo Flat, and then making through the pretty farming district of Bullock Creek, across the long plains of the Loddon, Inglewood itself being some four or five miles from the river. The drive is interesting at all points. To Bullock Creek, the scenery is varied and charming ; and the green fields, which extend for miles along the watercourse, farmed for the most part by small freeholders who made their investments in the old and dear times of land, most pleasantly relieve the landscape from any approach to monotony. The Charlotte Plains are less picturesque, but the soil is everywhere of a red choco-

late, pleasing to the farmer’s eye, and the heavy timber with which they are covered, so fantastic in the forms it assumes, has a joy of quite another kind for eyes which seek beauty in colours and outlines. The Lod-don—here a large river, flowing impetuously in winter between high banks—is crossed by a bridge of a very rustic construction, on which no Government engineer has recorded his name, and which, I am sorry to note, disappears occasionally under the flood when the waters come down in strength, cutting off communication for the time. The main road from Melbourne to Inglewood, however, crosses the Loddon i igher up at Eddington, where anew and most serviceable bridge has been constructed, and passes by way of Jones’s Creek and Tarnagulla. From the last mentioned township, a distance of some fifteen or sixteen miles, the road passes through some small diggings, where a few miners, mostly Chinese, continue to earn a considerable amount of gold. That the district is still in its infancy as a mining locality, is' evident from the fact that miles of most likely country on both sides of the road lie unprospected, and that reefs which show the usual signs of being auriferous, are visible on the surface. That these “ made’’hills will yet be opened, and those reefs worked, there cannot be a doubt. But, indeed, I shall have the same remark to mukeof every district I have visited, the general impression made on my mind being, I may observe here, that of the gold-fields of Victoria only a tithe have as yet been opened, and of these perhaps not one worked but. The road from Tarnagulla to Inglewood lies over a level tract of country—a forest of box and peppermint—until the township is approached. Here some length of road has been fenced, and the heavy traffic passing over it in wet weather has converted it into a slough, over which in

winter it is scarcely in the power of bullock-flesh to draw a lightly-loaded dray, and in which coaches flounder and plunge about as if they were ships in a gale at sea, making slow and weary progress, trying to the bones and the temper of the traveller. A short run over a mile or so of made” road, and Inglewood is reached ; and here an instance of fine-drawing of the line is pointed out by the local authorities. The road-vote was taken in the Legislative Assembly for the road “ to Inglewood,”—not through it; and precisely at the boundary of the municipality the Government road ceases, and the traveller again plunges into a sea of mud, against which the municipal powers are at present waging a vain struggle, their funds—so far unsupplemented by the Government — having been exhausted in making footpaths which are a credit to the nursling town.

New Inglewood is situated almost on the boundary line where the malice scrub takes the place of box, peppermint, and gums. Old Inglewood (old by courtesy, because first settled) is situated some three miles or so further to the north. In October, not quite three years ago, a lead of gold was found in the alluvial, in a small gully known as Thompson’s, since ascertained to have been fed by the Welcome Reef A rush followed, and “ Old” Inglewood was the result. The lead was somewhat rich, but was soon exhausted. Some of the men who had helped to rifle it, wandering through the scrub in search of another field, suddenly found themselves in the vicinity of a few white tents, half hidden in the whipstick, and going up to them, found a party of diggers hard at work on another lead of gold, the existence of which had been for a considerable while carefully concealed. This was the famous Inglewood Lead, and within a few days after this accidental

discovery of those white tents, Old Inglewood was deserted, and New Inglewood was formed. The rush that ensued was a very large one, and the number of holes that were sunk, and the heaps of earth and clay that cover the plain along the course of the lead, show that -a large population was at one time engaged upon it. Water had to be procured from the distant Loddon, or wash-dirt had to be carted across the plain to the banks of the river, to be there “ cradled” or “ tommed.” But in spite of this drawback, large returns were obtained, until the lead ran at last into deep ground, as it headed towards the Loddon, and the water proved too heavy to be overcome by the appliances at the command of the miner. But it was early ascertained that the district abounded in quartz, and prospecting was diligently carried on. 'The wealth obtained in the alluvial was largely employed in this direction. In the meantime, too, New Inglewood had assumed the character of a substantial township, and thrown aside the mere canvas air of a rush. Crushing machines began to make their appearance ; and as the alluvial became more and more exhausted, in happy contrast to the feeling shown in some other localities, confidence seemed to be thoroughly established between the prospectors and the business men. At one time, almost every man, woman, and child in Inglewood was interested in the search for quartz reefs. .If a digger could show a reasonable claim for assistance in following up a quartz prospect, he found no difficulty in obtaining it. I am assured that for a long period as large a sum as £2,000 a-week was spent in the district in assisting prospectors. The result of this mutual confidence and faith in the resources of the locality has been the discovery of reefs as golden as any that had previously been found in the

colony, and as promising in abundance of stone. My time did not admit of my visiting all the reefs that have been discovered ; nor was it necessary for my purposes that I should make a pilgrimage north, east, south, and west; but, thanks to the kind attention of the local authorities, who placed every facility for obtaining in-' formation in their power at my command, I saw and learned enough in a few hours to assure me that it would be difficult to overrate the resources of the district, or to place a limit on the reasonable expectations that-may be entertained as to its future.

The most southern of the Inglewood reefs, so far as is known, is Buchanan’s Reef. It is situated about two miles from the township, on the eastern side of the road from Tarnagulla. On this reef the prospecting shaft is sunk 120 feet, and in No. 2 north to a depth of 240 feet. The main claims on the reef are the property of a small private company, consisting of eight shareholders, who are now erecting a large plant upon it. They have a lease of five acres, and they state that in sinking the shaft as much quartz was obtained without driving as gave a return of £4,000. Their quartz had averaged an ounce and a-half of gold to the ton. It has gone as high as five ounces, and as low as ten pennyweights. The reef, however, like most of the others north of Dunolly, is of great breadth, having been found to widen to from eight to sixteen feet of stone. It was carried down in the shaft, without a break, from a depth of seventy feet to 240 feet, at which water was struck. The underlie of the reef is not great, and it is to the west. The plant now being erected will enable operations to be resumed on a scale of considerable magnitude, and will give increased employment in a district where the existing rate of wages for miners ranges from £4 per week for

managers and experienced men, to £'3 per week for ordinary miners—one company only (the Gibraltar) paying a lower rate.

Northwards some five miles from Buchanan’s Reef, the more famous reefs of Inglewood arc found—the Columbian, the Inglewood, the Maxwell’s, and the Jersey. In the hollow between them are the Morning Star and other reefs, and the township itself stretches out its long length. The Columbian and the Inglewood reefs were discovered simultaneously, and the prospectors’ claims were registered on the same day, the 12th of December, 1850. The Maxwell’s followed soon after'; and the Jersey, which is the farthest towards the north-west, was last lighted upon. From the whole of these reefs magnificent stones have been obtained. The Columbian has given one of the richest yields from a small quantity of quartz ever reported—13,103 ounces of gold from 1,4711-tons of stone—and I may, therefore, speak of it first. The prospectors were a-*party of four—Messrs. Heron, Wheeler, Wright, and another. They had been long unsuccessful in the alluvial, and in crossing the country— about to abandon Inglewood in search of another scene of labour—they accidentally discovered a good specimen on the surface, with indications of a reef being near. They followed them up,but for many months their almost proverbial ill-fortune attended tin m. The quartz was poor, and they were about to abandon the workings, when a party of Germans, who had squatted within the prospecting claim, came upon a promising leader. The prospectors ejected the strangers, took possession of the leader, followed it up, and came upon a vast body or pocket of very rich quartz, from which came an immense cake of gold retorted at the Prince of Wales’ Company’s machine, at Tarnagulla, and valued at close upon

¿610,000. The pocket—as similar deposits of ironstone are called in Wales—was soon exhausted, but not before fortunes had been accumulated, sufficient to satisfy some members of the party, who sold out, and returned to their native land, not, as it had turned out, to settle, but only to rest till the recent discoveries in British Columbia tempted them forth to seek a new Columbia Reef on one or other of the tributaries of the Fraser River. This pocket of the reef thus emptied, the poorer quartz was worked down to the water-level, or a depth of 280 feet (the deepest in the district), and work has been suspended for a time, pending the new Drainage of Reefs Bill being brought into practical operation. The owners have full faith in their mine, and believe that they will yet trace their reef, as the Poverty Reef and the Nugetty Reef (Maldon) have been traced, from one •“ making” of stone to another; and they are proposing to erect pumping machinery, for the pmposc of following up the examination of their ground. The vi-itor, then, who seeks out the famous Columbian Reef .will find that the rich claim is idle for the time, but if he introduces himself to Mr. Aldridge, whose pretty cottage faces the reef, he will be shown specimens of golden quartz richer than anything Aladdin saw in the cave of the Genii of the Lamp.

Parallel with the reef I have just been describing, on the west or north-west, and at no great distance, is the Jersey Reef. From the prospecting claim, which is on the summit of a small rounded hill, a fine prospect is enjoyed. As the eye travels round, it is seen that mountains, more or less picturesque in outline, and distant, break the line of vision. All between and around is a mass of mallee and whipstick, in the shelter of which, that strange bird, the mallee hen, builds her

nest from year to year—tlie joint-stock property of a small community of hens. North-westwards, about eighteen miles distant, Mount Korong rises up, stately and alone. To the west, at a distance of some six miles, are the ranges amidst which Kingower is nestled—a locality famous for nuggets. Far to the south, over a forest country, towering and bounding the view, Mount Tar-rengower and Mount Alexander rear their bulky forms. On the east, the ranges above Bendigo are distinguishable at a distance of thirty miles, a long wooded plain lying between ; and to the north-east, a vast sea of mallee spreads itself out—to tempt, at some not distant day, the researches of some new Esmonds, some other Mechosk, or some fresh Dunlop1 Water, it is true, is wanting to complete the beauty of the scene; for even the lines of the Loddon, and the creeks which reach it from the mallee, are lost in the universal forest. But the township, white and pretty in the distance, lying on a back-ground of stately forest, gives life to the scene ; and the stranger is forced to the conclusion, when he dwells on the story of the mines under his feet, and finds no limit to the distance over which similar lodes may be traced, that he sees in the white township below him, the beginning of an important and attractive settlement.

The reef from which the view I have sketched is obtained, promises to be scarcely, if at all, less auriferous than the Columbian or the Maxwell’s. The prospectors by whom it was opened commenced their labours some two years ago. For twelve months past they have been getting gold, but the yields have become better as the shaft has been carried deeper. They took out a pros-

pecting claim of 180 feet of reef in January, 1800. Their shaft has been sunk to a depth of 160 feet, and three levels have been put in at 90 feet, 120 feet, and 160 feet respectively. In the first of these levels the reef was got, about two feet and a-half thick. A drive was put in northwards for seven feet, and the reef was again struck, but at this point it was ten feet thick. The stone was followed upwards to within fifty feet of the surface, and the average yield obtained from it was from three-quarters of an ounce to one ounce to the ton. In the 160 feet level, the reef has been found to widen to eleven or twelve feet. Here, however, as at Poverty Beef and Nuggetty Ileef (Maldon), the stone has been found, not in oneunbroken mass, butin separate “makings,” and—contrary to the general experience of Bendigo, but not opposed to that of Poverty Reef—the lowermost stone has been found to be the richest in gold. The two fortnightly crusliings preceding my visit, for example, gave the following splendid returns :—1st, 90 tons, produce, 484 ounces ; 2nd, 120 tons, yield, 581 ounces, or 1,065 ounces of gold, worth about ¿£4,200, for a fortnight’s work ! These “makings” were separated1 by slate and sandstone, twenty feet of which parted the first from the second body of quartz, and forty feet of it dividing the second from the third “making.” At Nuggetty Reef (Maldon) the separating bands were granite, the reef itself rising up in successive makings” through granite. The Jersey, like the other rich reefs of Inglewood, runs a few points to the west of north, and its underlie is to the east, about one in four. Like the others, also, the stone is not uniformly rich along the line of reef; but eleven claims are payable—that is to say, they give over an ounce to the ton. The stone itself is somewhat peculiar. That of the Colum-

bian Reef is very white, and that of Maxwell’s yellowish in hue ; but the Jersey stone is reddened, as if by fire, and the surface is vitrified. Through this reddened stone, and in the burned crust, the gold is found in bright yellow beads of the purest metal. No appreciable quantity of the baser metals is mixed with the quartz, and its appearance seems to indicate that the great heat which melted its surface and altered its hue and texture, drove the sulphur and iron out.

Also parallel with the Columbian, but on the eastern side, lies Maxwell’s Reef, the last of those in the Inglewood district which I shall describe, arid certainly one of the most remarkable in the colony. It was discovered by a singular chance. A party of Scotchmen, all natives of Dumfriesshire, were crossing the scrub—as the Columbian party had done,—about January, 1860, unsuccessful and dispirited, uncertain in what direction to turn their steps with a view to “ tucker, ’* better fortune discarded from their hopes for the time. Thus-wandering, and out of humour, one of the party stumbled over astone and fell. Recovering his feet, he struck the stone, by way of revenge, with a hammer he carried in his hand, and a lump of quartz flew out which was rich in gold. The party went no farther that day. They settled themselves to work, to unveil the lode thus forced upon their attention, and the result was the magnificent reef which they named Maxwell’s—probably after the spot not far from their native Dumfries, celebrated in song as the scene where the dew falls early, and where Annie Laurie, of the swan-like neck, plighted her troth to her poet. So bounteously did the blind goddess shower her favours on these fortunate Scotchmen for the small

s The colonial term for food, or a living.

mishap to the first prospector, that in a very brief space of time the five members of the party were enabled—so the story goes in the neighbourhood—to share some £24,000 amongst themselves, and to take ship for the Solway, to visit their friends on the banks of the Nith> leaving a party of equally cannie countrymen to keep watch and ward over, the produce of one of the most valuable reefing properties in all Victoria. In this prospecting claim the stone and mullock are taken bodily out from the surface. The reef is of great breadth at the top, and ata depth of 130ft. it measures twenty three feet five inches across. The surface stone, and that for a considerable depth, gave an average of an ounce and a-half to the ton—a great yield when tb^ mass of crush-able stuff is taken into account. At 130 ft. deep the average is three ounces to the ton. It may amuse the reader to calculate the immense wealth of this claim, taking it at 200ft. long, 23 ft. broad, and of unascertained depth, averaging two ounces and a-half to the ton all through. The result will be found to be something fabulous—an amount which of itself would make no inconsiderable pyramid to dazzle the eyes of visitors to the next Great Exhibition, and help them a bit in England to understand the opportunities this colony holds out to those who settle .within her borders.

Passing along the reef to the northwards, it is found . that twenty-six claims in all arc at work on Maxwell's Reef, eight of them having up to this time been proved payable, or worth an ounce to the ton. The reef is thus worked upon for about a mile. The hired men have their £3 per week. The claims of some of the lucky reefers gave such excellent specimens that they have been fenced in, so as to prevent trampers and loafers picking up a living by stealing from the heaps of stone lying

about such an “ unconsidered trifle” as an inch or two of quartz with an ounce or two of gold in it. Walking along the reef, I found that in No. 14 north—a claim remote from the prospectors’—the reef was found to be five feet thick at a depth of 226 feet. The reef had been got at 1G0 ft. from the surface, and followed continuously all the way down. At 250 ft. there was no water in the shaft. The yield from the quartz had varied from two to eight ounces to the ton, and twenty tons per week could be raised. From No. 13 the fortnightly yield of gold varied between 300 oz. and 400 oz., the stone being taken out at a depth of 150 ft., the reef averaging twelve feet in width, being got at eighty-five feet from the surface, and going down in a perpendicular line. In this claim, I was told, a fourth share had been sold for £1,200, and the fortunate purchaser had received £600 within three weeks afterwards as his share of the returns from the crushings. Six men, it was estimated, could raise twenty-five tons of this valuable quartz per week, and the stone was found to grow in gold as the reef was followed down. The top stone had given onfy from eight to ten pennyweights to the ton, while the last crushing before the period of my visit, from stone at the 150-feet level, had averaged five and a half ounces, and the stone I saw in course of removal from the mouth of the shaft to the crushing-mill was expected to give a higher yield. In No. 12 the stone was even better than in that adjacent to it on the north. The reef there was found at 120 ft. from the surface, and it was sixteen feet in width. The owners of the claim had only gone down ten feet farther, and had found the reef to widen in that distance to seventeen feet. The yield averaged five and a quarter ounces to the ton, the stone—like that of the Jersey—having lava associated

with it, and the gold, very fine in quality, running right through the quartz. From this claim, however, to the prospectors’, no quantity of gold had been found in the quartz, although the owners of the claims still persevere, in the hope that better prospects await them as they get deeper into the ground.2 Of this reef the casing in places is sandstone, and in the others red granite. From what I have written, I have no doubt the reader will agree with the owners of claims on this reef, that Maxwell’s is as yet the richest on Inglewood, and would be tempted—if envy were not forbidden—to covet an interest in a vein so valuable.

The length to which this sketch has extended prevents me from doing more than allude to the peculiarities of the many other reefs of the district, though some of them are well deserving of special notice. The Morning Star Reef, for example, has given excellent returns, in some instances twenty and twenty-five ounces to the ton, and offered generally a very fair average. The Bendigo, the March, and the Odin Reefs, are continuations, northwards, of the Morning Star. The Jersey Reef, already alluded to, has been traced for a distance of four miles. The Welcome Reef, to the north of Old Inglewood, has given an average of five ounces to the ton, and the average earnings of the three men in the prospecting claim are from £10 to £12 per week per man. From Buchanan’s Reef on the south, to the Welcome Reef on the north, and from the Jersey Reef on the west to Daly’s Reef on the east, a distance of five miles in one direction by two and a-half in the other, the ground has been proved to hold reefs in great numbers, which cannot be worked out for many years to

come, while all round about the land lies unprospected. It is true that the richest of the reefs seem to lie exactly north from the one equally rich reef of Tarnagulla (misnamed the Poverty), and it again seems to bear the same relation to the best reefs of Tarrengower and Campbell’s Creek. It may be to the northward, therefore, that future Maxwell’s, Jerseys, and Columbians arc to be looked for. But without this, Inglewood has already in her known resources a “ material guarantee” for her prosperity for a long length of days yet to come. I found the fullest confidence in the resources of the district on the part of those best acquainted with them, and a mutual reliance which seemed to augur well for the future. I found no distress, beyond that which must arise in every community from ills over which mortals have little or no control. There was no scarcity of employment, the demand for reefers, and the encouragement given by the merchants to prospectors, leaving no unemployed labour to be thrown upon the still unexhausted alluvial of the district; while the quartz has drawn the attention of local capitalists entirely away, for the time, from the possibility of following the old lead into the deep wet ground of the plains. I found a municipality, born only on the last day of 1861, taxing itself cheerfully at the rate of eighteenpence in the pound, and labouring in the formation of drains, culverts, footpaths, and streets ; and looking forward to an early supply of water for domestic purposes from a Government reservoir, which already supplies two crushing-mills, free of charge, and the tall embankment of which is the favourite promenade of the beauty and fashion of Inglewood on pleasant summer evenings. The trade of the town stemed to be sound. Foundries were springing into existence, and new industries of

various sorts preparing to develop themselves. I came to ihe conclusion that, if Inglewood was a fair sample of our new municipalities, and of what could be done in a couple of years to develope the resources of a district, its story was a good one to tell for the relief of those who are apt to despond as to the future of this colony.

CHAPTER III.

THE ANTIMONY MINES OF MTVOR.

Ten miles from Heathcote, in a north-easterly direction, at the foot of a lovely mountain of the MTvor range, to which the name of Mount Ida has been gujen, are found the antimony mines of MTvor. Lying m a distance from any of the main lines of inter-communication, the visitor to these mines must seek them specially, but they will reward his pains. Crossing MTvor Creek, and passing the old workings, where, in 1853, so large a body of miners were located, and where some S,000 Chinamen arc busy on a tributary of the old lead, the road skirts the foot of the ranges, over green, well-watered, and heavily-timbered plains, on which no trace of the digger—no mark of a pick or spade—is to be seen. Passing a small crushing plant in connexion with an extensive saw-mill, at which some of the richest goldbearing antimony has been reduced from Mr. Morris’s prospecting claim, and crossing at a distance of nine miles from Heathcote in a line of recently-opened workings, in the centre of which is the mine just alluded to, a glimpse is caught through the trees of the crushing-machine lately erected by Messrs. Youle, Coster, and Field. Their claim itself is soon reached through the

little township that has been called into existence, though it is as yet without a name, by the opening up of the antimony reefs. The story of these prospectors is soon told, and it happily illustrates what may happen to a man ” in a colony the resources of which are so extensive and so little developed. It had been known for nine years past, that an antimony reef existed on the station of Moorabie, at one time the property of Mr. J. H. Patterson. It was opened by a man named Doyle, and seven years ago specimens were sent to a mercantile firm of high standing in Melbourne. No gold, however, was seen in the antimony ; and as even the latest authorities do not mention that gold has ever before been discovered in combination with antimony, it is probable tha^no analyses of the specimens were made. At all events, the market for antimony was known to be limited, and the reef was abandoned, as a speculation that could not be worked to profit. Long afterwards, a firm in Melbourne, under pressure of a contract with Government, which there was no time to fulfil bv correspondence with England, crushed a quantity of the ore, and converted it into regulus. A shepherd on the station afterwards discovered, at some distance from the old workings, a reef of antimony in which gold could be seen, and he offered to point out the spot for a £ 10-note. The offer was accepted, and the reef now worked by Coster's party was shown to them. They opened the ground, found a reef within a foot of the surface, four feet broad, and within a few weeks afterwards they had proved the auriferous nature of the antimony Their next effort was to obtain machinery to reduce the ore, as quartz is crushed, for the sake of the gold in it. The purest antimony, or that in which no gold or quartz was seen, was picked out; and a market was found for it in Melbourne at

£5 10s. per ton on the ground. The quantity thus raised and sold enabled the party to purchase and erect a small high-pressure steam-engine, and a battery of six head of revolving stamps. Anticipating that the action of the antimony on’file quicksilver might unfavourably alfect its affinity for the gold, a special arrangement of copper plates and ripples was adopted. The crushing-box was so prepared, that the tailings” [crushed quartz] which, in the case of antimony reefs, are fine almost to the consistency of water itself, should issue in continuous streams through holes in the side of the box, and fall in little cataracts upon the copper plate below, on which the most of the gold is found. A number of ripples and copper plates follow, and at the end of all is a small amalgamating tub, in which the process of catching the gold by the action of the quicksilver is completed. So imperfect is the process, however, and so much is still to be learned as to the best method of separating gold from antimony, on a large scale, that the tailings when re-crushed have given a yield of two ounces to.tlie ton. Messrs. Youle, Coster, and Field— who, by the way, have named their property Costerfield—have gone on very quietly with the development of their mine since its fortunate discovery. No capital other than their own has been invited. Some splendid sain-p'es of the produce of the reef were sent to the Exhibition in Melbourne, and afterwards forwarded to the Victorian court in the great palace at Kensington Gore, but no effort has been made to draw the attention of speculative capitalists to the spot. Claims were marked out on each side of them for a considerable distance-along the line of reef, and in all of them the antimony has been got, though the gold has been found—as it is in most quartz-reefs—to be unequally distributed. While the

c

prospecting claim may be said to give three or four ounces to the ton, other claims have given as low, comparatively, as fifteen pennyweights—a return that has not been found to pay, when ti|p) high cost of carriage to the only mill in the district available to the public is taken into account. Messrs. Youle, Coster, and Field have prudently availed themselves of their position. They have added more and more ground to that originally held by them; and thus, at a total expenditure of £4,000 or £5,000, mostly drawn from the mine itself, they now find themselves in possession of a large extent of reef, a complete though small crashing plant, and a material so rich in gold—or, if poor in the precious metal, so excellent for export—that they have a splendid prospect before them. The mine, so far as it has been yet opened up, promises a yield of antimony that may be said to be unlimited. It has been traced from north to south for about three miles and a half, and has been found to vary in width from nine inches to eight feet, the ore increasing in richness in gold as the reef narrows —a peculiarity generally found in quartz-reefs. In%’os-ter’s prospecting claim, as already observed, the reef was found four feet broad within a few inches of the surface. It follows the general law of quartz-reefs, running north and south—almost true astronomical north—though, curiously enough, the quartz-reefs now worked in the same district have not observed the law with the same fidelity, as they lie considerably to west, with spurs running east and west. Unlike quartz, however, the antimony reefs consist of large blocks of metal piled upon each other like stones in a diy stone wall. At the first level, put in at a depth of fifty-five feet, Costerfield reef is found to be as broad as it is on the surface ; and at the water level, ninety feet,

scarcely any increase is observed. The reef is nearly perpendicular, with a slight underlie to the east. The casing is sandstone, with a seam of greasy clay on the east. On the western side the reef is mixed to some extent with quartz, and here the gold is found most to abound. On the eastern face the antimony is purer; but a sample of the purest quality, in which no gold could be seen with the unassisted eye, and passed once only through a common crushing-mill, has given as much as eighteen pennyweights to the ton. So far as the mine has yet been worked, the reef has been found to increase in richness as it is followed downwards.

About a mile and a-half from Costeriield is Kelburn Reef, on which Mr. .Morris (of Largs, Ayrshire) has a prospecting claim, and along which numerous claims, more or less valuable, have been taken up. This reef was discovered in a manner which deserves to be told, as it offers at once a happy instance of perseverance rewarded, and of that of impatience of results ending in loss of brilliant prospects, which has so often been shown by mining adventurers both in and out of Melbourne. Stimulated by the successes at Costerfield, Mr. Morris, who has long occupied a prominent position in the neighbouring township of Heathcote, was tempted to prospect the locality for the discovery of another reef, and he induced a well-known Melbourne firm to take part with him. The plan adopted was exceedingly simple. The ground offered no surface indications, such as quartz reefs present, of the presence of a rich lode, and its outline was equally unpromising. A trench, therefore, was commenced, and cut along the flat to a depth of three feet, in the hope that the cap of a reef would be struck, as the men engaged gradually increased the length of the cutting. Slowly the long line of trench was ex-

tended, and. week after week passed over with no results beyond the expenditure of so much wages. Months elapsed, and some three or four hundreds of pounds had been expended, when the Melbourne firm waxed hot with impatience, and cut short the supplies. Mr. Morris, however, persevered, and had become so sanguine of success that lie bought the interest of his partners in the venture, returning them their outlay, and adding a small bonus. Within a month afterwards the adventure was crowned with success. The spur of a reef was touched in the bottom of the trench, three feet from the surface. It was only half an inch broad, but was singularly rich in gold. The vein has since been followed to a depth of sixty-eight feet, and has been found to widen to a breadth of eight inches. The average yield of gold from it has been eight ounces to the ton. The first crushing repaid Mr. Morris his entire outlay, and within six months from the time when the first sod was cut, his profit from his mine exceeded £3,000. In the claim next to that of the prospector, the reef is found to widen to three feet. What a chance the Melbourne firm threw away !

Hitherto, the antimony mines have been worked entirely for the gold contained in the ore. The apparatus for crushing it is the same as that in use in the quartz mills, and the process of amalgamation is not different. The antimony richest in gold is thus reduced to a fluid state, and is utterly wasted. The reef which contains no gold is left unworked, and that portion of the ore from the Costerfield mine which contains the largest per centage of antimony is sent to England. As the visitor approaches the mill, and crosses the several streams of water flowing from the tailings-pit, their bluish colour and peculiar odour attract his attention, and he is soon

conscious that the water before him is loaded with a material that it might be very desirable to save. The ore is so fine that such of it as is taken from the eastern side of the reef is found to contain from seventy-five to ninety per cent, of pure antimony. In colour it is a whitish blue, with a silvery appearance. The gold exists not merely in the quartz or casing mixed with or adhering to the sulphuret, but is diffused throughout the antimony itself. So far as I can discover, in no other quarter of the world has gold and antimony been found in combination. It is described as occurring as sulphuret, and as double sulphuret of antimony and silver, and also as a triple sulphuret of lead, copper, and antimony. But though none of the authorities I have consulted speak of it as existing in combination with gold, Dr. Ure says of it :—“ The alchemists had conceived the most brilliant hopes of this metal ; the facility with which it is alloyed with gold, since its fumes alone render this most ductile metal immediately brittle, led them to assign to it a royal lineage, and distinguish it by the title of regulus, or the little king.” The question arises, whether in thus wasting the antimony for the sake of the gold, the wisest thing possible in the circumstances is done, and whether the ingenious amongst the colonists cannot provide for a matter which has not received attention elsewhere, because nowhere else has the same necessity arisen. Cannot both gold and antimony be saved'? Lead is obtained in Hanover and Scotland from very poor ores, after reduction, by a system of separation by gravitation, in water-boxes. Some such plan may ultimately come to be adopted with advantage in the MHvor mines.

But antimony is found somewhat widely diffused overthe colony, though only at MTvor has its combination with

gold been as yet determined. It is known to exist in considerable quantities in the neighbourhood of King Parrot Creek. Specimens from the neighbourhood of Whroo have been sent to Melbourne for analysis. In these samples, I am informed, something like gold may be detected by the eye. I have before me a sample of antimony from the district of Tarrengower. It is less brilliantly silvery in appearance than the finest of the MTvor ore ; but it is very heavy, and it may probably be found, on analysis, to contain silver.

The next question that presents itself is as to the uses of antimony, and the value of the ore in the market. Hitherto the supplies have been limited, and the ore obtained, in the form of a sulphuret, seems to have been impurity itself contrasted with that which the mines now being opened up are likely to furnish for all time to come. It is mainly used as an alloy with other metals, and is described as valuable for that purpose. It is added to gold to give variety of colour in ornamental work, to bell-metal to improve the sound, and with lead and tin in type-metal. Its tenacity (says M'Culloch) is such that a rod of one-tenth of an inch in diameter will sustain a weight of ten pounds. It is used in the making of concave mirrors, and in the casting of cannon-balls. It is of value in the preparation of medicine and pigments. It produces ti black dye, used in the east for darkening the eyebrows of pretty women, and the Chinese are said to extract from it a brilliant crimson, of which they alone have the secret. It is in its adaptability to form valuable alloys, however, that the true commercial value of antimony lies, and there is reason to believe that the scarcity of good ore in the English market is the only reason why antimony has not entered extensively into the manufactures of Sheffield

and Birmingham That the ore of this colony is* pure beyond all precedent, and abundant beyond all example, we are beginning to learn. Where else can ore yielding ninety per cent, of pure antimony be obtained 1 Where else has it been found, not in isolated patches or pockets, but in a great wall of metal, rising up through the earth to the surface, traceable for miles, and in places at least eight feet thick 1 A supply of this ore for the English market, in quantity only measurable by the demand,, must immediately create for itself a market, if it can be offered at a price. Lead is worth £20 per ton in the English market; antimony is not quoted in the list of the prices of metals. But were antimony supplied in large quantities, and the manufacturers of plated-warc, sheathing for ships, and other articles in which lead and zinc are used as alloys, could depend upon as regular a supply of the material as they can on that of lead, we should see it entering largely into use in manufactures. The present, of all times, seems to be that, too, in which the discovery of these reefs is most opportune. The importance of antimony in toughening metals, is well known, and for this purpose it is said to have been lately used in the manufacture of ordnance—in the Armstrong guns to wit. It will be equally valuable in strengthening iron plates for naval purposes; and in this branch of modern industry alone there seems likely to be an unlimited demand for such stores of antimony as Victoria can supply. Add to the first cost of raising the ore, the price of transmitting it from M'lvor to Melbourne, the freight for the long voyage home, and all the charges incidental to the supply of the market, and still the ore can be sent home at a price which will command for it attention in the market. It is for these reasons that 1

regard the discovery of the antimony mines as peculiarly interesting and important—interesting to science, and important to commerce and the colony. The mines are beginning to receive attention, and various private individuals and public companies are preparing for operations in connexion with them on a considerable scale. Let the mines be worked for the antimony as much as for the gold, and a new field of labour, of great value, will at once be opened up.

Chapter IV.

TARNAGULLA AND POVERTY REEF.

Between Inglewood and Dunolly, and ten miles frotn the latter, lies Sandy Creek or Tarnagulla, and the famous Poverty Beef, singularly misnamed. Between the two townships the road traverses scenery of the most pleasing description, and passes through diggings more or less worked, and still affording occasional harvests of nuggets to the fossickers in old holes. The first of those fields is the old Dunolly Lead, near the township, and once the scene of an immense rush, but now abandoned to a few Chinamen. The next through which the traveller passes, after passing Milkmaid’s Flat, is Jones’s Creek, a pretty hollow, amid rounded hills, heavily timbered. As I traversed this gully on a previous occasion, one of those lucky scrapers in abandoned claims was pointed out to me at the door of an inn as “a shocking example” of the good-natured imprudence and reckless indulgence which were so often shown by lucky diggers in the early days of mining. IIo was a poor widower, living with two small children, in a wretched

little tent among the old holes on the side of the creek, Three weeks before I saw him, he had lighted upon a nugget worth upwards of £50. As soon as he was in possession of his prize, he made his way to a not distant place of entertainment, and I saw him as he left it for the first time afterwards, to return to his tent, dirty, ragged, half-drunk, and half-mad, and without a penny left. Of what had become of his children in the meantime—as to how they had fed and fared through the charity of his neighbours—he had never inquired, and their case must have been pitiful. The incident came back to my memory with the scene. Crossing the creek by a substantial bridge, recently erected, the road winds through the forest, over a ridge of some elevation, from the top of which a pretty view is obtained, Mounts Bealibi and Moliagul, to the left, towering over the woods. Travelling in Australia—in fine weather, and when the roads are tolerable—has often been likened to driving through some nobleman’s park in the old country. The splendour of the woods here, the absence of undergrowth, and the abundance of grass, all favour the comparison, and as the sun shone brilliantly when I made this journey, on one of the few fine days of pleasant wintry sunshine which I enjoyed during my ramble over the gold-fields, I could almost imagine myself again in Tredegar park, or once more in the woods of Llanwern, with box and stringy-bark for oaks and ashes, Mount Moliagul for the picturesque ridge over above old Cacr-leon-on-Usk where Arthur held his court, and Bealibi to represent the Twin Ballum of Monmouthshire.

About a mile from Tarnagulla the reefing begins. The road follows the workings, claim upon claim extending in a line towards the north, and the number of whims and the quantity of waste stuff around the shafts, show c 2

that the workings are of some depth and importance. This is the Great Western Beef, a continuation, it is supposed by some, of Poverty Reef. The village, as I might call it if it were in England, spreads itself along the line of the reef, and although it has not coped with Inglewood in the rapidity of its progress, its buildings are, generally speaking, of a substantial character. There are' large and well-filled stores, tolerably comfortable hotels, and handsome bank premises. Various private residences are springing up in the midst of gardens, showing that permanent settlement in the locality is contemplated by the owners.

Although the district around Tarnagulla contains numerous reefs, such as the Phantom, the Sabbath, the Growler's, the Watts’, the Jim Crow, the Stubbs’, the Victoria, the Needful, the London—and some of them are of considerable importance, such as the Great Western —Poverty Reef is that which, above them all, claims attention, as probably the richest in the world, notwithstanding its name. It was first prospected some seven years ago by Mr. King, Mr. Hammond, and others, who are still the fortunate owners of claims on it. These gentlemen had been reefing previously in the Maldon district, without any remarkable success having attended their exertions. While so engaged, they were informed by a blackfellow, an African, that in crossing from Bendigo he had found on the surface better specimens than those the party were then obtaining, and he offered to show them the locality. A prospecting party was formed immediately. They were led to the spot by the blackfellow, and Poverty Reef—so misnamed in the humour of the moment, with reference probably to the circumstances of its finders—was the magnificent result.

“ King’s claim,’’ as it is called, was the prospecting *

claim, and the first taken out. Though only twenty-five feet and a-half in length along the line of reef, it is still worked by its original owner, and, with the help of another claim on the same reef, has produced him a fortune such as few men possess. The claims on this reef are so few, but so valuable, that I may enumerate them. First, on the south end, is the Poverty Reef Company, whose operations are at present confined to drainage. They own some 700 yards or more of ground, in which they have sunk a shaft to the depth of 424 feet. Running northwards are claims Nos. 5, 4, 3, and 2, each of which embraces eighty-five feet of reef No. 1, south, measures only forty-two and a-half feet. Next to it is Mr. King’s prospecting claim, twenty-five and a-half feet; then Mr. Hammond’s, No. 1, north, measuring thirty-one feet; Messrs. Hatt and Co., No. 2, north, forty-two feet; Messrs. Summers and Co., No. 3, forty-seven feet; Messrs. King and Hammond’s, No. 4, of eighty-five feet; Mr. Baker’s, No. 5, only nine feet six inches; in No. 6, north, are Messrs. Beynon and Co.— genuine, hearty, hospitable Welshmen—who own eighty-five feet of the reef; No. 7, the New Chum Claim (Messrs. Williams and Chcetham), who also have eighty-five feet; and lastly, on the extreme northern end, No. 8, or the amalgamated claims known as the Prince of Wales Company. In these united claims there is 255 feet of ground, but the company has not yet got payable stone, though they have sunk to the depth of 470 feet. By the pumping necessary in this claim, assisting the company’s operations at the south end, the entire workings of the reef are kept free from water, and thus, small as the claims are, they can be followed to a great depth. In one—the New Chum, for instance— the shaft has been carried down 350 feet; and in others

—that of Mr. Hammond to wit—to a depth of about 400 feet. I indulged myself with a visit to the deep workings in this claim ; and though its smallness, and , the consequent absence of drives to any extent, left little to be described, the trouble of the journey below was well repaid by the sight of the immensely broad and rich portion of the reef in which the workings are now carried on. A new perpendicular shaft has been sunk to the depth I have already named, and access to the mine is obtained by means of a ladder, fixed to the side. The stone is raised in hide buckets by means of a horse whim, and in the old shaft, constructed at an angle, there is no machinery by which cither miner or visitor can be saved the fatigue of a scramble down and up the ladders. Not feeling quite certain how far a passage down some 500 or 600 rounds of a perpendicular ladder, with not too much room for toes unaccustomed to such a getting down stairs, might allect my legs and arms, I chose the safer hut somewhat less comfortable passage by the older shaft. Armed with candles, and my guide (the obliging manager) having opened a trap-door on the surface, revealing a dark hole traversed by ladders, we commenced the descent to examine the golden treasures below. Dark, wet, and slippery the shaft proved for some 150 feet, the passage occasionally so narrow that a man of fourteen stone could barely push himself through, while the strange noise of the ascending buckets of quartz gliding up the sloping shaft, on the side of which they rest, passing in the dark close by the car of the invader of mining mysteries, added to the novelty of the thing. Having, however, had some previous experience in shafts, I had no “new chum ” apprehensions to add to the discomforts of the trip underground. The real difficulty of the passage occurred at the depth I

have mentioned, where the sides of the mine had at one time caved in, and threatened its ruin, and where timbering of the most massive kind had to be resorted to, to keep the walls asunder. Here it became necessary to descend from log to log, and cross an uncovered platform, into old workings, with the pleasure of gazing down into thick darkness, unmeasurable by the feeble light of the candles we carried. Crossing this bridge of Mirza, and crawling through some old drives, the new shaft was reached, and by it the remainder of the descent was made. Here I found the men in an immense chamber, excavated in the quartz, the reef at this depth . being 23 ¿ft. broad, and showing a tendency to widen. Of the value of the claim some estimate may be formed when it is stated that the stone taken from this breadth of reef gives from five to seven ounces to the ton. In this great mass of stone it was not difficult to knock out specimens containing gold, and as the blasting went on, golden stone was being constantly raised. The smallness of the claims has led to one being worked into the other, and it was thus possible to follow the reef for some distance, climbing over walls of quartz, each in itself worth a Jew’s eye, and descending again into lesser chambers, as the progress of the miners in excavating the different claims varied. Every now and then, indeed, there was a cry of “ Fire,” and a rush from one claim into another, and into the shelter afforded by projecting masses of stone from the flying fragments thrown about, as blasts went off in succession, making the huge cavern resound from end to end, as if with the boom of cannon. Leaving this chamber, and following a still lower drive from the bottom of the shaft, I found a couple of miners following up what was supposed to be a fresh “ making ’’ of the reef, probably to eclipse in

richness that which I had just seen. Having thus inspected all that the claim presented, and having been about 400 feet into the bowels of the earth, I was not sorry to essay a return towards the speck of light high overhead. The perpendicular ladder, however, was too much for me, and I was glad at the first opportunity, to dive into the old workings, and climb again to mother earth, over the logs and by the sloping ladders, wet and slippery though they ivere, where a breather could be taken at intervals.

Poverty lleef, I have already remarked, is believed to be the richest in the colony. It runs north and south,

' a few' points west of north, and dips heavily to the south. It is almost perpendicular, with walls of slate. It is found, however, not in one continuous mass of stone, but in separate bodies, all having an underlie, and separated by masses of slate, but the one almost exactly under the other, like birds’ eggs obliquely threaded on a string. In the prospecting claim, a mass of sandstone, sixty-one feet thick, was passed through ; then a body of quartz was got, seventy-five feet thick, a thin band of slate separated that “making” of quartz from the one beneath it, and so on. Three distinct masses of quartz have been discovered, and the cap of a fourth has been reached. On the top the reef was from seven to eight feet broad; at 320 feet deep it is twenty-three and a half feet thick. In Messrs. King and Hammond’s claim the average width is twenty-two feet. Crystals of quartz abounded on the cap of the reef, and a few specimens of lava have been picked up in the refuse of the stone. In claim No. 1 south, six men can take out about seventy tons a week, at a depth of 310 feet, the average yield of which is from three ounces to four ounces. Stone taken at a depth of 400

feet lias given forty ounces to the ton. In Hammond, King, and Co.’s claim golden stone has been carried down from the surface, and the reef has been found to grow richer as it is followed down and widens. This is contrary to experience on Bendigo and elsewhere, but without doubt it is the fact as regards Poverty Beef. The stone has a peculiar greenish hue, from the quantity of arsenical and other pyrites it contains, which have to be driven off in kilns before the stone is crushed ; and, unlike the new reefs in the Whipstick, where the gold is in the west face, the gold is found in greatest abundance in the stone taken from the eastern side of the reef. Poverty, however, is not equally rich throughout. I saw on it a large kiln of quartz, the gold in which was calculated to be worth £30,000. Looking at some of the outside stone, as I strolled past, I saw some fine specimens ; and as the best are always placed in the centre, I could readily believe that the estimate would be realized. Near at hand was a kiln of burned stone, in progress of being carted to the mill, and every other stone picked up out of it showed gold. The owner of these kilns was Mr. King, who crushes his quartz at his own mill, lie has made a gigantic fortune out of his claims. If I were to follow the example of Captain Hall, who, in his narrative of a voyage in eastern waters, deducted some thirty per cent, from the length of the monsters he described, that his account might have a chance of belief in England, and if 1 were to strike fifty per cent, from the sum named to me as obtained by this fortunate miner from Poverty Ileef, I should still leave the figure almost fabulously large for the short number of years in which the sum has been accumulated. A singular proof of the value set upon claims about the centre of the reef was presented in the course

of a trial that took place in the Court of Mines at Dunolly whilst I was at Sandy Creek. The action involved the possession of a portion of a claim, only nine feet and a half square within the “walls” which miners are required to leave between claims. When Mr. King’s and the other claims first taken out were measured, the by-laws only allowed some forty-five feet for each. In two of them, however, the measurement had been loosely made—one obtained some fifty-two, and the other some forty-eight feet. The shafts in both went down, and nothing was said respecting this extra ground. But when golden stone was reached, and it was ascertained that the reef was surpassingly rich, one of the miners who had been present at the measurement “jumped” the extra space. In this claim, of nine feet and a half in length, he boldly sank a shaft some 320 feet deep, found the rich stone, and soon obtained some ¿£5,000 worth of gold out of it. In doing so, he had cut down a portion of the walls on both sides, until he had extended his claim for a length of twelve feet, and so encroached on the neighbouring claims ; hence the action, for the recovery of the gold from the stone so taken. It may be added that a large sum was offered by the proprietors of the adjacent claims for this rich though remarkably small mine. At a distance of two claims from the north end of the reef, gold has; so far, not been found in the stone, though it is still being prospected for ; nor has it been publicly announced that the reef has been struck in the company’s ground at the south end. That company was originally formed to prospect for the reef, and their efforts have been perseveringly devoted to that end. Their shares, like others, have fallen prodigiously in the market, but there is some reason to believe that the reef is now within reach, and

that the prospects originally held out by its projectors will yet be realised.

The experience of some of the reefers of Poverty Beef may be quoted as showing how near a party may be, in this employment, to fortune, and yet may miss it, and abandon that as worthless which in reality is very valuable. Davis and party in going down for the second block of stone, missed the reef, having passed within a few inches of it, and sunk for seventy feet without finding stone. They then drove, and, in doing so, came on the bottom of the lode in the top of their drive. A few inches lower, and they would have passed it as hopelessly as they did in the shaft. Fortune, however, a3 she usually does, favoured the persevering, for the block of quartz thus found has been rich in the precious metal.

Some novelties in the treatment of quartz are to he seen in this district. The first of these is an amalgamator, in use at Mr. King’s mill, partly the invention of an ingenious working engineer, named LaidTaw, improved upon by Mr. King from experience obtained in California. It has since been perfected by Mr. Laidlaw, at the Prince of Wales Company’s machine. It consists of a double basin, to which an action is given by machinery attached to the motive power of the mill, precisely similar to that which the miner communicates to his pan in washing off. The tailings are run into it from the Chilian mills, and there thoroughly shaken up with the quicksilveritcontains. Its operation is favourably reported upon by Mr. B. G. Davies, of the Prince of Wales Company. Perhaps a still more interesting invention by Mr. Laid-law, however, is a tailings pump, for which he has taken °ut a patent. It is in successful operation at the mills of Mr. King and Mr. Hammond.

The tailings from the Chilian mill are run into a small sunk well, into which the pump is set. They are sucked up by it, and discharged at a considerable elevation, into a trough or shoot, down which they gravitate for a long distance to the place of discharge, the water finding its way back to the dam almost pure. This pump is worked at a trifling expense, and is estimated to save the labour of three men in the tailings pit. I was sorry to be informed that the reward of the ingenious inventor had not been worthy of an affluent employer, to whom a large service had been rendered. Another amalgamating apparatus—a shaking-table, by Porter, of Italian Gully—is to be seen at the Prince of Wales mill, and is also said to be efficient, though less so than Laidlaw’s invention. It was at this mill, I may remark, that the rich crushing from the Columbian Reef quartz, alluded to in a previous chapter, was obtained. Chilian wheels alone are employed. Three sets are used, the largest of which weighs five and a half tons each wheel. They crush eight tons per day of twenty-four hours. Of course, a larger price is charged per ton than is obtained where stamps are used, but the stuff is crushed as fine as flour, and it is probable that the per centage of gold which escapes is infinitessimal.

I have already alluded in general terms to some of the other reefs of Sandy Creek district. One public company only, so far as I am aware, has been organised in it—that of Specimen Hill; and though the reef is understood to be a good one, it is curious that the company, like others, failed to do any good. It had the advantage of local experience and direction, but my time did not permit of my inquiring into the causes of its failure. Another semi private company was attempted—that of the Greeks on Corfu Reef, Corfu Gully—but they, too,

signally failed. They had a splendid reef, and less than two years ago I saw them erecting a fine plant, at a cost of some thousands of pounds. Greek sailors, however, have a certain well-known character in every port they visit, and the idiosyncracy to which it points was developed by the successes they achieved. Mutual distrust arose, insubordination followed, carelessness supervened, and finally the auctioneer stepped in. The plant was sold to Buchanan’s Reef Company, at Inglewood, and the mine itself was picked up under the hammer for an old song. That the district has still to be prospected in many parts, and has wealth to offer, I may give this passing proof of, that from a new reef, named the Acadia, ten miles west of the township, 195 oz. of gold were got from 3 cwt. of stone, only a few days previous to my visit to Tarnagulla.    •.

Chapter V.

THE SILVER MINES OF ST. ARNAUD.

The presence of silver in the auriferous quartz obtained in some districts of Victoria has long been known. Samples from Reedy Creek were analyzed and reported upon some years ago. More recently, attention has been drawn to the circumstance that the quartz of the Pyrenees ranges contains a large per centage of this metal, especially the Glendhu Reef at Crowlands. It is at St. Arnaud, however, situated at the extreme northern end of the Pyrenees, that silver is found developed in quartz in extraordinary quantities, and under circumstances of a novel character in mineralogy. New Bendigo, as this digging was originally named, was first opened as an

alluvial gold-field in February, 1856, and in a few months afterwards its first quartz-reef, known as The Gap, was struck. It derived its name from the resemblance the district bore to old Bendigo, and from the hopes of its prospectors that it would excell in richness that famous field. There has been no second rush to it. Its temptations, however, have been sufficient to retain a considerable population, and to their spirit and enterprise the colony owes the pretty township, situated some two miles nearer Melbourne than New Bendigo, which Captain Clarke named St. Arnaud, in honour of the renowned Marshal who commanded the forces of our French allies in the Crimea. He gave the name of Raglan, at the same time, to a new township at the southern end of the. Pyrenees, in remembrance of the British hero of the Alma. St. Arnaud is beautifully situated, at the foot of The Gap, under the shelter of Wilson’s hill, on the banks of a creek which in winter is at times formidable enough, though in summer want of water is the main grievance of the inhabitants. As seen in the rains of winter, when the face of the land is green and pleasant, and the bloom of the trees is fresh, the township has all the appearance of a thriving English hamlet. Prominent on a green mound is a substantial brick building, erected ata cost of ¿500, as a school-room on week-days, and a church or chapel on Sundays. Here the average daily attendance of children is from ninety to ninety-five, and in all the arrangements of the school the principles of the Common Schools Bill may be said to have been anticipated. It speaks well for the people, also, that they have been able so to arrange matters that on days of worship the schoolroom is occupied in turn by the various religious bodies in the community— Episcopalian, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, &c. Two

large and well-furnished inns, a bank, a Wesleyan chapel, and several abundantly provided stores, are among the main buildings of which the township can boast. Though only erected a municipality in Septemberlast, the assistance afforded by Government, added to a rate of a shilling in the pound (producing .£450), has enabled numerous improvements inroad-making and bridge building to be carried out; and as theroad board has been equally active, more has been done in this district in elearing roads and building bridges over creeks than I was at all prepared to see—enough, indeed, to shame the powers thathave control of these matters in other localities where ten times the necessity for good roads and bridges is felt. Ten miles of road have been cleared on one side of the township, and six on the other, by the municipality, and thirty-two miles by the road board. The jurisdiction of St. A maud road board, I may remark, extends over not less than 3,9' 0 square miles ; said to be the largest area included within one working district. The distinction between working and non-working districts—such as Horsham, where the settlers have formed themselves into a road board for the express purpose of avoiding taxation and leaving things as they are—was here first brought under my observation. The municipal taxation proceeds on an estimate of £7,000 as the rateable value of the property assessed. Some 2,000 acres of land have been purchased within the township—all, indeed, that has as yet been put up for sale—and a portion of the surveying staff of the Government is at present (July, 1862) engaged in laying out more allotments, which, there is no doubt, will be bought up by local purchasers. As much as £800 an acre has been given for building sites, not in the main street. In the neighbourhood, especially on the rivers Avon and Richardson,

tributaries of the Avoca, there is a considerable amount of purchased land, and a block of 64,000 acres was surveyed for agricultural settlement under the new Land Act. About half of the cereals, with the exception of wheat, and of the horse-feed used in the district, is of local production. Wheat has not been tried, because no mill to grind it into flour has been established in the locality. Gardening is carried on to some extent. Vines have 4)6011 planted, and as the soil and aspect are favourable, it is probable that vineyards will ere long occupy a fair breadth of the available land. The township, it is confessed, has been largely benefitted by the trade of the squatters on the great plains of the Wimmera, which stretch far out to the north-west. All things considered, it is gratifying to find a substantial, self-reliant, thriving little township, in a position so isolated, and which, though planted like Inglewood on the very edge of the mallee scrub, has so much reason, from the abundance of its native resources, to anticipate a prosperous future. Of its isolation, it is sufficient to say that St. Arnaud is forty miles from the nearest township, Dunolly. The Avoca, often flooded so as to deny a passage, flows between them. It is fifty miles in a straight line from Maryborough, though it forms a portion of Maryborough mining district, and is expected to send a representative to the meetings of the board there. It is forty miles from Avoca in one direction, though it is in the Avoca police district, and thirty-two in another from the small settlement of Wedderburne. It is in the Crow-lands electoral district, and yet is thirty-five miles from Crowlands. It is well, therefore, that St. Arnaud has taken its own affairs, and its own 1,200 people, into its own management.

I found my way to this remote township mainly to

see the Silver Reef, and therefore I shall deal with it before I touch on the other mining resources of the district. The reef is one of large extent, but the principal claim—for silver, at least—is that held bv George E. Edwards (of Ipswich), and Henry La Roche and It. Hynam (of London). It is situated at the extreme northern end of the reef, where it dips into the plain, about a mile and a-half from the township From the large proportion of silver which the quartz here yields, the reef has derived its name. The stone also contains gold in considerable quantities, with a little arsenic, and some sulphur. The presence of silver gives the stone a bluish appearance, and there are some other singular characteristics about it. The silver occurs mainly in the form of a chloro-bromide—a circumstance, 1 am informed, observed nowhere else, and which leads to the supposition that a veiy large proportion, indeed, of the ore in the stone is at present wasted. In some places the reef presents the appearance of having been exposed to fire, and in others as if a stream of water had percolated through the quartz, and so loosened it that the gold runs out from the matrix. In other places, again, the stone is found very hard, though as abundant in gold as the softer portions. The reef was found on the surface, and the deepest shaft, in a c'aim near the prospectors’, is only seventy feet. The workings, however, have revealed two other reefs, one on each side, both argentiferous. From the surface stone silver as well as gold has been obtained, and as the reef deepens and increases in breadth the silver increases in proportion. The principal workings are only about thirty feet deep, and the mullock, as well as the quartz, is taken out, the reef at this depth being some thirteen or fourteen feet in width. The quartz is much mixed« with sandstone and slate, and

that which is most argentiferous is in a honeycombed state. The casing is a bine slate. Similar appearances are observed, I believe, in the silver mines of Mexico, and the experience of those mines leads to the conclusion that when the reef is followed down to a considerable depth—if it should hold out—the silver will be obtained in a metallic form. The average yield of combined gold and silver is from seven to eight ounces to the ton, but as much as 1,104 ounces of amalgam was recently obtained from thirty-seven tons of stone. The process adopted is precisely that taken to obtain gold ; and it is obvious, at the first blush, that an enormous quantity of both gold and silver is thrown away, from proper means not being adopted to secure it—if, indeed, a practical method has as yet been invented to meet the singular form in which the ore is found. The quartz is taken from the mine to the kiln, and there burned. It is then carted to a cru-hing-mill, and passed through the stamps in the usual way. The product of the amalgam in the retort is a bar of mixed gold and silver, which is sent to Melbourne, where the one metal is separated from the other at a charge of a shilling an ounce, the gold (the figure of the fineness of which is 23.3§) fetching the usual price, and the silver being sold at 5s. fid. per ounce. The usual proportion of metal in the bar is one-third gold and two-thirds silver. So great is the waste, however, that a sample of the tailings from the mill gave ten ounces of silver and five ounces of gold to the ton. This waste, large as it is, represents a mere fraction of what occurs. From the ama'gam two powders are gi t, one before and the other after retorting. '1 he first of these is very fine, of a pale brown colour, and light in weight, but the rudest experiment is sufficient to show that it contains at least

twenty-five per cent, of silver. The material obtained from the retort is of a darker colour, somewhat resembling lead. It is much heavier, and probably contains gold and lead as well as silver, but neiiher of these powders has as yet been properly analyzed. They are simply waste products, which are thrown away, and no account taken of them. The silver existing in the stone as a chloro-bromide, and probably also as asulphuret, itis clear that the heat of an out-door fire is utterly insufficient, except in the very heart of the kiln, to convert the ore into a metal, while the sulphurets are wholly driven away. In the well-calcined stone, the chloride is partially converted into round globules of silver, and it is these alone that are caught with the gold in the amalgam and saved. All the rest of the ore—and it is estimated by some as half of the silver—is literally thrown away ; and it will not be obtained until the mine is worked mainly for the inferior metal, on some scientific principle of roasting the ore. It is no exaggeration to say, that in every kiln of stone, hundreds of ounces of the precious white metal are absolutely destroyed or lost. One claimholder on the reef (Mr. Masters, formerly of Lane’s Reef, Mount Korong) is strongly impressed with this fact, and he is preparing should he reach the reef in his claim, to treat the ore by a new process which he is perfecting. Here is a field for the ingenious in mechanics, and for the operations of the capitalist ? Nor is it one by any moans of a limited character. The Silver Reef has been traced for three or four miles, under various names, from the point which has received the name of Ballarat Reef, on the south ; and wherever the stone has been got, silver is more or less abundant in it. I have already said that Edward’s party draw their stone from workings within

thirty feet of the surface, and that a large argentiferous reef abuts on eacli side of their claim. That on the eastern side follows the Silver Reef parallel throughout its entire length, sometimes approaching it closely, and sometimes 200 feet away. This reef is remarkably thin, only in one place, so far as is known, being three feet thick, but it is rich in gold. That on the west side is a much greater upheaval of quartz, being in some places ten feet thick. It is known as the Cosmopolitan, and presents precisely the same appearances as the Silver Reef. At a very short distance is another, known as the Argentine, in Armenian Gully, from which eight ounces of silver and gold to the ton are obtained, the gold being in the proportion of a twenty-fourth part only. This claim had been abandoned for a length of time, its original owners being unable to get out gold in payable quantities, and being unaware of the value of the lode for its produce of the other metal. It was jumped, however, a few days before my visit, and is in full work, the jumpers having discovered by the experience of Edwards’ parly that there is such a thing as mining in quartz for silver and obtaining profitable returns. Interesting as the discovery of this silver quartz is as regards science, and still more as adding another to the resources of the colony, it was made at a cost of much labour and vexation of spirit, as well as loss, to Mr. Edwards, who was the original prospector of this reef, and his mates. They commenced on the Ballarat Reef, or south end of the Silver Reef, three or four years ago, and they looked for gold only. They could see the yellow metal in the stone, but they could get little or none of it out of the amalgam. It seemed as if a spell were upon them—as if some evil genius kept watch and ward, to throw a magical influence over them,

to turn their gold in the host process, into dross, and mock their expectations with a vain show. It is related by them that on one occasion they had obtained an unusually large quantity of amalgam, and they went to the retort-house in the fullest assurance that their fortunes were made. They waited and watched, and watched and waited ; but when the time arrived when a red mass of gold should have been turned out from the retort, all that wTas left for them was a black mass, broken up into small and brittle fragments, in which no gold could be seen. The return was a blank. They still retain a sample of the material they obtained, but what it contains is a question which only the operator in a good laboratory can tell. This much I am certain of—they had thrown both the gold and the silver away in one of those strange forms, mysterious to all, and undistinguishable by the unlearned in chemistry, which the precious metals assume under certain circumstances. It was long after this, and after the pasty feeling given to the amalgam by the silver had puzzled and perplexed the prospectors during many crushings—after the silver reef itself had been prospected, abandoned, and retaken up—that the truth dawned on the fortunate holders of the claim, and they became aware of the true character of the material which they were winning from the reef. The discovery at last was made accidentally, some of the quicksilver having been skimmed from the thickening mass of mercury in the ripples, and retorted separately, as an experiment. The result wras pure silvei*.

But though so peculiarly rich in one great source of mining wrealtb, it is not to be supposed that silver has everywhere encroached upon the gold in the reefs of St. Arnaud. The more purely auriferous veins are numerous and important. As a rule, they are richer on the sur-

face than in the deeper ground—so far, at least, as the latter has been tested—but the rule does not invariably hold good. They bear from ten to seventy west of north, and there is at least one cross-reef, running east and west, in Clarke or Stewart’s Hill, from which as much as 25 ozs. to the ton have been obtained. The reef, however, there is reason to suppose, connects two parallel lodes running north and south. As a rule, the underlie is to the west, but the angles of inclination vary greatly. Occasionally thin bands of slate are found to cross and cut off the reefs, and the gold is unevenly distributed. In some places the quartz is found to be rich; at a few yards’ distance it becomes poor, and again the gold increases in quantity. The dip is towards the north, and the gold follows the direction of the dip. At the northern end of the reef the stoue thins out to a point, but on the south it becomes confused, and broken up into leaders. The silver is obtained in greatest quantity in the more northern claims, the proportion of that metal in the Ballarat or southern end of the Silver Reef having been only fifteen per cent.. It was remarked, however, that the gold was of a very pale character, and possibly it was largely impregnated with silver. The Gap Reef, on the top of the ridge overlooking New Bendigo, and Wilson’s Hill Reef, overlooking on the left from The Gap the site of the new township, were discovered almost simultaneously. The stone was got on the surface in both instances, and that of The Gap gave a high average yield— seven or eight ounces to the ton, and as much as twenty-four ounces to the ton at times having been obtained, the gold being so fine as to average nearly twenty-four carats. The first alluvial digging was opened in a flat between two quartz hills, from which it was fed, and the

gold was frequently found in a crystallised form. One of these was Shewring’s, or the Old Township Reef, from which some excellent yields were obtained, the best—sevenly-four ounces to the ton—being from a depth of 110 feet. Like the others, it was got on the surface, but, unlike them, it was poor till about fifty feet from the top, averaging only an ounce or an ounce and a quarter to the ton, the reef being from fifteen to eighteen inches wide. From 50 to 110 feet in depth, the reef averaged three feet wide, and gave from three ounces to the ton up to the large figure already quoted (seventy-four ounces). From 110 to 140 feet it averaged from six to seven ounces, but for the next thirty feet the yield fell as low as twelve pennyweights, the reef at the same time having dwindled from four and five feet thick to eighteen inches, and then run out to a point. I was shown some golden stones from this reef, and they looked as if they had been coated with blobs of gold by the hand of some cunning gilder. A second reef was not looked for by the original prospectors, and a puddler’s dam now' occupies the ground they worked ; but the puddler continues to pick up fine specimens, and a party of miners, under the name of the Strangers’ Company, have commenced to sink for the old reef a little below the old workings, and at seventy feet they have come upon a most promising leader. Wilson’s Hill Reef was worked out, it w'as supposed, by the original prospector, at a depth of between 100 and 150 feet, but a large shaft has since been sunk to a depth of some 250 feet, and in one of the drives a body of stone has been reached, supposed to be the main reef. It is on this hill, and on the original prospectors’ claim, to which others have been added, that the St. Arnaud Company have put up their splendid machinery, and it

is their shaft that has been sunk to the depth I have named. A contract has been taken to sink it 100 feet deeper, and a second engine of eighteen-horse power lias been put up specially for pumping and winding. The battery of twelve head of stamps is driven by an engine of sixty-horse power. The peculiarity of the battery is its frame-work, which is entirely of iron, on a plan the invention of Mr. Wanliss. Its merit is its lightness and strength, and the ease with which the whole can be taken down and re-erected. The machine is selffeeding, and puts through from 220 to 230 tons a week. No ripples and no copper plates are employed, merely quicksilver boxes and the blanket. The washings from the latter are amalgamated in a shaking-table, which runs upon rails, and I am informed that from a ton of the stuff caught by the blankets, on an average, six ounces of gold are taken. Paper pipes are used to conduct the water from the dam, but it is found that the friction is too great to permit of their use as pumps. The machinery had been crushing old refuse stuff for about a year, and an average of seven pennyweights per ton had been obtained. It was idle when I saw it, pending the completion of some cross-cut driving, but the local director (Mr. Lewis) estimated that in six or eight weeks, crushing would again be commenced. 'The mine had been worked twenty-five feet deeper than the level then being put in ; and an average of loz. 8dwt. had been got from a thousand tons. The reef at that depth—the water-level, 250 feet—was fourteen feet thick, and the same quantity of stone from the upper portion, where it was only three feet broad, had given precisely the same average. Curiously enough, the average from the twenty-five feet of stone nearest the surface was the same as that from below—another of the strange and

contradictory experiences I have found in the course of my tour. The company undoubtedly has a fair prospect before it, though the management, performed at too great a distance from the scene, seemed open to improvement. From Mr. Walker’s claim, on Clarke or Stewart’s Hill, the surface stone gave an average of six ounces to the ton, while that from a depth of 1120 feet gave only from an ounce and half to two ounces. Saw-pit Gully Reef, again, gave an average of four and a-half ounces to the ton, from a moderate depth, and in the course of the week before I visited it, a solid nugget, of the size of a hazel nut, had dropped out as the stone was knocked down. I need not enumerate the names and yields of the other reefs. There are eleven in all at work. But there are two companies, one public and the other private, which may be mentioned. The first is the Chrysolite. The mine they hold is nearer to the township than that of the St. Arnaud Company. It is in the hands of local men, and the experience of a week or two of the common system of working, with working shareholders having a voice in the management, satisfied the directors that a change was necessary. It also, therefore, was idle, pending the arrangement of a tribute system, which was about to be introduced. The other is that held by Messrs. Chase and Cameron, on Sebastopol Reef, Pyramid HilL There a fine self-feeding plant of twenty head of stamps has been built, with a very complete system for saving gold, though I remarked the absence of copper plates. The dam is large enough to supply water all the year round. This plant was put up to work the Sebastopol Reef, the yield from which is rather under half an ounce to the ton. Unfortunately, operations are not carried on with vigour, though a large capital has been laid out. A few men only are employed,

and for three weeks in four the plant stands idle. There is every facility for sending down the stone to the stamps by its own weight, and if that machine and that hill of quartz were on Ballarat, the whole rock could be crushed right down from the summit, keeping the batteries going night and day, and coining money for the owners. Within a stone’s-throw of Sebastopol Reef (which licN.,W. and S.E.) is Bell Rock Reef, running east and west (which gave two and three ounces from the top, and now from an ounce to twenty-five pennyweights from stone taken out at no great depth), and an immense reef, prospected in the olden times when crushing was ¿£10 per ton, but never tested in the quartz mill, known as the Armenian or Scrub Reef, measuring twenty-five feet broad on the surface.

Pyramid Hill derives its title from a mass of quartz, thirty two feet high, projected from the crown of the hill in the shape which gives a name to the spot. From the top a very fine view is obtained. To the north east the eye travels over a long undulating plain, covered with mallee scrub, towards the picturesque Kohiyoora, the highest peak of the Kingara Range, over against Kingower and Inglewood. North-westwards, some twenty miles over splendid plains, Mount Jeffcott was barely discernible, if indeed it was the mountain and not a cloud I saw. South-westwards the Pyrenees closed the view, and towards Dunolly a long and splendid forest country stretched out. On all sides the signs were -those of an auriferous country. It was impossible to resist the conclusion that the hills and the valleyswere alike auriferous, and would yet yield up treasure in abundance.

The alluvial, in the oldest of the diggings of this district, is not yet exhausted. The Chinese do well about

New Bendigo, and the few puddlers located there prosper. Prospecting in hard cement was going on in the plains, some four miles northwards from the township, and there is no reason to suppose that even Armenian Gully, or the other little valleys that saw diggers in the olden times, are exhausted. In those days, when gold was scarce, provisions dear, and water difficult to be had and almost as costly at times as vine, the diggers hunted the wild cattle, and sought out the nests of the mallee-hen, and went shooting the bronze-winged pigeon in its season. They made holes, and they uncovered reefs— but they did not dig. It is peculiar to the district, • also—so far as I observed—that the true bottom does not seem to have been reached in the alluvial. Holes supposed to have been bottomed have been sunk deeper, and more gold has been got. It seems, indeed, as if the run of gold had not had time to settle on a solid or true bottom. There is reason to think, also, that in a portion of the district the trap-rock covers leads as it does at Ballarat. In sinking a well at Swanwater Station, a drift was passed through said to be exactly similar to that of Ballarat. At Mount Jeffcott, too, on the other side of the . plain from St. Arnaud, quartz-reefs crop out, with iron stone reefs in abundance. As a goldfield, then, St. Arnaud is only in its infancy ; while the limestone found in horizontal beds some fifteen miles over the plains, the antimony, of which specimens have been found, and, still more, the agricultural settlement which will probably take place on the fine lands of the Avon, may hereafter contribute largely to its prosperity. The silver reefs cannot fail to receive attention, and largely to engage capital in their development, when their importance becomes better understood. . One great want it has—a water supply—and twice, I am d 2

assured, the promises of successive Ministers on this head have been broken. Let them be fulfilled, and there will be found few rural and mining municipalities more desirable for settlement than St. Arnaud.3

Chapter VI.

BENDIGO (OR SANDHURST).

I propose to make one of the oldest gold fields of the colony—Bendigo—the subject of the present chapter. In those which have preceded it, I have treated of newer fields and recent discoveries, for the purpose of showing that there is ample room for the miner beyond the old and well-known gold-fields, and other materials than gold to engage the attention of mining capitalists. Those two objects having been so far attained, it is necessary to turn to those older fields, to ascertain the condition in which they are found, and the prospects they hold out to those who have pitched their tents permanently upon them. I feel that the brief space of time I was enabled to devote to the district, would utterly disqualify me if I attempted to become its historian. I did but glean, here and there, a few handfuls of corn from the wide harvest-field—the gathering together of the grain to the threshing-floor must fall to other hands. But to write the history of Bendigo, to collect together the marvellous tales that are told of its wealth in the olden time, to chronicle all the extraordinary yields

from its quartz, and to catalogue its reefs and mines, was no part of my task. Those who wish for full information as to the affairs of the many quartz-mining companies on Bendigo will obtain it by consulting Dicker’s Mining Record,—a local publication of some merit for the care it exhibits in the collection of reliable mining statistics. My business was to ascertain from personal inquiry the condition of the miner relatively to what it was five or six years ago, on one of the leading gold-fields of the colony—to look into the state and prospects of some of those large companies in which so much capital has been swallowed up to so little purpose—and to look round the field to see what new thing it presented. The information I obtained on the first and second of those points will be embodied in chapters in which those sulyeets will come to be discussed. What I saw in the district is what I have now to toll.

Bendigo may be said to be in a transition state. The alluvial of Kangaroo Flat has been worked over and ¡over again. Bendigo Flat is still the scene of puddling operations to a considerable extent, but the numerous gullies running into those flats—once busy scenes—are now comparatively deserted. It is not that they have been entirely rifled, or that good wages cannot be made still, in some of them, at least; but that the attractions of newer fields—Otago, the Lachlan, the Jordan, and British Columbia—have drawn away the strength of the district. Steady paying claims, in many instances, were parted with almost as a gift, that the owner might be first in the rush to a distant district or colon}', buoyed up by the hope of renewing there the experiences of the diggers of Bendigo in 1853.' So mad was this rush, that a puddling-

claim was shown to me which, for some years, had given an average of three pounds per week after paying expenses, and which the owner sold, a horse or two included, for a sum little more than enough to carry him and his swag [blankets and implements] to Gabriel’s Gully. To this eager haste to make a pile, more than to the absolute exhaustion of the soil, the desertion of the flats and gullies is attributable. In quartz-mining, too, the time is equally one of depression—of expectation rather than activity. It was stated in Parliament, as an argument in favour of the suspension of the standing orders of the Assembly to permit the hasty passage of the Drainage of Reefs Bill, that for want of such a measure, not fewer than eight hundred claims were standing idle this summer in this district alone. I am assured that the statement was not exaggerated, and it is not difficult to understand the reason why. Soon after the discovery of the alluvial in the flats, the auriferous nature of the reefs was ascertained, and from that time to the present, quartz-reefing has been prosecuted on Bendigo to an extent, and for some years with a success, not paralleled elsewhere. To the present hour, there has been no second Bendigo discovered, as regards quartz-reefs, either in or out of Victoria. The area of the reefing district is calculated at some three hundred square miles—I quote from a lecture delivered in 1860, by a local celebrity. Eleven main lines of reef traverse it from about S.S.E. to about N.N.W. There are four on the south side of the flat— the Bird’s, the Whip, Glasgow, and the Sheep’s Head ; and seven on the northern side—the Caledonian (or Hibernian), Phillips’s, the New Chum, the Victoria, Paddy’s Gully, Hustler’s (or the Redan), and Tyson’s.

These main lines of reef are of great extent, the Victoria, for example, having been traced from Diamond Hill on the south, to beyond the Star Reef Company’s works on the north, a distance of ten miles. But while those main lines are followed up almost along their entire length, and bristle with crushing machines and pumping and mining gear, numerous other reefs of less pretensions have offered their riches, and the whole district may be set down as one vast quarry of quartz. Two years ago the machinery erected for pumping or raising quartz, was valued at over a half a million of money ; and as the alluvial gradually failed, retorted gold came more and more into the market, and maintained that splendid average of over 8,000 ounces of gold per week which Bendigo contributed to the escort returns for years past until within a very recent period. But the reefs of Bendigo were unusually patchy, and in almost every instance the richest stone was got near the surface. Thus, while they gave most abundant yields in the early days of reefing, the returns have gradually fallen off as the quartz has been followed down; and as in most cases the water level has long ago being reached, and machine-owners wisely declined to drain their neighbours’ claims without the remuneration that was in most cases denied them, the engines were stopped, and along extensive lines of claims work was necessarily suspended, till the vexed question of drainage rates could be settled. This matter is now engrossing the attention of all parties interested, and if equitable arrangements can be arrived at, the result will be the speedy and active resumption of work on miles and miles of reef. Another cause of depression is the

singular want of success that lias attended the opera tions of nearly all the public companies got up on Bendigo, whether for alluvia] or quartz mining. It is scarcely necessary to refer hero—-ns another occasion may offer itself—to the Bendigo Steam-puddling Company, the Kangaroo Flat ditto, Myers’ Flat, the Eagle Hawk (Specimen Hill), the Third White Hill, and a host of other companies that have disappeared from the scene, leaving only some dreadful wrecks behind. But the Victoria, the Johnson’s, the Nelson, the New Chum, the Star Company, and others, have swallowed up vast sums of money, for which the only returns, so far, are buildings, machinery, shafts, and drives, which may yet be of good account, but at present are utterly unprofitable. The Victoria has drawn from the public £67,COO ; the Long Gully about £o0,000 ; the New Chum, £21,000; the Johnson’s, £47,500 ; the Hustler’s, £24,000; the Nelson, £38,600, and the Tyson’s, £18,150. Seven companies have thus locked up £245,650, or nearly a quarter of a million of money. Three of them have contrived to pay a solitary dividend, and one has twice essayed that feat, but the total amount so disbursed to the shareholders does not exceed some £7,000. Here, then, are two causes for the partial stagnation at present observable on Bendigo, and it will be admitted that neither the New Chum nor the Nelson offers much encouragement to capitalists at a distance from the scene, while the Victoria has still a vast amount of labour to do before she reaches that deep ground which is to prove the “ half-a-mile of reef” held by the company to be what the prospectus described it—“ the richest quartz reef, in the richest district, in the richest gold-field in the world.” Another cause is the exhaustion of the

reef in some claims, once very rich, such as (hat of Gibbs, Lazarus and Co. on the New Chum Eeef. This claim, when first opened, gave twelve ounces to the ton. It was thin on the top, but widened out into a broad reef, then thinned again, and ran out. In the centre of the mass, the yield, though not large, was fair in amount, but at a hundred feet in depth it dwindled to two pennyweights to the ton. This result has naturally lessened the confidence of the owners of the mine, and operations have not yet been commenced to test the ground for a second “ making” of stone, such as has been found at Poverty Reef and elsewhere. The patchy character of the reefs has also tended to discourage prospectors. The Robert Burns Reef may be cited as an instance in point, having given to the owners of a claim upon it some £2,000 or £8,000 a-piece from one small pocket—and never afterwards an ounce of gold to reward years of diligent labour.4 This want of confidence seemed to meto haveproduced an apathy unusual amongst miners, and in strong contrast to the resistless energy visible amongst the same class of men on Ballarat. To recall the glories of “ Old Bendigo,” to contrast the times “ now and then,” and to wonder when the tide would turn, and prosperity once more set in in a roaring sea-flood, seemed to be a prevailing habit—the humour of the day, perhaps, and nothing more. The exceptional circumstances of the case of themselves explain why prospecting is not more largely followed, and why that co-operative activity in searching for new reefs which so distinguishes Inglewood is entirely awarding

ou Bendigo. It did exist in its day, but it is no longer required. The known reefs are so numerous, the amount of money invested in them is so large, the expectations entertained regarding them are so considerable and yet so reasonable, the number of people interested in them is so great, and the paying claims pay so well, that the future is regarded with no apprehension beyond the time that must elapse before the operation of the Drainage Bill enables work to be resumed, and until the larger companies reach the stone towards which they have been labouring for the last three years. The richness of the upper lodes on Bendigo was certainly remarkable, and unless the field I am now speaking of has a speciality of its own, in surface reefs running out entirely at small depths, the temptation to persevere in sinking for a second body of stone is certainly very great. I have already instanced the New Chum, with its twelve ounces to the ton from surface stone. The White Lead, on the Victoria, gave five and a-half ounces. The Eastern Victoria gave £40,000, in six months, to two small parties of Germans. In six years an old soldier of Bluclier’s army at Waterloo, and his son, obtained £200,000 worth of gold from forty-eight yards of the Victoria Reef and its spurs. The same reef gave Roberts &, Co. £40,000 from a small claim, thirty yards in length. Woodward and Co.’s claim, of sixteen yards, gave ¿61,< 00 per yard. The Southern Victoria gave thirty ounces to the ton. The Adventure Company, on the Eastern Victoria, on one occasion got 150 ozs. of gold from four buckets full of stone, and from forty tons, taken at a depth of 200 feet, they obtained 1,000 ozs. From Paddy’s Gully Reef a small party took from £12,000

to £15,000, in successive crushings of three ounces, six ounces, and seventeen ounces to the ton, and then retired, satisfied with the fortune they had made. Ladam’s claim, on Garden Gully Reef, gives three ounces to the ton at the water-level, 104 feet; and it is related that a shareholder in the claim, tired of working for nothing, and resolved on trying the Otago fields, sold his share for 30s. a fortnight before the reef was struck, his successor receiving £500 out of the gold got from the reef within three weeks afterwards. The share had cost the unlucky and impatient seller £100. In sinking the shaft of the Catherine Reef Company’s works a flat spur was got. It was thin, but it was followed to its northern boundary, and went forty ounces to the ton. Jacob’s Reef in the Whipstick, gave 200 ozs. from twenty tons of stone. The Energetic Company have got as high a return as twenty ounces to the ton from their lately discovered reef, and as much as 1,400 ozs. of gold within a month, though the party is but a small one. On Long Gully Reef there are numerous small companies at work, and their success is indicated by that of the Waterloo Company, and of French and Co., who obtain an average of five ounces to the ton from a reef six or seven feet broad, at a depth of 80 or 100 feet. These yields, however, great as they are, could be paralleled by crushings from almost every other reef in the district, and they are cited merely to show the impossibility of such claims being abandoned because the reef has been lost for a time, or because water is troublesome and drainage regulations are imperfect.

That the district around Sandhurst has been pretty well prospected there is no doubt. It is pro-.

bable, at the same time, that the extreme richness of the two long flats, from near the Big Hill on the south, to Huntly on the north, and of such gullies as Long Gully and Golden Gully, had irresistible attractions for the digger, which no chance success offered by nuggetty gullies—such as the Dead Bullock and the Robinsoe Crusoe—could overcome. From Axe Creek on the south, some eighteen miles from Sandhurst, to Emu Point, about twenty-four miles to the northward, there are traces of prospectors. But northwards, at least through the Whipstick, the examination of the country has been of the hastiest kind, and numerous gullies and reefs are yet to be opened. To the west the footsteps of the digger have been hemmed in by the ranges, and on the eastern side he has scarcely crossed the heights which bound the valley in the centre of which lies the wide-spreading town of Sandhurst, with its numerous but independent suburbs. That the gullies at the head of Kangaroo Flat have still gold to be got out, in times when living is less expensive than when they were first prospected, is evident from many incidents. About them linger several old fossiekers,” who seldom leave them— one of whom, a Welshman, named Jones, has been singularly lucky in unearthing nuggets. His favourite haunt is Kangaroo Gully, and from this little valley he not long ago obtained a nugget weighing 2 l3ozs. He and his son were, as usual, poking about an old shaft, when they uncovered what seemed to be a large stone. It was blackened over, so that its real colour was disguised, and it was left unheeded while they went to dinner, unconscious of the prize that was so near their grasp. On their return, the true character of the stone was discovered, and it

found its way to the bank, where it still lies. About the same time another “ fossicker," named Nott, was still more fortunate in Dead Bullock Gully. There, in an old hole, his boy struck his pick into a stone, and the dulness of the blow, the point of the pick sticking fast in the yellow metal, revealed a huge flat nugget, weighing 377ozs. 4|dwt. The great mass seems too heavy and unwieldy ever to have been washed out of quartz, and looks like a casting in gravel. Its value was £1,-186 6s. So excited was the father of the boy who found it, when he presented himself at the bank with the treasure, that he was unable to express his desires with regard to it. Next day, however, lie had recovered his composure; and I was glad to hear that a large portion of the proceeds had been invested in a farm on Bullock Creek, where father and son are following farming as sedulously as they had before done fossicking. From these gullies, in short, had come many of the nuggets that were put down to the credit of the Whipstick. They are deserted by all but those solitary diggers. In Robinson Crusoe Gully—a lovely spot, green and wooded, and with a pretty stream running through it—I saw a solitary puddler, a foreigner, who had moved up from towards Epsom, to try his fortune in fresher ground. That he was satisfied with the change was evident. He had sold for ¡£80 at a store on the flat the gold he had obtained by his first week’s work.

In quartz-mining, two recent discoveries were claiming attention when I visited Sandhurst. The first was by the Energetic Company, who obtained the large yield already alluded to from a reef running across the line of the Victoria Reef, and which, it was calculated, would run into the ground held by the

Hercules Company and the Victoria Company. It crosses Long Gully—one of the richest of all the tributary gullies of Bendigo Flat—running thirty-six points west of north, while the Victoria holds a direction twenty-three west of north. This cross reef, when found in the sandstone, was irregular in its formation, but when in the slate it became perpendicular. The reef was got within thirty feet of the surface, and followed down to a depth of eighty-feet, the lowest point reached at the time of my visit. The quartz is reddish in colour, like that of Quaker’s Gully, while that of the neighbouring reefs is white. From July, 1860, to December last, the stone from this reef had averaged an ounce to the ton, but from December till last month the average had not been less than eight ounces to the ton, from crushings of 200 tons at a time. Some fine samples were shown from the Exhibition Ileef—obtained within a few days. I went out to see this reef, and found it by the side of a small stream, in a little glen or gully, at the head of Kangaroo Flat, six miles from Sandhurst. A party prospecting there in the alluvial, in four feet sinking, had found in the pipe-clay a leader half an inch thick. There was gold in it, and following it down they came upon a flat spur, or reef, which they were tracing, in the belief that it would cany them to a main lode— a hope which was afterwards realized. They had driven thirty-three feet into the hill. The dip is to the south—the rule on the eastern side of the valley —and gold is got wherever the dip is to the south and east. The vein had widened out at that depth to eight or nine inches, with a yield of thirty-five ounces from the first trial lot, consisting of two tons, and of thirty-two ounces four pennyweights from the

second lot of tln-ee tons. These discoveries are sufficient to show that, much as is known of the reefs of Bendigo, and extensive as their development is, there is small reason to think that the whole of them have been traced even on their surface.

While it is possible to select from among the public companies that are or have been on Bendigo, notorious examples of mismanagement—blind, wilful, and reckless misuse of means and opportunities—it is also easy to find companies against whom such charges cannot be brought, and the success of whom is encouraging to others. What the Victoria Beef Company may be when their great deep shaft is sunk, and they reach the reef for which they have been sinking, it would be premature to say. It is possible a mistake may have been made in the selection of the site for the shaft; but the subsequent efforts of the management seems to have been given perseveringly to accomplish the work originally undertaken. To sink a shait of five or six hundred feet deep, through the hard rock which was encountered, is a serious task, and if time and money have both been consumed, there is still the probability of a good body of stone being struck, and it is stated that the capital originally proposed will be sufficient for the purpose. Returns, however, will not be obtained for many a day to come, and the holders of this scrip must be counselled to patience. A neighbouring company, the Hercules, are now following the example of the Black Hill Company of Ballarat. The hill of quartz adjacent to the machine, is being taken down bodily, and crushed. Operations have not yet been so perfected that so small a per centage of gold suffices to give a good dividend as at Ballarat, nor is the machinery on

the same large scale; but a fair profit is got from five and a half pennyweights, and the company have the prospect of winning in their drives a portion of the rich reef from which the Energetic Company are obtaining eight ounces to the ton. The Catherine Reef United Claimholders, however, have in their possession, a mine and plant which I must set down as a model. I shall not fatigue the reader with statistics as to the capital, the claim, or the machinery of the company, but I must state that this is the only quarlz mine I have yet seen (always excepting the great works at Clunes) fairly opened up with a view to systematic working on a large scale. The plant is similar in character and arrangement to that used in the coal-mines of the north of England. The mine itself is opened out from end to end by shafts and drives, on a sufficiently large scale to permit the work of raising the quartz being carried on with every facility. It is intended to take out the whole body of stone and casing in the mine. The battery consists of five sets of six revolving stamps each, and its weekly consumption of material is sufficient to secure a fair dividend from very poor stuff indeed. Tor twelve months or more, regular monthly dividends have been paid, until some twenty-five per cent, of a large capital has been returned in profits. The machinery is new and perfect, and the mine opened up, and as the company have a reserve fund in the coffers of the bank, the shareholders have a healthy and hopeful future before them. Of the smaller crushing companies that have sprung up, and for many of whom there is room on the various gold-fields I have visited, I might quote the Bird’s Reef Company, though their name appears in no share-list.

They had the usual misfortune of mismanagement to encounter at the outset, but they have overcome their difficulties, and when I had the pleasure of inspecting their books T. was glad to see a fairly-earned weekly profit of about ¿£50, by crushing for the public, with machinery and plant on which some £6,000 has been expended. It consists of a powerful engine, driving sixteen head of stampers, with ripples, copper plates, and shaking-tables for catching the gold. Thè tables, I was informed, saved on the average an ounce of gold per week. The company also hold five acres of land, and they have built extensive dams. When at this mill I had an opportunity of ascertaining how private mining adventures succeed. The Albion Company’s books showed a produce of gold for the year worth £3,840, and dividends of £800 paid to the eight shareholders, from a poor quartz from Bird’s Reef, averaging between five and twenty-five pennyweights to the ton, after paying 10s. per ton for crushing, and 9d. per ton for carting, their stone.

Chapter VII.

BENDIGO CONTINUED.

As the traveller towards Sandhurst descends from the Big Hill, over Kangaroo Flat, and as he nears Golden Gully, he sees on the right the site of an erection to which the name of“ Carpenter’s Folly” was attached by common consent. In this instance, however, an injustice was done “ honest Tom,” lately one of the representatives of Mandurang, who was its author. It was a furnace built on the Whip Reef, for

the purpose of treating a very peculiar stone found there, adding another to the anomalies presented by the quartz reefs of this colony. This reef is set down as one of the main quartz lodes of the district. The Caledonian is supposed to be a continuation of it. The top stone, from the surface, gave from five ounces to nine ounces of gold to theton. The quartz was whitish in colour, largely abounding in pyrites. The reef got'thin as it was followed down, with an underlie to the east, and a shaft was sunk to catch it at some distance from the original workings. Here, at a depth of 170 feet, an enormous mass of metal, or conglomerate of metals, was cut into. It has been ascertained to be twenty-five feet thick, and it has been opened up to a depth of sixteen feet without the lode being passed through. The gold in this mass wTas unequally distributed. When treated in the ordinary way, it gave an average of an ounce, but it was so rich in patches that an assay showed that it contained from ninety to a hundred ounces of gold to the ton. The first assay, indeed, gave the extraordinary result of 500 oz. of gold to the ton, and other samples, subsequently analysed, were still richer. The lode, however, has never been properly tested otherwise than in the laboratory, as the stone, or metal— whichever it is — cannot be crushed by the only means at present available, so as to permit of the gold being saved. It was to roast this ore that Mr. Carpenter erected his furnace. The experiment wasnot unsuccessful, but the furnace was too small to get through a sufficient quantity of the quartz, and the attempt was abandoned. The reef has not since been actively worked, owners of claims upon it preferring to wait until science has discovered some better

means of treating the ore for the saving of the gold in it. Experiments made with the debris, after the ore had been roasted in a peculiar manner, resulted in a yield of twenty-two pennyweights to the ton, without the loss of quicksilver. So roasted, the stone was easy to crush under common stamps; but the analyses showed too great a waste for this system to be long persevered in. Samples of the ore were sent home by the Messrs. Bannerman, who are interested in the reef, and the report of the chemical analysts who made the assay shows that it contains silver at the rate of four and a-half ounces to the ton, as well as arsenical pyrites and gold. The pyrites, it was added, though valueless for export at present, might be so reduced by washing as to become profitable as an export. Another experienced mineralogist —Mr. Ulrich, of the geological survey staff—who was consulted, has given it as his opinion that the lode will turn into one of silver as the water-level of the reef is approached. The casing of the vein is sandstone, and it contains both gold and pyrites. The reef itself is shaped like a wedge, or a thin-sided pyramid, the shafts on each side having failed to find this peculiar ore, though the large quantity of base metal the stone is found to contain all along the line of the reef has induced the miners upon it to follow the example set to them by Messrs. Bannerman. In the common mills of the district it was found that the pyrites in the stone not only carried off the gold, but the quicksilver also ; and the experience of this reef would seem to point out a cause why some reefs which contain pyrites have not given gold in payable quantities under the the stamps, though the assays of the metallurgist have shown them to be largely

gold-bearing. Nor is the Whip Eeef the only one in this district in which the inferior metals are found. The New Chum stone, for example, shows lead, silver, and zinc, in combination with gold.

The Caledonian Reef, it has been remarked, is supposed to be a continuation of the Whip Reef. It has been struck in the flat, and as a continuation of Tyson’s Reef has also been found in sinking a well on Bendigo Flat, it is probable that the reefs of the western side cross the valley and unite with those of the eastern side. My attention was drawn to some beautiful samples of golden stone in the Bank of Victoria, and I found they were from M‘E wen’s claim on Caledonian Reef, connected with which there is a little story, worth relating as an example of the supreme folly sometimes shown in managing the affairs of a mining company. The ground now held by Mr, M'Ewen was formerly possessed by the Kangaroo Flat Puddling Company, which began operations some two years ago. They put up machinery at a large expense, worked the upper ground for a fortnight, and finding their expectations of instantaneous profits disappointed, they suspended their operations before they touched the true waslidirt. But it was part of their original scheme to work the quartz as well. For this purpose, pumps were put down, that efficient drainage might be secured ; but the company never lifted a stone, and, twelve months ago, after one fortnight’s trial of the upper alluvial, they suffered the plant and mine to be sold for a trifle. Mr, M'Ewen, an enterprizing Epsom miner, who was the first to crush the tailings of the puddling mills of that gold-field, and who made money by it, bought up the plant, set the company’s pumps to

work, prospected his ground, and, in a very few' days, came upon the line specimens to which I have alluded. He has since found that a vast body of quartz traverses the ground lie holds. He has opened it up to a breadth of sixty feet, without reaching the walls, or passing out of the stone.

The fate of the Kangaroo Flat Company naturally recalls to mind that of the Bendigo Flat Steam Puddling Company—a promising affair in its day, abandoned prematurely. This company held under lease twenty acres of the most likely part of Bendigo Flat. They put up six puddling-machines, driven by steam, and worked the upper ground for three months. The returns were small, and just as they were beginning to get into the good ground, the plant was sold. The system of puddling adopted was superior, and is in successful operation on Ballarat. The concern had cost £20,000, and the whole plant and claim were sold for £1,500 ! The ground is now covered with puddlers, and that it is yielding well may be inferred from the circumstance that some claims upon it have long been the subject of litigation between a party of Irish and one of Chinese puddlers. Almost as incomprehensible w’as the management and as cruel the fate that attended the Long Gully Company’s puddling operations in Back Creek. On this branch of the company’s scheme some £17,000 or £18,000 was spent. Forty acres were held on lease from the Crown, and high expectations were formed by the shareholders. One machine of dirt W’as washed. The yield was thirty-two or thirty-three ounces. It was less rich than had been anticipated, and in place of trying other portions of the ground—ascertaining, in fact, what the property really was worth—

in three weeks afterwards the work wasabandonedand the machinery sold. Now the ground is occupied by fifteen puddling machines, the owners of which, I am assured, are doing well. The same company have been equally unfortunate or unlucky in their quartz. They own what was a rich mine when it was in private hands. They abandoned the old shaft, however, and sank a new one at a large expense, finding nothing in it. They then returned to the old workings, shifted the machinery once or twice, and had one unsuccessful crushing of quartz taken from the cap of the reef. The yield was only one pennyweight to the ton. It is proposed, almost without further trial, to wind up the affairs of the company, and sell off the relics of the property. The result will be nil, so far as a return to the shareholders is concerned. Surely it w'ould be wiser for the scripholders to put their shoulders to the wheel, send a little good money after the bad, and probably recover all by rediscovering the reef worked by the original owners of the mine.

I shall leave till another occasion an account of my visit to the Wliipstick, a district regarding which high expectations have long been entertained, and confine my remarks to Bendigo proper. I have said it is in a transition state, and I may now add my conviction that it has seen its w’orse period of depression. The reasons are obvious. It has lost all who are likely to leave it for other fields—unless, indeed, discoveries should be announced elsewhere of a more startling character than any known gold-field is likely to offer. For those whose means do not permit them to go in to quartz-mining, there are still ample opportunities in the alluvial for making a comfortable

living, with the chance meanwhile of a Dead Bullock nugget turning up to lift them at once into a position of independence. Those who have done well in puddling heretofore, are buying into quartz claims, or prospecting for new reefs by means of assisted parties, and are thus preparing for a change from an exhaustible to an inexhaustible field of labour. Epsom and Huntly—and I deal with them here as part and parcel of Bendigo—have in deep and wet ground the main Bendigo lead, supplemented, no doubt, by smaller leads from the ranges below the township. Almost baffled by the water in their deeper sinkings, those fields have been abandoned again and again, but have as often been re-sought, their splendid gold, fine in quality and abundant, being too tempting to be left unworked. The mining laws of the district have been unfavourable to their development, the extent of ground in a claim being insufficient to remunerate the miner for his labour, or to justify the erection of pumping machinery. This drawback on the prosperity of this portion of Bendigo, however, is about to be removed by the adoption of the frontage system as it exists on Ballarat, and the effect will probably be marked and immediate on the produce of gold from this portion of the Bendigo field. The difficulties that have attended the drainage of reefs question, also, are in course of removal. It is not to be supposed that the practical experience of assessors, aided by the advice and assistance of wardens experienced in adjudicating upon mining disputes, will be unable to find a road to the best method of determining what should be the drainage areas, how it should be ascertained whether claims are or are not drained by the pumping engines, and what is a proper rate of assess-

ment in every case, however exceptional. This great barrier once removed, an immediate impetus must be given to quartz-mining. Take Paddy’s Gully reef as an instance in point. Seven years ago it gave an average of three oui ces to the ton—a yield from which splendid profits are now realised, but which in those expensive days of twenty feet claims per man scarcely paid for crushing and carting. Since then it has been worked, abandoned, worked again, and again left. A rich patch having been at last obtained, three claims were amalgamated, and pumping machinery was put up. The shaft was sunk to the depth of 320 feet, but this depth was insufficient, and the reef was hot reached. It was perfectly well known to the owners of the claim that they had a certain distance still to sink, and a certain drive to make, to cut the reef ; but they objected to continue pumping unless the other claimliolders along the line contributed their quota of the expenses, and to this those parties objected, there being a break in tire reef, and their claims being inadequately drained in consequence. Thus stood matters fifteen or eighteen months ago, and the local board having no power to impose a drainage rate in such a case, or declining to exercise it, the end of the dispute was the stoppage of the engine, and the cessation of work in the claims affected. No labour has been done since, but there is no doubt that Paddy’s Gully Reef is tooj valuable a mining properly to be suffered to lie unworked much longer. A drainage rate will be arranged, and labour resumed. Somewhat similar has been the experience on the Victoria and New Chum Reefs, and doubtless on others. I am not wrong, therefore, in supposing that the operation of the Drainage of Reefs Rill will

be followed immediately by the adjustment of many old disputes, the reworking of numberless good or promising claims, increased employment, and such an additional yield of gold as will re-establish Bendigo as the most productive of the gold-fields of the colony— if, indeed, it has ever lost that pre-eminence. It will have another effect. Without some such measure, no encouragement was offered to prospectors for reefs in deep ground. The ranges, as well as the flats, still offer abundance of untouched land for the labours of such parties, who will not feci themselves aggrieved by seeing others reap the benefit of energy and capital not their own.

It has been admitted that little has been done on Bendigo for some years in the way of prospecting. A share of the Government grant for that purpose, when the ministry of Mr. Nicholson was in power, was obtained ; but I am not aware that any good resulted from it. It is said that the money was spent on the Sheepwash entirely, and that the members of a former mining board, who were entrusted with the disbursement of the vote, contrived to make a very pretty little job of it. One of their number drew a handsome salary, as times go, for superintending the operations; and it has been surmised that little of the work for which money wras drawn was actually performed. At all events, the Sheepwash alone was prospected, and no new gold-field was discovered. Private prospecting associations were scarcely more successful, either in the management of the funds or the results. The paying-in system, which has operated so successfully at Inglewood, has long been abandoned on Bendigo, except by parties of mates, the complaint of the paying partner being that re-

turns were not always honestly made. Money was drawn, and work not done; or if work was done and a paying claim found, unfavourable accounts of it were given by the working partner, the sleeper was bought out by his better-informed mate, and thus money was spent without chance of profit. It has happened, and probably from this cause, that the whole country from Grassy Flat towards M'lvor has been left unexamined, and that the plains towards the Loddon have not been looked at, though traces of reefs are visible on their eastern edge, and leads probably run through them. South of Bendigo, the presence of gold, often in payable quantities, has been tiaced as far as the Axe Creek, though about the Big llill, where the auriferous earth escapes from under the bluestone, prospecting has been done without much success. There is no known reason why there should not be a second bottom on Bendigo Flat. The holes sunk there averaged something like twelve feet, and none of them were put down suffi ciently far to test what is below. It could not be expected that a digger should pass down through a richly auriferous bottom, when in the wash-dirt he had found so close to the surface he had work enough to do, with the certainty of an equally good hole in as shallow ground wherever he chose to sink. An experiment of this sort might well be made, however, by an organised prospecting body. Miners say “ gold grows.” Old holes, they remark in proof, contain “ new gold.” Cornish men, shaking their heads at the hard casing of reefs, say “ the gold has no room to grow.” Other more learned observers entertain a notion that some of the larger nuggets were not formed in quartz, and did not come out of reefs. I

am not going to pat forward any such plea for a better examination of the alluvial; but it does seem reasonable that an attempt should be made to ascertain, by the inexpensive system of boring, if not otherwise, whether there is oris not a second alluvial bottom on Bendigo Flat; and there is no reason to suppose that the deep lead terminates at Huntley. In all probability it follows a northern course towards the Murray. Possibly it passes under the trap rock at the Crab Holes, on Muskerry Station, where the evidence of volcanic action begins on the northern side of Bendigo. Then, again, as to quartz. Almost every shaft sunk has been on the side of the hill, and not one of them has been carried down more than about 320 feet—100 feet less than at Sandy Creek, and 230 or 210 feet less than at Maryborough. From the level of the valley the depth, of course, is less. It has still to be ascertained, therefore, whether bodies of quartz do not exist at a great depth, richer even than the upper stone. All the reefs of Bendigo were not richest on the surface. The Johnson’s, for example, was poor until a depth of about 170 feet had been attained, and recently some splendid crushings have been got from stone at a lower depth. Vast masses of poor stone are found in every portion of the district—stone which on Ballarat would return magnificent profits. The Cape Clear Reef may be cited on this point. Here a little mountain of quartz is crowned with claims held by small working parties, who crush their stone at machines of their own, and pay good wages, and fair dividends besides, from quartz giving only five and eight pennyweights to the ton. Here are some nine steam-engines constantly at work, and the rattle of the small crushing machines e 2

is incessant. The owners have built pretty cottages for themselves, and the hill—one of the most prominent objects in the view of Bendigo, as seen from the Flagstaff Hill in the Whipstick—presents one of the prettiest attractions of all the neighbourhood round. It is true, that on Cape Clear Hill there is no necessity for drainage, but I have already quoted similar returns from Bird’s Beef, where drainage is required. Few of the large companies referred to in the last chapter, are in a position to say what is the lowest yield of gold per ton which would pay a fair dividend. The Nelson does not seem yet to have got a reef to crush. The New Chum’s years of the worst possible management have thrown it far behind, though there is hope for it yet, in the fresh blood recently thrown into the management. The Hercules Company alone has been spirited up by the example of the BallaratBlack Hill Company to tiy what can bedoneby good management, even with poor quartz, and have so far, and most encouragingly, succeeded in making a yield of three pennyweights per ton pay expenses. It is difficult to understand why there should be so wide a difference as there is between the experiences of these two gold-fields in this matter. It is true, that the Black Hill Company has no pumping or winding to perform, and has a very large battery at work ; but the Wellingtonea Gigantea Company, at Ballarat, has not these advantages. They have both pumping and winding to perform, and a crushing battery comparatively small ; yet they can make poor stuff, taken from a considerable depth, pay a dividend. The time, doubtless, will come when the same will be the case on Bendigo. At present, reefs which do not show gold on the surface are totally neglected. These will

yet be opened up profitably ; while the recovery of the fine gold, now lost in the sludge, will of itself give years of employment hereafter, when labour is cheaper, and the art of saving fine gold is better understood.

The time is probably not distant however, when the people of Bendigo will give their attention to other branches of mining than that for gold. Attention was called some time ago to the deposits of iron in Grassy Flat. These have not received the attention which they deserve. They are situated within a couple of miles of the municipality, and the ore, knocked off from the surface, is certainly the finest brown hematite I have ever seen, though it has been my hap to handle a pretty large variety of iron ores. Three parallel lodes crop out on the surface—one of them not less than twenty feet broad, and the others about a yard in breadth. They follow the same bearing as the quartz reefs and are associated in some places with that, stone. The distances between the parallels appear to be about twenty yards and fifty yards respectively. The ground, however, has never been opened up, nor have the lodes been further tested than by the smelting of a portion of the ore in Melbourne, from which a superior description of iron was obtained. There are three other localities in the district from which good ores of a similar description have been got. With foundries on a considerable scale, ore so near, and wood so abundant all round, it does seem strange that the manufacture of pig-iron has not been attempted. Limestone, it is true, is wanted as a flux, but that desideratum is now supplied. Great as is the supply of iron ore in England, it is unequal to the demand. Long distances are traversed by sea to find it. The Welsh furnaces are now furnished with large

quantities from Corsica, where it is picked up on the surface. Spain has been ransacked' for it within the last few years, and from the mines of Garucha, on the Mediterranean, quantities are now sent to Wales, under great difficulties, the ore having to be shipped in boats, and the ships which receive it having nightly to stand off the coast to avoid the seaward gale that invariably sets in with sunset, and return to ' their anchorage with morning and calm. Surely, if ore so obtained, and carried to Wales, can be made into pig-iron, landed in Melbourne, and hauled a hundred miles overland, and yet be used in castings with a profit, the ores of Grassy Flat could be turned to use successfully, whatever disadvantages of labour the district may suffer under. Sandstone, too, is now quarried for local purposes, and slate exists in great beds contiguous to the railway, capable, I am informed, of being split for roofing, or into slabs for ornamental purposes, and of receiving a good polish. Copper has been found, but not in a form to lead to the hope of a mine of the ore of that metal being discovered. Metallic zinc has been got in Spring Gully, showing that a vein is not far off. Clays containing magnesia and carbonic acid exist in thin seams in the Whipstick. Steatite, or soapstone, is obtained on the Redan Reef, but its colour is objectionable—namely, gray or green. All these are materials that may hereafter be turned to good purpose, while the silt itself will make bricks and pottery, if it does not harden naturally in time into a stone.

The aspect of the streets of Sandhurst on a Saturday night, shows that great as the rush away from the flats and gullies of Bendigo has been, there is still a large population scattered over the district.

The quantity of gold brought in is an evidence that there is still work in the alluvial for willing hands. Sometimes the Bank of New South Wales displays in its windows gold worth from ¿610,000 to ¿6520,000, and it is not the only gold-buying establishment. That the tastes and habits of the miners are changing fast in the direction of domestic enjoyments and prudent management of their earnings, is easily observable from the manner in which the change operates on the business of the town. At one time three theatres were supported, and large sums were spent in providing professional talent for such concert-rooms as that of the Shamrock. Now the theatres are closed, and the only concert-rooms are those where nigger-songs and clog-dances are the attractions. Skittles have still their friends, and a few loafing fellows may yet be seen at the bars of the public houses, ready to accept a “ shout” from every fresh customer disposed to the foolery. Casinos invite visitors disposed to figure on “ the light fantastic toe,” but they seem to have few patrons. The barbers appeared to be as busy as the publicans. The newsvendors—it was the night of the arrival of the mail from England—were overwhelmed with demands for the London illustrated journals; and the nationalities of other customers were at once made apparant by their demands. “Hae ye the Scotsman,” asked one, for whom the prized journal was read}'—he was an old buyer. “ I want the Limerick Chronicle," said another, to whom the ready bibliopole offered a Nation. “ No,” said the buyer feelingly, as he refused the Dublin journal, “ Limerick is nearest to me.” Out of doors hawkers of cheap vcgatables were busy, and far from the sea as Bendigo is, fish-retailers of Celestial origin trotted

about, with their stock in baskets slung on bamboo poles, calling their goods with a shrill and strange accentuation unsurpassed for novelty by the cries of the Christie Johnstones of Newhaven. But the streets are orderly, the family purchases are early made, and busses for Eaglehawk, Kangaroo, or Epsom, soon carry the weekly visitors of Pall Mall back to the welcome of their own firesides. Though the population has decreased, and w-ages have fallen, the prices of the necessaries, the comforts, the elegancies of life, have also been reduced. It is ascertained that the deposits in the banks, from the mining class, are not less now in proportion to the number of miners than they have ever previously been. I have already stated that the puddlers are investing their savings in quarlz claims. Others, I was glad to learn, prefer the certain returns derivable from Government debentures. Others again are turning their attention to agriculture, though the occupation licenses, issued by the Government of which Mr. Heales was the head, for a time disturbed the market for land, and the small prices obtainable for agricultural produce during the summer made farming less attractive than it wras before. Market-gardening has also its followers, and vines and tobacco have been planted on a fair breadth of land. From the vineyards great expectations are entertained, as it is believed that a port will hereafter be supplied from Bendigo equal to that of the Douro. In the town of Sandhurst itself there have been great improvements, though its pace has not been, equal to that of Ballarat. Bents have fallen greatly of late. As compared with last year, shops in Pall Mall are-rented at least fifty per cent, cheaper. Those which were rented at £14 per week have fallen to £7, and

those which last year produced £5 per week are now offered at £2. Carriage of goods was high, but the railway is now opened, and if ordinary prudence animates the officials in making their arrangements, the saving in carriage on 1,200 tons of goods per week will of itself be no small item of gain to the district. When I look round Bendigo, therefore, and see what has been done and what is doing, the immense field of auriferous quartz which has to be reduced, the unbounded promise of the unopened hills and valleys, the many untouched mineral deposits, and the large tracts of land fit for agricultural settlement which bound it on the Campaspe and the Loddon, I must say that if there are people who imagine that Bendigo is worn out, or has seen her best days, I am not among them.

Chapter VIII.

THE WIIIPSTICK.

Northwards from Bendigo, and north-westwards from Huntly, spreads out an extensive district, known as the Whipstick, from the peculiar character of the scrub with which it is covered. Almost from the time when an accidental discovery of auriferous stone gave the name Golden Point to the first diggings on Bendigo, the Whipstick has been regarded with great interest by the miners. Some of the richest gullies subsequently discovered traverse the small ranges between Kangaroo Flat and the Whipstick, and the opening up of the Elysian Flat diggings on its northern edge, did not lessen the faith of

the diggers as to the golden character of its hills and hollows. Probably» an air of romance was thrown over the locality by the difficulty which attended prospecting in it. The scrub was so dense, and the timber so high (whip like in form), that the traveller through it could not see a yard before him or around him—nothing but the blue sky over his head. Water was scarce and uncertain to reach. Every step had to be cut through a dense undergrowth of creepers and rank vegetation. The compass was the only guide through it, and to venture within its recesses, oven with that aid, was almost perilling life. It was supposed to be a favourite resort of “ old hands,” 5 who followed a retired life of mining, picking up occasional nuggets in fields where they were undisturbed by the presence of miners of another class, and who, it was asserted, varied the labours of the day with a little plundering by night, when a chance guest gave an opportunity, or when a lonely store presented unusual attractions in the gold it contained or the excellence of the liquors it boasted. This was the state of matters when, through the exertions of two active local gentlemen (Mr. Panton and Mr. Sullivan), two loads were cut straight through it, at right angles, the one line traversing it from south-east to northwest, and the other from south-west to north-east. Prospecting then became comparatively easy—soon various gullies were opened up and reefs found ; and some of the latest discoveries made on Bendigo have been in the scrub of the Wliipstick. I drove through it, for the purpose of visiting two of the latest found reefs, Unfortunate Bolle’s and Jacob’s, and though

there was comparatively little to see, the trip was not without interest.

Taking the road by way of Nelson Keef, and then turning to the right, and crossing California Gully, I came, at a distance of six miles from Bendigo, on the reef know as Wallace’s, and found a small and very primitive-looking battery of four or six head of stamps, driven by a small high-pressure engine, the property of a party of Germans. This reef, however, is worked out to the water-level. The holders of claims upon it were too poor to put down pumps, and as the stone had decreased in productiveness of gold as depth was attained, it is probable it will be left for-others to take up at some future day. On the surface, Wallace’s Beef gave six ounces to the ton ; but the last crushing, from stone taken at the water-level, gave only six pennyweights—a return which did not pay. Taking a track to the left, and driving through scrub in which traces of the road were almost obliterated, an unlucky turn from the path presently brought us (us, for I had the companionship of an experienced mining friend from Sandhurst) into a cul do sac, from which there was no escape but by the way we had entered. Our progress was arrested near a snug cottage, though rude enough in its architecture and structure, half hidden under the tall scrub which sheltered it. In a little gully in front of it, an old man, an old woman, and a little girl, were busy fossicking for gold in a gravel heap. My companion described them as old hands,” and if his information or calculation” was correct, they could not have chosen a spot more retired from the world in which to pass their lives away. The cottage was invisible at the distance of a dozen yards; thick

unthinned forest surrounded it on all sides, through which there was only the track by which we had come upon it, and numerous dogs guarding it warned stragglers away. Receiving information from the party, as to the proper direction to follow, we retraced our steps, and after a drive of another mile or so we found ourselves in Jacob’s Gully, in the midst of a small rush, on the edge of the true Whipstick. At the head of a little water course, a party of honest Germans had found a reef, which they christened “ Jacob’s” after one of their number, about a month before my visit, and after six months’ prospecting. It is thirteen miles from Sandhurst. The reef was found on the surface, and the gold was got in it in good quantity, at a depth of forly feet, in a body of stone from five to six feet thick. The underlie was to the west, and here, as on the Victoria Reef, the stone was found to be richest on the west face. So marked, indeed, w'as this in Jacob’s Reef, that only from twelve to eighteen inches of the stone wras taken from the wrest side, from which an average of four ounces to the ton was obtained, the stone being crushed at the small mill already alluded to on Wallace’s Reef. Ten tons of stone had been taken from the eastern face as a trial lot, and the yield was only a single pennyweight. The week before my visit, eighty-nine ounces had been obtained from twenty-one tons of quartz. Five men could take out twenty tons in a fortnight, and as the wages of the hired men were £3 per week, and the crushing and carting W’as done for 10s. and 4s. respectively, the owners of the claim have been fortunate. They were said to deserve their good luck. They had long been unfortunate, though industrious, and with butcher

and baker, who had trusted them long, the}’ had run up a good score before the golden stone was got. To their credit be it said, their care was to discharge all their liabilities from the first fruits of the blessing which Dame Fortune had given them.

The discovery of the reef had immediately occasioned a little rush to the gully below it. Numerous white tents were pitched irregularly along its course under ironbark trees, and along the windings of the diminutive stream not fewer than 200 diggers were busy sinking, or rocking the restless cradle, or washing-up. They seemed to be pretty nearly of all nations, a tall, soldier-like East Indian, who emerged from a neighbouring hole as we talked to a party of Englishmen, having blackfellows—genuine Africans —for his neighbours on the other side. Like all the other diggings in the Wliipstick, this little valley was nuggetty. A seven ounce, a three ounce, and other small nuggets, had been found shortly before, and operations were going on hopefully and vigorously. Not far from Jacob’s Reef is the one known as Unfortunate Bolle’s, lately found by a party of foreigners, and the results of the first crushing from which raised great expectations on Bendigo. It was extraordinarily rich—as golden, it was reported by the local press, as any stone ever previously obtained—but unfortunately it was a patch on which the prospectors had lighted, and it was exhausted almost as soon as found, the subsequent crushings having for some time given only ten pennyweights to the ton. Since then, however, the stone has again improved, and good yields are now obtained from it.

From Jacob’s Reef, a short drive through Drunken Scotchman’s Gully—so named, it would appear, after

a cannie Caledonian with a hereditary lilting for us-quebae—brought us to a solitary hostelrie, established long before digging was known, where refreshment formanand horsecan beoblained by the traveller bound for the great Terrick Terrick plains that stretch out for some sixty miles from the edge of the Whipstick towards the Murray. This remote inn, I was sorry to learn, had been “ stuck-up” not many months ago, by “ old hands” of the neighbourhood, it was supposed. The “ lone widow woman” who then kept it had suffered a serious loss, both in money and in goods, and her age had not protected her from the violence of the robbers. She left the scene soon after, succeeded in her business by one better able to protect his household in such an emergency.

Invisible from the inn, from the thickness of the forest, but not more than a mile from it, is an eminence known as Flagstaff Hill, the highest in the Whipstick, from which an extensive view of the scenery is obtained. It is a vast mass of quartz, with little gullies at its feet where diggers and puddlers have worked, and with open cuttings and a shaft or two on its sides, from which quartz has been taken, but not hitherto found payable. Numerous reefs, I may remark here, have been traced out in this neighbourhood, but none of them in which gold was not found on the surface have been opened up. Crossing some of the old workings, in which vast masses of not unlikely looking stone are revealed, my companion and I soon reached the top, and found a party of men, under the guidance of a surveyor, busy in the erection of a huge pyramid of quartz, for the purposes of the trigonometrical survey now being carried out in this district. The view well repaid the visit. Southwards

lay Bendigo, with the line of Cape Clear Reef, Specimen Hill (Eagle Hawk), and the head of Sailor’s Gully, rising over the whipstick and ironbark. Par to the south-west Tarrengower Mount was visible, thirty-five miles distant. To the west, Sunday Morning Hill, the peaked Kohiyoora, and Mount Moliagul. On the north-west, Mount Korong, and to the north Pyramid Hill, rising up like the Sugar-Loaf of Monmouthshire, broke the level of the plains ; while to the east spread out a flat country, the line of which seemed scarcely broken by the numerous gullies which traverse it, and which two or three years ago, held a large population. On all sides stretched out a forest apparently without limit and inexhaustible, while the distant mountains seemed to enclose it in a vast amphitheatre, broken only on the east.

From Flagstaff-hill the lines of Panton’s roads are traceable, though the roads themselves are again almost overgrown by the scrub. Northward, at a distance of some six miles, is Elysian Flat, so named by the prospectors from the floral beauty of the scene which presented itself to them as they first emerged upon it from the Whipstick some five years ago. On this diggings a very large population was at one time engaged, and it is not yet exhausted. It was very rich but nuggetty, and when the first bloom of its wealth was exhausted, it was abandoned for newer fields, and has never been re-rushed. It is now left to Chinamen, of whom there are a considerable number upon it. Two years after the rush to Elysian Flat, a shallow diggings was found between it and Flagstaff Hill. The sinking was only three feet in depth, and speedily some 10,000 diggers were upon it. Like all shallow diggings, however, it was soon exhausted,

and as the chance of lighting upon a nest of nuggets became smaller, new rushes speedily left it as silent as before. In the scrub to the east and north, there are numerous gullies, where gold has been found in considerable quantities. Among these are the Whip-snake, the Beehive, Phillips’s, and the Skylark diggings—the latter having received its name from the circumstance of an English lark having been heard pouring out its peculiar song, by some of the earliest diggers on the field, as they pitched their tents for the first time on the new field. All these gullies, however, are abandoned for the present.

It is curious that at Huntley, only five miles distant to the south-east, the gold is fine, and evenly distributed, at a depth of from ninety to a hundred and four feet; while all around Flagstaff Hill the diggings were shallow and patchy, and the gold coaree and nuggetty. The quality of the gold, too, was different, that of Epsom and Huntly being more valuable. Is there a second bottom here ? It is difficult to understand why the characteristics of the two localities should be so extraordinarily different, while they are so near and similar in their surface features. Deep sinking may hereafter be followed with success on these now deserted fields. At all events, it is not supposed that the gullies and flats of the Whipstick have been exhausted. In every hollow traces of gold can be found ; and if ever the old diggings are re-rushed, there cannot be a doubt that stores of gold will be unearthed. Twelve miles north of Flagstaff Hill, indeed, on the plains, a new diggings, known as Emu Point, has been found, where a small number of men are doing well at present. Fresh researches may trace the precious metal far out on the plains, and to the

Murray itself. It is not probable, however, that unassisted prospecting will bring out new discoveries in this direction for a length of time, seeing that the few parties now engaged searching out new fields in the Whipstick, have ample scope before them, in the scrub still uncleared and most difficult to penetrate. What has been done in it has been of a desultory character. Reefs have been opened, but not tested under favourable circumstances. Gullies have been rushed and forsaken without having been perseveringly or industriously examined, from the inability of the diggers to stand the chances of patchy ground, or to risk the earnings of a fortunate week in the unremunerative labour perhaps of months. The Whipstick, however, is a tempting field of exploration for miners possessed of means, and for assisted and well-organised prospecting. There is no physical reason why it should not contain reefs as rich as those of Inglewood, and valleys as tempting to the alluvial miner as Iiin-gower. At present it is like a book unopened, or with a page marked here and there.

Chapter IX.—MALDON.

PUBLIC QUARTZ MINING COMPANIES, AND THE CAUSES OF THEIR FAILURE.

If ever the history of quartz-mining on Maldon—or Tarrcngower, its native and better name— is written, it will be found “a strange story,” not easy to comprehend, and hard to believe. It will contain a narrative of splendid individual successes ; of fortunes rapidly made, and 1 ost as lightly as they came ; of substantial companies

praised and puffed into a magnificient position on the market, and then brought to the very verge of ruin by a despair as reckless and insane; of ruinous disagreements between claim-holders, where union would have been strength and wealth ; of promising companies utterly sacrificed by the over-caution of timid shareholders ; and of others saved only by the extreme prudence of directors, in the face of a folly on the part of subscribers the full measure of which can scarcely be realized by a stranger to the circumstances. I am not about to tax myself with the discharge of this task, nor am I going to retail old stories or errors of judgement and blunders of management that are better forgotten. It is sufficient for my purpose to state that in Maldon, the last district of the colony to share in the mania for company-creating, all the follies of the time were out-follied ; that its effects paralyzed mining enterprise; and that, after long suffering, the district of Tarrengower is now undergoing a recovery, with a promise of vigorous health before it, if the moral of the lessons of the past is regarded for the future. I shall touch upon past failures and follies only so far as to point that moral, by showing how the bubble was blown, how it burst, how little reason there was for its being blown, how little cause there was for the reaction that followed, and how much there is to hope from the district if wiser councils prevail for the future, as they are likely to do.

The district derived the name by which it was originally known from Mount Tarrengower—the “big rough mountain”—along the eastern side of which the municipality spreads itself out towards Eaglehawk on the north. The mountain shelters it on the west, lines of reef workings stretch along the east, and beyond them the forest through which, at a distance of some miles, the

Loddtm finds its way. A rival to Mount Macedon and Mount Alexander, the Mount of Tarrengower is a prominent object of the landscape, as seen from many distant points of view; and if the visitor who ascends to its summit up the pretty little ravines in its sides, and through the woods which clothe the mountain almost to its top, is favoured with fine weather, one of the most charming prospects is obtained which the lowlands of this colony, as distinguished from the highlands of the Gipps Land ranges, afford. Vast masses of quartz exist in this mountain. From claims upon it—such as Lisle’s Reef—fortunes have been won. Valuable reefs, such as those of Manton’s Gully, Cookman’s, and Parkins’s, extend themselves at its feet, and parallel with them on the east, run the German, the Beehive, the Eagleliawk, 'the Linscott, Wattle Gully, the Nuggetty, and others, almost all of them rich, and some of them remarkably so. Here quartz-reefing established itself at an early period, Eaglehawk Reef having been opened up eight years ago, and Nuggetty Reef having been discovered in 1855. The latter is, perhaps, the most remarkable in the district, but the Eaglehawk is one of the most important and I may shortly notice it first. This reef is one of the best defined in the district. It is worked upon for a length of full 4,000 ft., and presents a breadth varying from three to thirty feet. It has been followed to a depth of 200 ft. towards its northern end, and of 150 feet in the ground leased by the Eaglehawk Association, or South Eaglehawk. It was very golden on the surface, and long before the most primitive of quartz-reducing machines had been introduced, the miners upon it had contrived to do well by knocking out rich specimens with hammers amd crushing them in a mortar. One of the earliest prospectors of the reef was fortunate enough

toobtain £800 worth of gold in this manner, on the strength of which he visited England, finding on his return the scene and its surroundings as much altered as if he had slept the sleep of Rip Van Winkle, and the changes of long years had come over him in a night. Parallel with the Eaglehawk, close to it—so close, indeed, that, as some presume, they probably unite at no great depth—runs Linscott’s Reef, from which excellent crush-ings have been obtained, and on which two public and numerous private companies are at work. On the Eaglehawk Reef also there are two public companies, both of which are well known to Melbourne mining-men. The first of these is the Eaglehawk Union Company, which is classed with the “ progressive” mines, or those that have not paid a dividend. It is registered under Pyke’s Act, and has a subscribed capital of £18,000, though shares amounting to £15,610 only have been sold. Placed high on the reef, with defective machinery, and a small claim, this company struggled long, but unsuccessfully, towards public favour. Often want of water compelled a suspension of operations, or its purchase was costly, while the insufficient machinery and partial development of the mine made the returns still smaller. The directors however, grappled manfully with their difficulties. They put down new machinery, they enlarged their reservoir, and at a cost of £1,400 they added a set of six revolving pans, the invention, or adaptation, of Messrs. Vivian, of Castlemaine. Into these pans the whole of the tailings are passed for amalgamation after they cross the usual ripples and copper plates. From the 12th of August, 1859, when operations were commenced, to the 26th of June, 1862, the machinery crushed 11,332 tons of quartz, the produce of which was over 5,064 oz. of smelted gold. From the 24th August,

18G1, to the 26th June, 1862, the revolving basins saved ],-102i oz. of amalgam, equal to about 300 oz. of gold. These basins have, therefore, repaid their cost within a year. The lowest yield per ton was 3| dwt. ; the highest oz. ; and during the last year an average of between ten and twelve pennyweights was maintained. In the end of November of last year, however, the operations of the company had left them ¿61,165 in debt, and circumstances induced the directory to let the mine on tribute. The result was that the tributors obtained about 1,155 oz. of gold up to the 26th of June last, worth £4,500, and that the per centage—a fourth— payable to the company, enabled the directors to reduce their liabilities to less than ¿6600. The necessity which led to the letting of the mine may be admitted, but the policy of the measure, estimated by its results, is doubtful. Practically, it was a transference of the business of the company to three volunteers, whose resources were mainly those of the company itself—the gold in the quartz they raised. Assistance had to be rendered to the tributors, and it is difficult to understand what were the precise advantages the company gained, for the seventy-five per cent, of their gold which they thus gave away for the working of their mine. Passing this over, however, it must be admitted that the position of the Union Company is satisfactory. Within a few days after my visit, they struck the Linscott’s Reef within the area (seven acres) leased by them from the Crown, and found it broad and rich. The returns they will obtain from this stone, added to the satisfactory average of the yield of the Eaglehawk Reef, will speedily wipe off the small debt that hangs over the company, and transfer it from the list of progressive to that of “ dividend” mines.

South from the Union Company’s works are those of the Eaglehawk Association. It is hardly a couple of years since the fine plant of this company was put upon the ground. It has two large engines—one for pumping—and it has an unlimited supply of water. It has returned £4,000 in dividends, or twenty per cent, of the capital, and yet for months lately no work has been done in it, and only the fortunate circumstance of the directors having declined to incur any liabilities on behalf of the association saved it from the untimely fate of the Perseverance Company. The history of the company, indeed, is instructive. Long before the plant was erected, the shares of the company had fallen to something like forty per cent, discount. Before it was possible that the character of the speculation could be ascertained legitimately, £5 shares were sold in the Melbourne market at a trifle over £3. Soon afterwards a rich patch of gold was discovered. Two thousand ounces were obtained from it, and shares almost at once rose to fifty per cent, premium. The director of the company warned the shareholders that the rich stone was but a patch, which might soon be exhausted. Very golden stone, associated with much that was poor, was the characteristic of the reef. But his prudent suggestions with reference to moderate dividends, the creation of a reserve fund, and the prospecting of the company’s ground at a greater depth, were almost over-borneby thercstless impatience of a certain speculating portion of the Melbourne shareholders; and the influence they subsequently brought to bear on the management of the company, resulting in the appointment of a new director and a new board of management, composed almost entirely of Melbourne men, had the effect that might have been foreseen. The rich patch was worked out, the reserve fund was drawn upon and

spent, fresh discoveries were not made, the shareholders refused to contribute that the shaft might be sunk and the deeper ground prospected, and the works came to an entire stand. More rapidly than they had risen, the shares tumbled down in value, and lately they were to be had in the open market for a shilling a share. Had the plant been sold under the hand of an auctioneer, it would have fetched a price that would have paid a better dividend than the sum at which the shares were thus sacrificed by hasty and thoughtless or hard-pressed holders. This appalling decline in the value of a mining property, was hastened by a change which the directors had made, acting for the best, in their machinery. Their mining manager recommended the substitution of a plan of his own—known as Evans’s box—for the ordinary stamp box. Its peculiarity was, that it had no gratings . in the sides. The tailings were forced over the top, and the advantages expected Were, the more perfect pulverization of the stone, and retention of ¡he gold. From the moment of the change, however, the yields declined. Less stone was crushed, and the gold was beaten so fine that it seemed to escape with the water. For some time it was supposed that the stone was becoming poorer, but the diminished yield was attributable to the new box. Stone subsequently tested gave two pennyweights in Evans’s boxes, and similar stuff taken to a neighbouring mill, and passed through the ordinary box, ripples, and Chilian mill, gave sixteen pennyweights per ton. There is every reason to believe, therefore, that had the old boxes been retained, the company would not have been compelled to suspend operations. In this state of matters, the shareholders, as I have already remarked, refused to contribute pro rata, that the mine might be better examined, and all work was suspended ; the bad

repute of the new boxes driving public crushing away at the same time. Afterwards, the old discarded director, who never wavered in his faith in the mine, took.it up on the system of tribute. One of his first cares was to restore the old boxes to their places in three out of the six batteries, and to lay down blankets at the end of the ripples. Working one-half only of the really beautiful plant belonging to the association, he had obtained forty ounces of gold in the fortnight preceding my visit—a return which gave to the tributors £4 per week per man, after paying expenses. I am glad to be able to add, that sounder views have recently animated the shareholders of this company. They have been persuaded, under the new management into which its affairs have fallen, to tax themselves to the extent of a shilling per share to prospect the mine ; and with commonly active and prudent direction, there can be little doubt as to the ultimate success of the company.

£ But among the first questions a stranger asks on visiting Eaglehawk is—why should there be two companies on the reef; and why should the ground between them—that of the Central Eaglehawk Company—be left unworked 1 It seems to me that the first of these questions is extremely pertinent, and that if larger views prevailed in the directorate of the two companies, one of the earliest measures proposed would be an amalgamation on terms that would be mutually fair. One-half of the expenses of management would be saved, the pumping could be done by the Association for the whole of the reef, the Union Company would be assured of water at all seasons, the crushing power would be very great, and if the central ground were thrown in— now unworked because the water-line has been reached, the claimholders are too poor to provide pumping machinery,

and the discredit into which Maldon companies fell some eighteen months ago precluded the ground from being offered to the public—one large company would take the place of three small ones, and a much poorer yield than the Eaglehawk stone averages would enable it to pay good dividends. By such a combination, the reef could be fairly prospected. The depth at present attained is inconsiderable, and the experience of the district is not opposed to the supposition that richer stone,would be met with lower down. Should Linscott’s Reef be found to traverse the ground of the three companies, their union would be still more desirable. Such an union would give capitalists confidence in the future of the company, Under any circumstances, the two companies, whose works I have alluded to more at length, deserve a mueh better place in the esteem of the public than their present position on the share-list indicates.

Not far from Eaglehawk is Wattle Gully Reef, the scene of a company’s operations the failure of which adds another to the melancholy chapter of mining casualties. I allude to the Perseverance Company, the extinction of which occurred under circumstances that would be ludicrous if they were not too serious in their effects to those concerned. The reef was known to be good, but it was known also to contain a very large per centage of pyrites. A company was formed, the capital of which was small, machinery was obtained, and a drive 120 feet long was put in, but the funds then became exhausted. It was necessary that the drive should be extended some sixty feet farther, but the shareholders would advance no money for the purpose, and attempts to negotiate a fresh issue of shares failed. Some quartz was crushed—unsuccessfully, probably from proper means to reduce the pyrites not having been used, and

the gold in them having been lost. The tailings were tested, and four ounces of gold to the ton were got from them. No analysis of the stone, or of the pyrites, was ever made ; and before the requisite appliances could be introduced to test the stone thoroughly, and before the mine could be developed sufficiently to give it a fair trial, a pressing creditor stept in. Summary proceedings were followed by a summary judgment, and equally prompt action toot place upon it. The auctioneer was called in, and almost before the shareholders could be made aware of the state of matters, the plant had disappeared from the claim, and the latter itself was lost. As soon as the company had infringed the conditions of its title, the ground was jumped. The jumpers finished the drive which the company had left incomplete; they found no difficulty in dealing with the pyrites at the mills to which they carried their stone ; and w hen I was on the spot they were obtaining regularly two and a half and three ounces of gold to the ton out of the very ground from which the Perseverance Company were driven by the apathy of the shareholders to their own interests !

Of all the companies on Maldon, however, the Beehive and the Atlas are those which are best known to Melbourne men, and as their management had much to do with the evils that afterwards befel, I may deal with them together. The one is a gold-mining, and the other simply a quartz-crushing company, having certain drainage claims upon the reefers of German Beef, and receiving a certain proportion of all gold from that reef when the yield averages beyond two ounces to the ton. In the German Beef, however, the upper body of stone was worked out a considerable v. bile ago, and the second “ making” has not yet been found. The Atlas, therefore, was to all intents and purposes merely a pump-

ing and crushing company, with a good plant and excellent reputation. Its returns should have been certain and immediate, and its capital was only £7,000. The Beehive Company, with a capital of ¿£13,230, had developed their mine on a considerable scale, and paid a dividend or two. Both companies were in a fair way to do well, by walking the plain and level path before them, when speculation began. The first measure was to open a Melbourne agency, through a firm of brokers then well known on the Stock Exchange. Pictures of the mines were exhibited on the walls ; specimens of golden stone were shown in the room ; and the prospects of the companies, as flourishingly pourtrayed in monthly reports, and telegrams flashed backwards and forwards, were trumpeted by the agents. When a non-shareholder, with the air of a purchaser about him, came within earshot, the merits of the Beehive and Atlas were poured into him as pertinaciously as the tale of the Ancient Mariner to the wedding guest. A dividend of five per cent, for the month was declared about this time, and sixty per cent, per annum was confidently held out as the minimum return that would be given to the investor by those two unrivalled companies. Shares began to rise. The dividend, in the case of the Atlas, it afterwards appeared, was paid out of the capital. The peculiarity of that company, indeed, was, that while it was constantly making profits, according to the periodical returns, it was continually getting more and more into debt. Claims were bought as valuable, though it seldom proved that the purchase was a bargain for the company. In the meantime, however, the ball rolled well. Mysterious paragraphs appeared in the local journal. It was now a rich yield from the Beehive ; now, a faint sketch of a dazzling prospect, nothing less than f 2

“ walls of gold,” in Swiper’s Reef; now an anticipatory sketch of a favourable report; and now an intimation of an approaching dividend. Those stories floated readily about ’Change; they occasionally found their way into metropolitan journals ; doubts were never thrown upon them by the Melbourne agency ; and rapidly the shares went up. Beehives crept from thirty or forty per cent, discount up to par, to twenty-five per cent., to fifty per cent., to 100 per cent., to 150 percent, premium ! Shrewd capitalists were said to have invested in them— and there was confidence in consequence. Four dividends of 5s. each had been paid, up to October, I860. Some £3,300 had thus been returned to the shareholders ; and on the strength of those dividends £5 shares had gone up to fifteen guineas. The Atlas, in the preceding month, had paid a second dividend (also from capital), bringing its total return to 2s. 6d. in the pound, and this small result had helped the selling price of the shares from 20s. to over 60s., or two hundred per cent, premium ! The end of such a state of matters could not be long delayed. The agency had been too lavish in its promises; the “ walls of gold” had been too strongly pictured. Shares began to fall, and an effort to bolster them up ruined those who made the attempt. Prices had gone up like the rocket, and they came down like the stick. There were no more dividends. Adverse balances in banks, debts previously unknown, and complicated accounts, began to be discovered, until in the reverse the really fine property of the Beehive Company was nearly sacrificed ; while the Atlas was thrown into difficulties from which eighteen months of good profits from public crushings, under different management, have not relieved it. The truth was, that while both companies were sound at heart, there was no legitimate

ground for the enormous private and public puffery that lifted them into an illegitimate repute ; and good and careful management would have preserved them from the discredit into which they fell. The Atlas now goes on its course steadily, as prosperous, but less praised than before. The “ walls of gold ” were myths ; but its returns from public crushings have redeemed its debt, or nearly so, and enabled the directors to add to their crushing power. If the claimholders on the German Reef can be brought to take a common sense view of their position, and amalgamate their, claims with the plant of the Atlas Company, both will gain, and a strong company will be formed, which may largely benefit the district.6 The Beehive has recovered from its difficulties, and the adoption of a system of tribute, and the employment of blankets to save the gold, have turned the tables on misfortune. The company have now a reserve fund, erected new batteries of revolving stamps, and have a large body of stone in two distinct reefs to operate upon. The Beehive Company will crush hereafter a largely increased quantity of stone, and in all probability will realise any reasonable expectations that may be formed regarding the mine.

Chapter X.

MALDON MINING COMPANIES-CONTINUED.

Two new mining adventures on llaldon were submitted to the public when the Beehive and the Atlas were at the height of their fictitious prosperity, and were subscribed to, in the face of failing confidence in mining

companies generally, mainly on the reputation of the names connected with them. Those two companies were the Concord and the Grand Junction. A third was projected by speculators in Melbourne, which was to operate on Nuggetty Flat, and it was only shut out by the extreme anxiety the promoters of the Concord and Grand Junction displayed that Maldon should not be disgraced in the eyes of the outside public by the formation of a company upon it to which the unwholesome designation of swindle could in any manner be attached. It will not be disputed that certain personal advantages were intended to fall to the share of the originators of both of the companies I have named ; but I am free to admit that in both cases there were reasonable grounds for the formation of companies, and that under more favourable circumstances both would have escaped the perils they have undergone. As it is, the one has fair hopes of success, and the other promises to become a valuable property for those who have had the resolution to subscribe the deed and fulfil the obligations thèy voluntarily took upon themselves. The early history of both, however, was distinguished by more than the usual mistakes ; and that of the Grand Junction is a romance among quartz-mining stories. The ground which was sold to the Concord Company was a hill of quartz, white and poor. A prospect could be washed out from the surface at any time, showing traces of gold ; but even thè promoters of the company were unable to say that they knew what was in the ground, or that an average yield equal to the smallest average given by any other reef in the district could be calculated upon. The utmost that could be said in its favour, even in private, was, that there was plenty of quartz, and that if powerful machinery were put down, a small yield per

ton would give a dividend. Expectations, somewhat rose-coloured, were held out to the public, and the promoters received a considerable reward for floating'’ the company, or for their own interest in the ground— but in shares, fortunately. The capital subscribed, and the first call paid, the usual course was taken. The deepest shaft was sixty feet, and the drives were few> if any. It was not thought necessary to prospect the reef; and a powerful engine was ordered, with twelve head of stamps, and room in the buildings for twelve more. When the next call became due, it was found that the deed had never been registered. Endless difficulties ensued, and numerous legal perils were surmounted with much trouble. At the end of two years of anxious labour, by various boards of management, the result is a mine let on a poor tribute, not yet prospected deeper than sixty feet, and with the machinery for saving gold only brought into a state of efficiency within a few days. The name of the company has never found its way into the share-list. It is probable that a single share in it has never been sold. It is quite certain that the stock was utterly unsaleable, and it is possible it will remain so. But a dog may be a good dog, and yet get a bad name. The company shared in the general discredit, and want of means has prevented common justice being done to the adventure. The Concord Company are free from debt, and they have a fifty-horse power engine, and a battery of twelve stamps. Patience and time will, perhaps, give a better tone to the affairs of this company.

The second adventure to which I have alluded was the Grand Junction Company. Its scope was good, and all would have been well had it fallen upon better times. There were two claims high up on the Mount, from which golden stones had been at one time obtained.

These were Manton’s Gully Reef and Lisle’s Reef. The one had machinery, and the other had water facilities. Separately they could not be worked to advantage, combined they would be valuable. Out of this idea the Grand Junction Company arose, with a capital of £20,000, of which £5,817 were represented by ground shares. The first call produced £6,253, the second £329, and the third £294, or £6,876 in all. But the company had hardly been formed when it got into difficulties. How or why, was never clearly made known to the shareholders. One of the two machines on the ground was sold, possibly to discharge pressing liabilities ; and so much of the money raised by calls as passed from the hands of those who collected it into those of the company, seems to have been spent in such “ sundries'’ as the removal of the second plant from one portion of the ground to the other. At all events, the information vouchsafed to the shareholders did not extend much beyond the usual limit observed by secretaries. That another call was due, and legal proceedings about to be commenced for the recovery of the money, was about all the subscribers had heard when they discovered that an anxious creditor, with an appetite like that of a Welsh giant, had obtained judgement against the company, and to satisfy it had swept off the entire plant under the hammer. The loss is set down with stoical brevity in the books as follows—“ To loss by sheriff’s sale, £6,500.” The debt, observe, was little over £600. Even a worse blow, however, was to follow ; for the very ground itself was jumped within a few days afterwards, and the first business of a fresh board of directors and of a new secretary, elected by Melbourne shareholders as a desperate remedy in a desperate case, was to re-claim the ground, which they fortunately succeeded in doing on

appeal to the Minister of Mines. Nothing could be less promising than the aspect of the company’s affairs a few months ago ; but it must be confessed that they have materially improved since. It is admitted that the ground they hold is amongst the best on Maldon. It had given rich returns, and portions of it leased on tribute of ten and fifteen per cent, to the company produced to the tributors in two months a sum of ¿£1,915 18s. 3d. As much as forty ounces to the ton have been obtained. At the time of my visit a small rush had taken place to what was believed to be a new reef on the Mount. Numerous claims were marked off, and shafts were going down, when it was discovered that the reef was within the ground of the Grand Junction Company, and the intruders were at once warned off. The company have since let, at a higher rate of tribute, other portions of their ground, and still hold a large extent in their own hands. They have a safe and certain income coming in, and likely to improve from week to week ; they have no expenses to pay beyond those of the office ; the capital is now small, a large number of shares having been forfeited, and dividends will ultimately be paid upon shares that were valueless a few months ago. A proposal has been made to the directors, it may be added, for the driving of a tunnel right through Mount Tarrengower, to commence in the Grand Junction Company’s ground—a proposal which may lead to important results, both to the company and to the district, if it is carried out.

Simultaneously with the Concord and the Grand Junction, the Parkins' Reef Company entered the field. Happily, this scheme engaged the attention of local capitalists only. 1 ts progress was slow, the speculative element having been wholly discarded by its [promoters and in its

management. It was originated for the purpose of buying up and working claims on a well-known and really auriferous reef, that had been worked down to the water level. There was rich stone under the water, but the flow was greater than man and horse could overcome, and the capital of the holders was insufficient to provide steam power. The directory wisely resolved, seeing what was passing around them, to owe no man anything, preferring to develope their enterprise slowly, and as their funds afforded, rather than rush in as others had done, forestall calls, create mortgages, and so bring down upon themselves the certain ruin that had come upon the Perseverance and other companies similarly situated. As calls came in, therefore, they bought a magnifjpent engine of sixty horse-power, and put up a battery of tu’enty-four revolving stamps, with an amalgamating apparatus. They excavated a large and deep dam, and they sank and timbered a very fine shaft to the water level. The plant is, probably, the best in all the district ; but pumps have still to be put down, and the water to be overcome, before returns can be obtained. The company is free from debt; the arrears of calls are sufficient to meet the cost* of pumps; and it is for the few shareholders who are in arrears to discharge their obligations to the company, to enable it to attain at once a satisfactory position. Tributors are now working the upper ground ; and on the day when I looked over theplantand claim they had brought up some beautifully rich stone from the main body of the reef, at the water level. The success of this company, therefore, is as certain as its present position is sound. On the same reef, and at no great distance, the Independent Company has placed its large machinery. It was formed soon after the Parkins, and it made the great mistake of refusing

to co-operate with that company, preferring to work its own ground with its own machinery. The result is that two powerful crushing- machines, capable of putting through 400 or 500 tons of quartz per week, have been built within a couple of hundred yards of each other, and that both are idle, or nearly so. A very large amount of capital has thus been spent, where half of it would have served, and the other half would have supplied all that the Parkins wants, and have thoroughly opened up the reef. When the amount of money is calculated which might have been obtained from the quartz, and dispensed in wages and dividends in the district, during the last twelve or fifteen months, had those two companies been united, the folly of the too independent members of the Independent Company becomes grimly apparent.

I might now pass on to describe Cookman’s, the North and South Linscott’s, and other paying or promising claims, and to show how the Reform Company, falling into the same errors as others, has disappeared from the scene; but the companies I have selected for more detailed notice embrace all those which have claimed much attention in Melbourne, and the true position of which it was therefore desirable to ascertain. Of the others I could say no more than I might say of scores of companies throughout the various gold-fields. I pass on, therefore, to give a hasty sketch of Nuggetty Reef, to which reference has more than once been made. Nuggetty has disputed with Maxwell's and Poverty Reef the fame of being the richest in the colony. It lies considerably to the east of Eagle Hawk Reef, and is found in the side of a high granitic range overlooking the extensive plain known as Nuggetty Flat. It was accidentally discovered at its northen extremity by Mr.

A. Pettit, in 1855, as he was looking for some stray horses on the hill. At that point it is suddenly cut off by a band of granite, and it has not as yet been traced on the plain below, though a considerable lead of gold has recently been found there, three claims wide, and averaging half an ounce to the load in the centre, and a quarter of an ounce on its sides. Nuggetty Reef is almost perpendicular, with walls of granite ; but, like Poverty Reef, it is not uniformly rich, some of the claims having been very valuable, and in others little or no gold having been obtained. The claims are nearly all small, having been taken up early, mostly in days when twelve feet square per man upon a reef was the rule. In some, gold has never been lost from the time the reef was first struck on the surface, having been carried down to a depth of 300 feet and more. The reef has other peculiarities about it in which it resembles Poverty. It spreads out to a great breadth below, and is found, not in one continuous bod}7 of quartz, but cut off into three or more makings,” by broad bands of granite, and at the lowest depth by basalt and granite mixed. Each “ making” of stone, also, as depth is attained, is richer in gold than that above it; and, like most other reefs, the metal is more plentifully distributed on one side than on the other. Unlike the other reefs of Tarren-gower, which vary from white to yellow and red, the quartz of Nuggetty is singularly dark, from the admixture of basalt which it contains. It is found to increase in pyrites as the workings go deeper ; and the stone, therefore, is calcined before it is crushed, though it contains much lessarsenic than Poverty Reef. In Chrystal, Pettit, and Co.’s claim, on the north end—thirty-nine feet three inches in length—a depth of about 300 feet has been attained, the feef at its widest being fourteen

feet. From this small claim, up to about October last, 25,000 oz. of gold had been obtained, assaying over 23 carats fine on the average, and sometimes going as high 23'3'5 The greatest yield ever obtained from the claim was 500 oz. from two tons of quartz, and 230 oz. from a ton and a-lialf. The largest return for one week’s crushing was 1,250 oz., or about ¿£5,000. During the year preceding October last, 3,7 87 I oz. of gold were got. The claim is held by five proprietors in unequal proportions. The Endeavour Company, on this reef, have been at work for two years, and have reached a depth of 315 feet. The shares are twenty four in number, and during the seven months preceding June last, ¿£219 per share was divided. They found the gold on the surface, and carried it down to sixty feet, when they lost it. At 120 feet they again found it, and kept it for forty feet of stone, when they again lost it. They went down perseveringly for eighty feet further, when they again reached golden stone. The average yield they obtain is three ounces to the ton, and they have the reef twenty five feet broad, though they take out only a breadth of about five feet of the better stone, leaving that which is inferior to an aftertime. This party take thirty tons of stone per week to the mill, from a claim ninety-six feet in length. In Walker and Co.’s claim a depth of 270 feet has been attained, the reef at that point varying from twenty-five to thirty feet broad. They have taken out as much as fourteen feet of the stone in width ; but they are now only removing about four and a-half feet of the reef, and an average of three ounces to the ton was got from the last 1,000 tons sent to the mill. When the reef had been followed down twenty feet in this claim, it was found to be“ cut off by a belt of granite twenty feet thick. This was cut through, and the reef again found.

At 250 feet deep a second band of granite, three feet thick, was found, and cut through, the reef being got again immediately below. In both instances the granite dipped from north to south, though the usual dip of the reefs in this district is from south to north, while those of Dunolly dip from north, to south, and some of them as much as one in three. In this claim the surface stone gave from three ounces to twenty ounces to the ton, growing in richness towards the lower part of each “ making” of stone. The upper lode began with an average of seven pennyweights to the ton, and the second lode with half an ounce, increasing to six ounces to the ton. These particulars will probably suffice to give the reader an idea of the peculiarities and wealth of the most famous reef on Tarrengower. They will show, however, that, rich as it is, and well deserved as is its repute, it must yield the palm to Poverty Iteef of Tarnagulla, if not also to Maxwell's Reef, Inglewood.

The alluvial of Tarrengower has not yet been exhausted. After a shower of rain the very children may be seen picking up gold in the streets, while small rushes are of constant occurrence. It was but the other day that a valuable reef, known as the Exploration, was discovered several miles from the township towards the Loddon. During the winter of 1862, the aborigines of the Loddon were in the habit of visiting the township frequently, and disposing of gold that evidently had come from some reef. They were solicited to point out the spot from whence they took it, and they assented, but led the messengers who went with them far away from the real scene of their discoveiy. At length they were tracked by a couple of miners from Peg-leg Gully, who are reported to have found a large body of natives busy knocking out stone from a reef somewhere towards that

.    ’ OF'. vyrtORIA. “    J; 7

known as Fcntiman’s. Recent discoveries on the south .t’ have almost filled up the blank about Muckleford between the gold-fields of Campbell’s Creek and Maldon, while on the north the space between Nuggetty Reef and Quaker’s Gully (of Dunolly) has been narrowed by the discoveries of Exploration Reef, and the approaches of the Burnt Creek miners towards the Loddon. The district has very large resources, and traces of other minerals than those of gold have been found. Largely, and for a length of time most injuriously, affected by the over-speculation of two years ago, it is rapidly recovering. A system of tribute has superseded that of hired men in nearly all the mines of the district, so far as public companies are concerned ; and, however much the policy of tributing may be open to argument, it has had the effect of freeing the management of those companies from difficulties, maintaining the yield of gold, and winning back public confidence in the value of the mines. If this steady course of honest industry is maintained, and if legitimate mining only, and not mere trading in shares, is followed for the future, there can be no reasonable doubt of the prosperity of the district. Maldon is beautifully situated as regards scenery. It lies on the main highway to the north-west, and a railway will probably traverse it ere long. If its advance in material wealth does not keep pace with the progress of the colony, the fault will be that of its own people.    .

Chapter XI.

CASTLEMAINE.

In the olden days, when Castlemaine was not, the reputation of Forest Creek as a gold-field was only surpassed by that of Bendigo and Ballarat. It was the first on which the new chum” set his longing eyes, after a tedious and fatiguing march from the seaboard, in heat and dirt; and the green and refreshing valley, sloping pleasantly towards the sunny north, must have been gladdening to the stranger, after the gloom and peril of the Black Forest, and the weariness of the long basaltic plain over which he had made his toilsome way. All the hills and valleys around were more or less auriferous, and where Forest Creek and Barker’s Creek joined their scant waters together, a canvas town speedily arose, grew as the diggers increased in number—valley after valley being found auriferous—and blossomed into the pretty township, built partly on the hills overlooking the creeks, to which the name of Castlemaine has been given. The town itself is one of the most advanced of those called into existence since the diggings were discovered, and takes rank after Ballarat and Sandhurst. The latter, indeed, it closely rivals; and it takes precedence of both in the fine market accommodation it has provided, to which farmers find their way, from far and near, on Saturdays, to dispose of their butter and eggs, and their pigs and poultry, to the diggers who flock in from the various diggings in the ranges round about to dispose of their gold and make their marketings. It is to its advantageous situation, indeed, that Castlemaine owes ' much of the well-established prosperity which it enjoys.

All the traffic to the north and north-west passes through it. Cultivation is rapidly extending around it, to great distances. Diggings, more or less populous, radiate from it in all directions. In the old workings, abandoned long ago by Europeans, the Chinese, patient and plodding, find not merely the means of living, but often affluence ; and in the market-place, to the poultry and pig seller they are liberal customers—roastpigbeing as popular in Guildford, amongst the almond-eyed race, as, according to Charles Lamb, it is in their native China. All round, indeed, settlement is rapidly taking place, and rival municipalities,such as Chewton, are springing up almost within hail of the town-hall. Its central position has been of importance to it in other'ways. Cobb’s coaching establishment—or, rather that of his successors—is in itself no small addition to the business of the municipality. The demands of mining companies for machinery have led to the creation of an engine-building establishment— Messrs. Vivian’s—which stands in good odour with the mining community; and the wants of the railway have led to the erection and furnishing, by Messrs. Cornish and Bruce, of one of the most complete and extensive founderies in Australia.

Approached from the north, the track—for road there is none between the two leading gold-fields of of the northern district—traverses Barker’s Creek, where considerable quantities of a coarse dark gold are got, though the creek was rushed and again abandoned years ago. From Ballarat, on the south-west, the road passes through some twelve or fourteen miles of diggings from Yandoit, through Guildford, the Chinese camp, and Campbell’s Creek. But it is in Fryer’s Creek, and in Forest Creek, on the south,

along the line of the main road to Melbourne, that the chief evidences are to be found of the extensive character of the alluvial diggings out of which Castlemaine has arisen. For miles the highway traverses in Forest Creek a valley torn about in every direction by the miners, the gravel of which has been washed over and over again ; and yet, in every direction diggers and puddlers are at work, though the Chinese seem to be gradually dropping into the vacant places of their less easily satisfied European neighbours. Here, indeed, the alluvial has been less easily exhausted than on other fields, and of the gold which weekly finds its way to the banks or private gold-buyers, by far the largest proportion is still alluvial. Much of it is from the old fields, and some from the new gullies, every w-eek making known some fresh discovery ; while the tunnels under the basalt of Tabic Hill, and along the course of the Loddon, keep up a constant, if not a large supply, and the frequent rushes on a small scale, such as that to Pennyweight, add, occasionally, a considerable contribution to swell the weekly escort.

Reefing has not been followed up to an extent at all approaching what has been done at Sandhurst, Ballarat, Maldon, or Inglewood. The district is full of reefs, but the business of quartz-mining has not been pursued with perseverance. Various companies have been started from time to time, and have enjoyed a galvanic existence for a brief period, but one after another they have found their way to the wall. In some instances, this has arisen from difficulties inseparable from the metallic character of the stone; in some, from the reefs having proved poor, and the patience and capital of the adventurers having become

exhausted before the richer patches, which exist in one and all of them, were lighted upon; and in others, from the usual mismanagement of the officials, of which so much complaint has been made in other districts. Machine gold, however, begins to increase in quantity, and the success of the Ajax Company, on the site and with the machinery and claim of the old Bolivia Company, has stimulated enterprise in this direction. Undoubtedly, however, the character of the stone met with by some of the earlier companies had much to do with damping the ardour of the quartz-miners of this district The Specimen Hill Company may be cited in evidence. They possessed a reef of fine-looking white quartz, full, however, of pyrites of all kinds, magnetical, arsenical, and iron. Under the stamps the stone only gave two pennyweights of gold to the ton—a yield which did not pay expenses. The pyrites, however, averaged ten per cent., or ten tons in the hundred of quartz, and on analysis gold at rates varying from twenty-five to thirty-six ounces to the ton was got from these pyrites. “ Mundic rides a good horse,” is a Cornish mining proverb, but in this case the rider was rather too much for the steed. Copper pyrites, and galena, orsulphate of lead, were obtained from the same reef, and the magnetical pyrites, on being analyzed separately, were found to contain silver, with a small per centage of gold. With so large a loss of gold, it is little to be wondered at that the Specimen Hill Company did not follow up a losing business, and brought their accounts to a close. The Old Quartz Hill in Forest Creek offered a still more marked instance of the tendency of quartz to run into pyrites at and below the water level. In this reef arsenical pyrites so abounded, that scarcely any quartz

G

could be seen. The gold seemed to have been drawn from the stone by the pyrites, and was held by them in so fine a state that, when crushed in the ordinary way, such of the gold as escaped from the embrace of the pyrites swam off on the surface of the water. It is probable that these experiences had much to do with the disfavour into which quartz-crushing early fell in the mining localities of which Castlemaine is the centre. There is no doubt, however, that the abandoned reefs will yet become valuable. Whenever a process is discovered by which the gold can be separated from the pyrites and saved, or when the existing patents are found in practice to be effective, those mundic reefs will contribute largely to the yield of gold. Iteefs now disregarded, because no gold is seen in the stone, will also then become valuable—the pyrites holding and hiding the gold. Already small cooperative companies are giving their attention to claims that had been pronounced valueless and abandoned, and by greater industry, or by greater care in the treatment of their quartz, are obtaining good wages, and fair profits besides, from them. I had the pleasure of seeing a very handsome cake of gold in the Bank of New South Wales, the result of a crushing by a small company of the kind I am now referring to. Their success should stimulate others to follow in their steps.

All the reefs of Castlemaine, however, are not of the character of the Specimen Hill or the Old Quartz Hill. The Ajax and the Sir Henry Barkly companies show what may be done by perseverance, and what may be obtained by the fair exploration of ground traversed by auriferous reefs. I shall select the former of these companies for a few observations

more in detail, as its history deserves to be carefully studied by all who hold interests in mines, or may propose to themselves to join a mining adventure. The ground held by the Ajax was formerly the property of the Bolivia Company. It is situated about half a mile west of Castlemaine, the reef having been opened on the crown of a wooded hill overlooking Campbell’s Creek. The small gullies which seam the sides of the ridge were everywhere auriferous, and have been worked from their sources to the creeks below, into which they empty themselves. The Bolivia Company put up an excellent plant, consisting of a thirty-five-horse power engine, driving sixteen head of square stamps, with ripples and shaking-tables attached, to which blankets have since been added. They opened up an immense body of poor quartz on the surface; they formed tunnels and shafts for the economical transport of the stone to the mill, situated in the valley below; they erected whims, and made drives; and had overcome the preliminary difficulties of opening the mine, when some comparatively small claims became pressing. The arrears of calls due on shares held by one member of the copartnery would have been sufficient to discharge the whole of those debts; but the shares were in the hands of R trustee, who probably felt himself not in a position to risk a loss on mining property, and he declined to pay up. Law was not resorted to, its uncertainties in such cases being too great; and to prevent the property being swept off by a judgment creditor, for a trifling debt, the mortgagee stepped in, and the plant and ground were sold in the Court of Mines at Castlemaine, in the beginning of 1801, for £1,500, to Messrs. W. Clarke and

Son, and Messrs. Baillie and Butters, in equal shares. The first step of the new management was to let the mine on tribute. It was taken by a party of twenty men, headed by Mr. Phillips. Some of them had worked in it under the Bolivia Company, and they had so much faith in it that they advanced subsistence-money to some of their mates for, a number of weeks before really golden stone was reached. The tributors, in place of working the poor stone, commenced to prospect the mine, and their labours were speedily rewarded by the discovery of a splendid mass of auriferous stone, which they immediately began to knock out, and on which they are still engaged ; while they are at the same time carrying on the farther exploration of the ground. The result has been, that between the 25th of June, and the 9th of September, 1861, the gross yield of gold was 7,801 oz. 10J dwt., which realized £27,674 3s. 8d. For the week ending the 16th September, 195 oz. were got from 135 tons of stone. The tributors receive seventy-five per cent, of the proceeds, and the proprietors twenty-five per cent., clear of all expenses. The latter, therefore, for the work of a year and six weeks, ending on the 9tli September, received, in nineteen dividends, £5,355, and added £546 to a reserve fund, while the yield of the reef for the subsequent week would give tlffem an additional five per cent, dividend. Up to the 9th instant the twenty tributors had divided ¡621,773, less the expense of driving the mill. For the year ending June last the total quantity of quartz crushed was 2,038 tons, the yield of which was 6,295 oz. 3£ dwt., or an average of 3 oz. 1^ dwt. to the ton. In September last, 60 tons gave 420 oz., and 70 tons 401£oz.; in Novem-

ber, one crushing of 96 tons gave 505 oz.; in December, 104 tons produced 52 L oz., and 169 tons, 781 oz. 12| dwt. of gold. From these eloquent figures the shareholders of the old Bolivia Company can calculate for themselves how much they lost through the timidity of the trustee of one shareholder, and their own want of faith ! Nor must it be supposed that the tributors are “ picking the eyes” out of the mine. The lode they discovered was unknown to the Bolivia Company. It ran parallel with one of their drives in the 150 feet level, and not more than a few feet from it. The tributors drove through. the wall into new ground, and made the fortunate discovery. They have since followed it up, taking out a breadth of stone from six to ten feet wide, and they are now tracing it back to north and south. Northwards, the stone has been found to assume an average quality, running from seven pennyweights to an ounce to the ton ; but southwards, as the stone dips, it continues rich, and in a mass such as the labour of many months will not reduce. I indulged my curiosity by going down the shaft, and through both the old and the new workings. I saw where the Bolivia lq$ off, and where the Ajax began. I found a party of the tributors in a magnificent chamber of quartz, in which gold could be seen in floor, walls, and ceiling, and others tracing out the same body of stone in another drive. I saw that the stone was unpicked, and from every heap of it fine specimens for the cabinet might have been collected. I own that, forgetful of the Decalogue, I wished I were monarch of all I surveyed ! The reef rises in sandstone, and while a fair average would be obtained if the "'hole hill were crushed down from the summit,

there is no reason to suppose that more stone of equal richness may not be discovered when the splendid lode now being worked is exhausted. It is probably the intention of the company to add to their reserve until it reaches an amount sufficient to lay down a plant equal in power to that of the Blackhill Company (Ballarat), and, when the mine returns into their hands from those of the tributors, to crush all, from the summit of the hill downwards. If such be their intention, they have work before them for scores of years to come, from which certain dividends will be obtained such as few speculations of another kind will afford. The legitimate success of the Ajax should at least not discourage other companies who may attempt to go and do likewise.

Had time permitted, I should have visited Yandoit and Jim Crow. The first named of these gold-fields has been prolific in nuggets, and has one famously rich reef, known as Steele’s, of which little has been heard of late. Jim Crow has been popular for years among the miners, and from it one of the few fine diamonds the colony has yet produced was obtained. I was forced to content myself, however, wdth a run through the Chinese camp at Guildford, now comparatively deserted, and as far as Vaughan, to see the tunnelling operations carried on there to some extent. The road lies up Campbell’s Creek, now almost abandoned as a digging to the Chinese, whose perseverance in the excavation of vast paddocks is extraordinary. For years they were settled near Guildford in immense numbers, finding profitable employment in the bed of the creek and in the Loddon, but the Chinese rush to the old lead at MTvor, and to the Mary-

borough district, has greatly reduced the dimensions of ihe camp. Of this strange people, however, I shall have more to say in another chapter.

Vaughan is a small township at the foot of Table Hill, in the centre of a district which has always afforded wages to the miner, with occasionally a golden strike. Here a table land of basalt begins, extending for seven miles towards Newstead, where it is lost in the plains through which the Loddon flows. It is broken by watercourses into numberless hills, all of the same character. Here, when the bed and banks of the streams were exhausted, the diggers commenced to sink through the basalt, under which leads had been traced, whilst others associated themselves together, and erected small crushing-mills to reduce the hopperings from the old puddling mills, and the sludge which had settled in the bed of the Loddon— stuff easily crushed, and affording good wages Sinking through the bluestone was by no means an easy task, and only in rare instances was it found to pay. The gold, too,- was not always obtained at the same level. Tunnelling rapidly took the place of sinking, and in these large works parties have been engaged for two or three years and upwards. The level of these tunnels is considerably above the bed of the Loddon and its tributary creeks. Four men obtain, under the bye-laws of the district, 200 feet frontage, and 2,000 feet of ground measured backwards from the mouth of the tunnel. Parties engaged in this description of mining arrange themselves in day and night shifts, and work goes on day and night during the six days of labour. The expense of each tunnel is estimated atJ6700, including the valueofthe lubourof the party calculated at £3 per man per week. In Table

Hill, these tunnels passunderfrom fifteen to ninety-five feet of basaltic rock, and washdirt varying from five to seven feet in thickness is obtained. As a rule, the yield is poor, averaging from one and a half pennyweights to three pennyweights to the load of twelve tubs, six buckets to the tub. It is found that this yield scarcely pays wages, when the dirt has to be carted to the river ; but some of the tunnels have paid sufficiently well to encourage the miners of the district to regard tunnelling with great favour. One of them has given as high as £15 and ¿£22 per week per man to thirteen men, and has averaged £0 per week per man all the year round. In it, however, the ground was patchy. Where the tunnels abut immediately on the stream, wooden rails are laid down, and the drives are broad enough to allow a truck of considerable dimensions to pass, and high enough to permit the miners to walk upright. A staging is carried out from the slope of the hill at the tunnel’s mouth, from which a long open sliute descends to the bank of the river, where a “ long tom” reposes. When the tunnel is driven as far as it is intended to go, and the drives are made, and the roof propped where necessary, “blocking out” the wash-dirt begins, and the stuff is trucked to the staging, tipped down the shute, and piled at the bottom till the supply of water permits “ washing-up” to take place. Last summer so little water found its way down the Loddon, that for many months together not a tub of stuff could be washed, the bed of the river being dry. The cry of the miners of this locality is for “ water.” They are enthusiastic advocates of some such scheme as that of the Coliban, and they argue that if water could be conveyed from a main conduit along the edge of the

hill, and let down by pipes into the tunnels, an immense body of stuff now useless would be found payable. They calculate that cartage costs from 2s. 6d. to os. per load, while the value of a pennyweight of gold is 3s. 9d. For a sluice-headof water they could afford to pay 10s. per day, as such a supply would wash from twenty-five to thirty loads ; and even poor stuff yielding only one pennyweight per load, would give a profit to the tunneller, as four men could take out from forty to fifty loads per day, if the wash-dirt averaged four feet thick. With an artificial supply from such a fountain-head as the Coliban, whole hills would be made to pay, such as Bald, Sliicer, Kangaroo, and other made hills in Fryer’s Creek district; while the whole basaltic plain towards Newstead might be tunnelled with advantage. Some of these made hills, it is estimated, would average from three pennyweights to half an ounce to the load. Want of water is also much complained of by the puddlers. They can earn ¿3 per week per man, but on an average they are idle four months in the year.

I have already remarked that much of the land around Castlemaine has passed into private hands. Many of the tunnels are driven in private property, by arrangement with the owner of the land, wIiq usually receives a fifth of the gross amount of gold, the tunnellers finding all the labour and materials. If a claim is payable, it will last five years, but the risk the working party runs seems to be greater in proportion than their share of the gold when gold is got. It often happens that their labour is thrown away, the ground not proving auriferous, and in such cases the owner loses nothing. He has liberty to enter tho tunnel at all times ; he sees the gold washed out; he g 2

binds the miners that they shall not sell a share without his consent, under pain of the forfeiture of the share to him; and if the owner sells the land, and the new proprietor withdraws from his predecessor’s bargain, the tunnellers are left without redress— conditions that seem so hard as to call for amelioration by law. The Chinese element, I have said, is large on the Castlemaine field. In other respects the district presents less to interest, in connexion with my mission, than others I have visited. It is still unexhausted as an alluvial gold-field ; its quartz-reefs lie almost in their virgin state; and its basaltic plains can only be mined under slowly. It is not only possible, but probable, that under them there are leads as rich as those of Ballarat. Geological deduction favors the supposition, and points to the Loddon Plains as the scene of a great gold-field at some future period. Already prosperous, and dailyputting forth fresh evidences of growing wealth, there is no reason todoubt that Castlemaine will long maintain the position it holds amongst the gold-fields of Victoria.

Chapter XII.

THE CHINESE ON THE GOLD-FIELDS.

I took the opportunity presented to me at Guildford to look a little into the habits and customs of the Chinese, who now form so large an element in the population of our gold-fields. At Maryborough, MTvor, Sandhurst, and Ballarat, I had afterwards the means of extending my observations regarding this peculiar race, and I think I may say that the conclu-

sion at which I have arrived—that these people are a valuable addition to our labourers on the gold-fields —is shared by all who look at the Chinese question, as it developes itself in Victoria, apart from the prejudices of race, and the undefined and ignorant ill-will that is occasionally found to exist between peoples and tribes not so remote from each other as Saxons and Chinese. When Irishmen and Welshmen find it impossible to work together without constant broils in the iron and coal mines of Wales, and when the first oftheseimpulsiveraeesfinds ithard to maintain friendly relations with the “ Cousin Jacks ’’ of Cornwall, on so remote a field as this, it is little to be marvelled at that the less informed of the colonists—in high places as well as on the diggings—should find a constant irritation and a grievance in the presence of the Chinese amongst us, I shall not deal with the political aspect of the question, but I must remark that the spirit of Victorian legislation on the subject is entirely opposed to the views of the Imperial Legislature on the same question. While it has been the object of the British Government, in the treaties of late years, to insist on China being more and more opened up, and freely, to the enterprise of Englishmen, it seems utterly inconsistent with that spirit that we should impose a poll-tax of X10 on the entrance of Chinese visitors, and so drive them beyond our borders to evade it, by entering the colony where there are no preventive officers to stand in the way. It is even more impolitic still to enforce the law with so much rigour that it practically stops all intercolonial travelling by the Chinese. The policy of the tax is as short-sighted as it is opposed to British views and hopes with regard to China, and its operation is injurious.

In Melbourne itself, the Chinese make a considerable item of the population. The import trade from China and the homeward passenger traffic^ are largely, if not exclusively, in the hands of Chinese merchants, whose commercial reputation is of the highest class. Their premises, however, are not of the Grecian temple order. They do not obtrude themselves, and when they are sought out, the surprise of the stranger is natural when he is informed that cheques of five figures are not unfrequently honoured by the bankers to the signature of the owners of the small and dingy, and only-to-Chinese attractive,premises he sees before him. Little Bourke-street has become almost Cantonian in its aspect. Domestic altars have been built up in the little alleys attached to it, and strange little yellow faces, with black eyes, peep out of Chinese houses, where British mothers are to be found. In a fine temple of justice, law and equity are dispensed to voluntary suitors by Chinese magistrates, and after the maxims of Confucius. Chinese tea-sellers and toy dealers frequent our Eastern Market; gardeners of the same race follow their calling in the suburban municipalities; Chinese fishermen dwell in the scrub by the shores of the bay, and ply their trade in boats modelled in Hong Kong. Their shrill cries are welcome in the morning, as they call their fish soon after sunrise ; and, on summer nights, a plodding Mongol may nowand then be seen among the rocks off Brighton, fishing up mollusks, unknown to or despised by Europeans, for a savoury evening meal. It is with the race as they show themselves on the gold-fields, however, that I have to do.

Guildford, was long the main Chinese village ’in

the colony, some five or six thousand Chinamen, and one Canton woman, the wife of a travelled shipwright of that city, having formed the population of the “ Camp.” The site of the encampment was the elbow of land on the bank of Campbell’s Creek, between Yapeen and Guildford. In this valley there had been rich alluvial diggings, but it had been well worked out. by European diggers before the advent of the Chinese. The sinking, however, was easy, the average returns were good, and occasionally the finds were large. Here the Chinese drew together,and, in large associated bands, they introduced the system of paddocking, or stripping the superincumbent soil, taking out the wash-dirt bodily, and then restoring the ground to something like its first condition. It is understood that many of these men were brought in by capitalists of their own nation, under contract to work for small wages for a fixed period, and then gaining their emancipation. This, probably, was the case, but whether bond or free, “ John” was alike frugal and saving when he was out of luck or in debt, and equally enterprising and liberal when in good fortune. Rapidly the camp grew, in regular lines of streets, narrow and primitive, but highly populous and busy, while the whole valley was alive with Chinamen as they swarmed in their paddocks and holes. As a rule “John” contented himself with a calico tent of small dimensions, but he shaded it ingeniously from the sun by constructing a verandah of gum saplings, on Which a platform of boughs and leaves was constructed, the shade thus procured extending over the thin roofs, and thoroughly protecting the promenaders as they passed from shop to shop, or the tea-dealer as he sat at his unglazed window and tasted his own

wares, or the barber as he plied liis instrument on the poll of a customer in the doorway, or the smoker in the little opium den as he lay on his straw, in the sight of all who passed, and dreamt the sun-light away. So large became the trade of the “ Camp,” that Chinese omnibuses—some owned, and some driven, by Celestials—became numerous on the Castlemaine-road, and special Chinese coaches plied from it to Sandhurst, Castlemaine, and Ballarat, conveying, at small fares, daily crowds of hard-packed Chinamen, the ordinary luggage of these oriental travellers consisting of a huge cotton umbrella of the pure Sarah-Gampian pattern. Why they travelled, and what business they did when they reached their destinations, was a frequent puzzle to the men of other nations. They carried no samples, but doubtless there were commercial men among them. There were dignitaries and capitalists, literary men and men of many buttons ; but the universal blue jumper lined with wool, the thin blue jean trousers, cotton socks and shoes of worked silk with thick wooden soles, the small round hat (of the pork-pie class) the shaven or hairless face, and the pigtail —glory of ancient men-of-war of the British school— so typified the class, that to note a shade of difference between Ab-Lo of Canton, and Ah-Po of Hong Kong, might well embarrass the sharpest-eyed detective of our smart police force. In the days of its greatest glory, “ the Camp” had its permanent theatre and circus performers, and in every street its temples devoted to Joss were numerous. All the arts flourished in it—’ down to the making of alloyed gold—as they did at home. The restaurants, the tea-houses, the gambling saloons, the cobblers’ stalls, the tailors’ shops, were

as they are in Canton ; and the student of Chinese language and literature, manners and customs, politics and laws, might have studied and graduated here as well as in Pekin itself. There were shops for literature and shops for art; there were scholars to write your letters and interpreters to read them; there were doctors, and perhaps quacks, with peculiar rules of practice and medicines to suit—surgeons of whom it could not be said they had “ too mucliee sawee.” At the period of its history, “ the Camp” was the frequent resort of strangers, who rambled through it, amused at the strange contempt the Chinese seemed to entertain for domestic comfort orprivacy ; the open, eager, constant, childish delight they took in their own forms of gambling ; the simplicity of their faith in the divining rods of Joss ; and the quaintness of all their motions, proceedings, and notions, their drama, their music, their song, their dress, and their banners. Of late, however, “ the Camp” has been greatly shorn of its glories, and become but the semblance of what it was three years ago. Maryborough has drawn away a large portion of its inhabitants; Ballarat has possessed itself of its circus and theatre ; and a thousand or two of the last who deserted Campbell’s Creek are now to be found on the old lead at MTvor.

“ John,” as he is familiarly called, is not fond of “ a stone hole,” as he calls a quartz claim. He can dig an earth hole with any man, and in a paddock or at a pump he has patience beyond that of ordinary mortals; but quartz is a material hard to knock out, and troublesome to deal with afterwards. “John,” therefore, has scarcely intruded on that domain, his only attempt, so far, having been on Hiseock’s diggings, where the “ Kienvooqua Company” have struck

boldly into the auriferous stone, though “John” lias variously estimated the depth ho has there attained at “ten feet” and “one hundredweight.” At Dunolly, they are proposing to erect pumping machinery, to re-work the old deep lead. They associate in large bodies to carry out, co-operatively, some large paddocking enterprize ; they patiently labour in worn-out ground, with tub and cradle, where an European could not earn salt to his soup ; they wash up the sweepings of the public roads; they accept as part wages at Ballarat leave to fossick about in the refuse of the wash-dirt—not a particle of gold escaping them. They are most patient in poverty. If ill-fortune has befallen them, they will live on rice, or bread, butter, and sugar, contentedly, within four bare walls; and suffer without a murmur the extremities of cold, in a winter of such misery to sun-accustomed people as we have lately had. I have seen no Chinese beggars; and I have neither met with nor heard of a Chinese drunkard. I have met well-to-do Europeans in coaches and in public places, whose behaviour was barbarous in the extreme ; but I have not met a Chinaman, on coach or elsewhere, whose courtesy was not native, and whose humour was not kind.

Numerous thefts, especially of pigs and poultry, are laid to the door of the Chinese, and often, perhaps, with reason. But instances are on record in which Chinamen have suffered themselves to starve to death rather than make known their wants. Others are recorded where the rarely occurring roguery of a countryman has induced his trusting friend to commit self-destruction, holding death by his own hand as preferable to facing creditors without the means of

satisfying them; and numberless cases of death through destitution, and diseases occasioned by exposure to cold, occurred during the severe winter of 1862. It may be admitted that when stern necessity is in the case, Chinamen may yield before it, and adopt the practice and maxims of Donald Caird, with whom it was whiles a hen and whiles a sow,” and everything in the shape of meat or drink was fair and honest plunder. But it has been suspected in not a few instances that thefts attributed to the Chinese have been the work of other hands. If tliey do, at times, levy black mail on the hen-roosts of the stranger, those who know them best will confess that their confidence in and readiness to assist each other is something surprising to men who find it necessary to guard themselves against fraud or interference behind all the defences of the law. If a European digger hoists above his claim the flag that indicates it is for sale—like the broom at the masthead of a ship—and if a Chinaman is desirous of making the purchase, he has seldom any difficulty in doing so. He looks at the hole or the tunnel, he hears what it yields, and if his inspection satisfies him, he seldom quarrels about price. He gives sums that a European would consider altogether too great. If he has not sufficient money himself, a visit to the Camp is sufficient. If the price is not large, and the time not long, friends innumerable are ready to advance the cash, without interest; and if the sum and the time are both considerable, the advance can' readily be got from professional money-lenders, who are content with a rate of interest the smallness of which would be gall and wormwood to the soul of a member of any one of the ten tribes of Israel.

They have their own benevolent societies. To then-relatives in distress they are kind, though to strangers of their own nation they show an apathy as peculiar to the race as that which they exhibit for their own sufferings and distresses. Of their honesty as diggers, in the observance of the regulations laid down by the authorities, I might quote numerous stories, as creditable to them as the tales that are told of the oppressions practised upon them by miners of other nations are discreditable to the authors of those outrages.

I have already remarked that all the common trades of Canton were represented in the camp at Guildford, and that with peculiar readiness the Chinese had adopted other professions, such as that of the coachman, unheard of in a country where coaches are unknown. In Guildford, I even encountered a Chinese billiard-marker, whose skill with the cue generally proved too great for that of his patrons. But it is in market-gardening, apart from digging, that they have chiefly made themselves useful in the colony. Near Castlemaine, Sandhurst, and Ballarat, they follow this art with great perseverance, and for a length of time they had almost the supply of those markets in their own hands. They cultivate Chinese cabbage, and the usual vegetables familiar to Europeans, and they dig, and water, and manure with indomitable perseverance. Set a Chinese gardener down on a bit of soil, however small, and give him a supply of water, and he will force the earth to give up its fruits in season and out of season. He is great in the use of liquid manure, and near his garden-gate at all times, long rows of peculiar round long-necked pipkins are to be seen—minia-

tures of (hose oil-jars in which the forty thieves who tormented Ali Baba were so summarily disposed of by quick-witted Morgiana. These pipkins the Chinesgardener circulates throughout his neighbourhood when empty, and recovers when full, and, with the help of the river water, to thoroughly disseminate this manure about the roots of his plants, he performs marvels in the art of kitchen gardening. Cultivators of this class have been known to pay as much as £25 per ton for Peruvian guano ; and on Kangaroo Flat they pay rents almost equal in annual amount to the value of the freehold of the soil.

As miners labouring for hire, the Chinese earn less wages than their European competitors. They have less physical strength, though their patience and endurance enable them to overcome difficulties in a surprising manner. A strong Chinaman obtains 40s. per week, or about 10s. less than other diggers, and inferior men probably 5s. less. When engaged with Europeans, the task generally set them is to carry the wash-dirt from the shaft to the tom, which they do in buckets slung on the never-failing bamboo, or to pump water for the washing up. Their hours are, of course, the same as those of the Europeans, but they have to be indulged twice' a day with a short interval for refreshment, The first of these is between breakfast and dinner, when they have a quarter of an hour for “ chow-chow,” consisting of about a tea-cup full of boiled rice, with a small morsel of meat in it, and a few whiffs of opium, or Chinese tobacco, afterwards. Dinner is from twelve to one o’clock for all hands; and about three o’clock the second “ chow-chow” is obtained. I have said that, generally speaking, Chinamen have less strength

than Europeans ; but I must admit that at Ballarat, in the washing-up process in the Great Extended Company’s works, I saw them doing continuous labour of a kind compared with which the exertions of Hercules in the Augean stable were light.

The amusements of the Chinese are as peculiar as the traits of character they exhibit. Possessed of a language which, from the modulations of which it is capable, may be pronounced the very music of speech, their noted music is of the most extraordinary character. That which, by contrast, is vocal, has little resemblance to any description of rhythmed sounds with which Europeans are acquainted. Pitched in the highest falsetto, the voice of the singer flies from note to note with singular capriciousness. It is altogether unearthly, and has no relation to any conceivable progression of human sounds. The “ Scotch snap ” is a mere child’s step compared with the flying leaps a Chinese voice takes from note to note. Heard at a distance, with the performer invisible, a Chinese song might be supposed to be a chorus by fairies, sung in a green and haunted dell; or it might be a wild love-lilt, by Robin Goodfellow, addressed to a sleeping dairymaid. Nor is the instrumental music of the theatres much different, or better. There the performers, three or four in number, sit in a row, with feet cocked in air, blowing into horns or beating on gongs, and otherwise as motionless as if they were painted men on a painted stage. Air there is none. They blow and beat, and beat and blow, and vary the monotony of the sounds with successive crashes, as they gather strength of lung and limb, or with softer passages in the utter prostration of power; but the performance,

like the drama, or comedy, or tragedy which it precedes, seems to have no proper beginning or end, but to go on in a succession of battles and love-makings until the patience both of the performers and the audience is exhausted. This event does not usually happen till half the night has been exhausted, for the Chinaman seems as indifferent to the hours of sleep as he is to most other sublunary comforts. Of literature, no great variety seems to be imported ; but the Canton publishers appear to have discovered the virtues of almanacs long before “ Poor Richard ” had being, or the famous Belfast almanac an existence. They send large quantities of a Chinese almanac, neatly printed on yellow rice paper broadsides, the sheets folded together so as to make a leaf, and stitched on the side. These productions, like their lesson books in Chinese and English, must be read from the left to the right, that is to say, beginning with the last in place of the first page of the book ; and they are full of comical figures, in strange attitudes, the meaning of which deponent knoweth not. Old men may occasionally be found in retired places flying monstrous kites, in the design of which great ingenuity is shown ; others— dandies of the purest water—strut about the public places, adorned and be-pursed like a stage nabob. The most splendid sample of the Chinese exquisite I had the luck to note was on Fryer’s Creek, and he was full blown. But of all the amusements of the Chinese, gambling is their most besetting passion. It is mainly of two kinds, played respectively with dominoes and Chinese pence. In both cases the game is purely one of chance. Neither skill—except in the calculation of chances—nor sleight of hand can be shown. Loaded

dice, touched cards, &c., are common in European hells ; but the Chinese system is to play against the hank, and the calculations of the game, therefore, are made to leave twenty-five per cent, in favour of the banker all round. In playing with dominoes, a round-edged dice is first thrown, and a certain number of dominoes is handed to each of the players. The winning number leads off, and the round is won or lost as the spots on the first-thrown dominoes are outnumbered, or otherwise. In playing with Chinese coins, holed in the centre, the banker takes out a handful, and places them on the table. On a square in the centre, on one side or the other, or on the top or the bottom, or in a corner covering two sides, the stake—usually a shilling, with a limit to a certain number of shillings—is placed, and according to its position is the amount, a single, a double, or a treble, the player will receive if his guess is right, while, if he loses, the loss is but the original stake. There is a hedge in favour of the banker, the explanation of which I was unable to make out from the very broken English in which it was given. When the stake is made—and thirty or forty players may have their money on at the same time—the banker covers the coins with a small cup, draws the loose ones, and then, with a long pointed stick, counts the cup-covered coins in fours, the table winning or losing as the coins remain at last, an odd one, or two, or three. These simple games a crowd of Chinamen will rush to as soon as the labour of the day closes, and round the little tables—four, or five, or more of them in a small room—they will linger all the night through, eager and excited to the last, playing, disputing, arguing, and noisy and merry, but seldom quarrelsome or pu-

gilistic. Gambling houses spring up at every Chinese rush as soon as the eating-house, and before the Joss-house : but the large establishment at Guildford was the property of a joint-stock company. The house itself is a wooden erection of two stories, built after the usual eccentric plan of Chinese structures. The lower story, in front, lighted by a large open cutting in the ceiling, was given up to gaming tables, and the back to cooking for the boarders. The bank was maintained with a capital of one thousand pounds, subscribed in ten shares of one hundred pounds each, the run upon it being sometimes strong, though the profits, as a rule, were large. On the day of my visit an elderly Chinaman, carefully dressed in blue, with white muslin leggings drawn over his feet and his trousers to his knees, was lounging on a sofa-bed (half-bookcase, half-cupboard), in the upper flat, looking down benignly on a noisy scene below round one of the tables. His long tail—-half his own hair, andMialf borrowed from a horse—coiled over the floor. He was in the house, but did not seem of it. My first impression was, that he was a Mongolian gentleman, taking his ease in his inn; and yet I thought a gentleman, resting as he travelled, would not select a narrow shelf to sleep upon, with the noise of a hundred gamblers below, and the chance of rolling down in a nightmare right on to the bank. On inquiry, I found he was a poor gentleman of Hong Kong, one of the ten proprietors of the gaming-tables, living quietly on the profits of his investment, but too poor to indulge himself with the pleasure of playing. He bore the ill-will of the gods with the stoicism of a hero, as he looked on the temptations of Fortune in which he was forbidden to take part.

Of the marriage and funeral ceremonies of the Chinese I need say nothing, as I am not writing an essay on Chinese customs or superstitions ; but 1 may say that they observe the new year with feasting and hospitality to Europeans, as well as to each other. They have a religion of some sort, with—as my Chinese informant assured me—churches and endowed ministers in China, “ all same as Englishmen.” That is to say, the system, but not the faith. I had supposed that the little flag-betokened temples sacred to Joss had more or less of a religious character, but I was undeceived. Visiting the rush at Pennyweight, I picked an acquaintance with Sheong-ti, “ the true son of Heaven,”—as he assured me, with a smile, though he was one of the least, comely of the race I had ever seen. He invited me in ; and I contrived to learn this much, with more or less accuracy—that Joss is nothing more than a fortune teller, after the manner of the Oracle of Delphos, or the dream-book of Napoleon, into which some of the young folk of England sometimes peep for the unriddling of the visions of the night. The temple built, and the little wooden figure of Joss placed in his niche, with ornaments of peaeocks’-feathers, pictures of battles after the manner of the Chinese, presents of tea, oil, opium, &c., spread around—with tapers of magic influence, and joss-sticks in their box, carved with strange emblems of significance for good or evil fortune. Time is represented by the figuie of a watch-face, but the emblems and the gilt-work can be of no particular solemnity, since they can be bought for a shilling or two in any Chinese store. Before Joss, however, lies a parchment volume, inscribed with Chinese characters, containing the explanations of the mysteries of

the sticks. Before the Joss of Sheong-ti stood three wine glasses, each filled three parts full with the red liquor of tea; but I could trace out no connexion between the number and any of the sacred or traditionary associations connected with it. At certain hours of the morning, the temple of Joss becomes sacred. It is the hour of divination. If a votary is about to undertake a journey or to make a purchase, and desires to know whether he will arrive safely or make a profit, he comes to Joss. He pays his obeisances ; he lights a certain number of matches or tapers, and when the little wooden individual has thus been mollified, the suppliant takes the box of marked sticks, tosses them about in bis bands till one springs up from the others, when he takes it out, looks at the letters drawn upon it, and then in the indexed book he reads the will of Joss by the characters written on the stick which first moved. If he is warned of misfortune, he forbears the journey or declines the bargain, and waits for a more lucky day. If Joss advises otherwise, and a pretty profit is the result, the happy merchant makes Joss a present—rit may be of a tailor’s signboard, a barber’s basin, a cup of rice, a packet of tea, or a gallon of oil, but whatever it may be, the offerer of the present has the privilege of advertising freely in the temple the beauties and the cheapness of his wares. Joss is a fortune-teller, and an advertiser of his votaries’ goods, and nothing more ; and Sheong-ti, “ the true son ot Heaven,” is only an idle and cunning fellow, who prefers to live by the credulity of his neighbours rather than by the labour of his own bands.

Were the settlement of the Chinese encouraged, they would, undoubtedly, take more kindly to the

H

colony than they do at present. They complain that advantage is taken on every hand of their ignorance of the varying and conflicting lavs and regulations of the gold-fields, and the difficulties they have to encounter in striving after justice can readily be comprehended. An Englishman’s difficulties in China cannot be greater. There are native obstacles, apparently, to the introduction of their own women, which still further interfere with the permanent settlement of the race on tea or rice fields, or fish-farms, in this colon}’. When these things are considered, and when it is remembered that what is a small matter in this colony is affluence for life in China, we cannot wonder that the sum of a Chinaman’s wish is to return to his native land endowed with “a little purse of gold." Men born in Britain were not wont of old to blame a people for attachment to their fatherland.

Chapter XIII.

DUXOLLY.

If any one acquainted with the gold-fields had been asked, two years ago, to name the district of which least could be hoped, and the municipality which, of all others, in its eai’ly youth already exhibited most symptoms of premature and hopeless decay, the answer would have been—Dunolly. I happened to pass through it at that time, and was struck by the deserted aspect of its Broadway, the number of ruinous buildings and empty shops which obtruded themselves on the notice of a stranger, the absence of business, and the paucity of the mining population around the town. If I were asked now

which of all the diggings I have seen presents the greatest scope tor the poor miner, to whom the deepsinking of Ballarat is an impossibility, and the quartz-reefing of Sandhurst and Castlemaine equally beyond his means, I should be disposed to. make the same answer—Dunolly. Within the last twelve months the district has indeed made great progress. It has drawn a large population together from other fields to new alluvial diggings—Burnt Creek, to wit—and quartz-reef after quartz-reef has been added to the mining map of the locality with unparalleled rapidity. The district mining surveyor, irfa late report, stated that twenty-six new reefs had been reported to him within a couple of months, and what I saw satisfied me that the statement was not exaggerated, and that the list of new discoveries is still far from complete. How an old and almost abandoned gold-field has thus revived in favour, and how it happens that gullies, supposed to have contained only alluvial gold, should now be found to be traversed and laced with auriferous quartz lodes, is easy of explanation, and the explanation itself is full of hope as regards the future of the district and of the township.

Dunolly took its rise six years ago, out of a great rush to a very rich lead, which gave its name to the township. The source of this ancient stream of gold seems to have been near Mount Bealibi, some halfdozen miles to the north of the present township; and Old Dunolly, some miles nearer to that pretty mountain, is now represented by a large but solitary inn, the fortunate owner of which is said to have in his garden an excellent auriferous reef. This lead was followed southwards for miles, and was lost at last in deep and wet ground on the flat on which the

new township of Dunolly stands. The gold was heavy and abundant, and the lead itself was broad. The evidence the ground still offers of the labours of the miners who took part in the rush, shows that their number was very large, and there are many of them who still believe that if the water could be overcome the old lead would be recovered. Numerous smaller leads were opened up at the same time, including the White Lead, where the miners came upon cement and a tenacious white clay, and were again beaten out by water ; Quaker’s Gully, where the sinking was shallow, and the wash-dirt rich ; and the upper diggings on the Burnt Creek, since traced down into the large, broad, and fair-yielding field to which the name of that creek has been given. Various reefs were opened up about the same time, but with no satisfactory results. Probably the best of these was the Bet-Bet Reef, about half a mile from the tributary of the Lod-don of that name, where a Berdan machine was erected, and the remains of that primitive piece of mechanical art are still to be seen. Here some good patches of stone were found, as much as thirty ounces to the ton having been obtained; but the average yield was poor for the times; and though the reef was at one time rushed for some hundreds of yards, and twelve-feet claims were marked off along its whole line, the Bet-Bet was abandoned years ago, and the gully left to the attentions of the very few puddlers who have as yet settled down in the district. The truth is, that the reefs as a rule would not pay the cost of working them in times when living was high, and the cost of crushing great. Even when handpicked, the stone did not always pay, and the number of crushing machines, never at any time large, became

smaller from time to time. The gold in the quartz, too, was uncommonly fine, and, therefore, difficult to obtain by the rude processes of amalgamation then employed. Chemically pure gold has lately been obtained from the reefs of Dunolly, and the difficulty of saving it has led to the practice of retorting the quicksilver after every crushing—a labour performed by the public quartz-crushers of no other district ex cepting that of Maryborough. In other cases, the stone was found to be peculiarly hard to reduce. These various reasons combined to discourage the early quartz-reefers of this district; and thus, though large lodes—such as the Old Man Reef—were known to exist, and patchy reefs of some size, like that of the Bet-Bet, were tested, quartz-reefing never attained importance, and died away almost altogether as the leads were deserted. Fresh rushes, such as that to Inglewood, completed for the time the disfavour into which Dunolly had fallen, and threw over Broadway the aspect of desolation it wore when first I saw it.

There was, indeed, one good reef in the vicinity of the township, which received a large share of attention, on which a considerable sum of money was spent, which excited great hopes, but which still lies unworked, and offers a “ shocking example” of the foolishness so often shown in the management of the affairs of quartz mines. I allude to the Windmill Hill Reef, so named from the ruins of an erection which crowns it, to which the name of “Randle’s Folly” has been given. This reef is situated on a . rising ground, some two miles or more to the southwest of the municipality. It affords a pretty pinkish coloured stone, in which gold is sprinkled in some abundance, and from which cabinet specimens of

blue and green carbonates of copper, associated with gold and quartz, may be picked out. Shafts of some depth were sunk, and stone of promising quality was raised, but the means of crushing it were only to be found at a long distance, and the stone was not sufficiently rich to leave a profit after paying the high charges then imposed at the mills. Machinery, also, was at a premium, and the holders of the working claims on the reef were men of small means. In this dilemma, a happy idea occurred to the Randle of my story, who persuaded the elaimholders that the elevated position of the reef pointed out a design on Dame Nature’s part that it should be adorned with a windmill, to drive a battery of stamps, while the abundance of timber in the forest as clearly proved that the mill should be the work of native industry, in which the inventions of the founders and machinists should be set aside. Wood should take the place of iron wherever the substitution of the weaker for the stronger but foreign material was possible ; the work should be done by the shareholders themselves ; and thus labour should become its own capitalist, and furnish its own plant with its own hands. The idea was at least ingenious, and the attempt to carry it was bold and self-reliant; but something more than novelty and boldness of design was wanted. The shareholders, however, set hopefully to work. The forest bore witness to their activity. Tall trees came down by the run, and the great legs and arms of the mill were soon high in air. Gigantic wheels and drums of wood were built, cog-wheels were cut out, and a thousand and-one ingenious contrivances were carried out in wood to perform the duties of the smaller and more complicated iron and

brass work of a mill such as the “rude mechanicals” of the shops turn out when they build machines to supply motive power. It was beyond human ingenuity to crush quartz with lumps of wood, so, when they built their solitary battery of stamps, they faced the logs which did duty as stamps with thin plates of iron. They dug out stamp-boxes, they made ripples and amalgamating troughs of wood, and, when the whole thing was completed, it was a strange and uncouth monster, bearing little more resemblance to a quartz-mill than those ingenious steamers, built by the Chinese after the model of those English steam-vessels of war which did them so much mischief in Sir Henry Pottinger’s war—steamships which were perfect outside from stem to stern, with funnel, paddle-boxes, and floats complete, but had the trifling disadvantage of no engine or boiler inside! At last came the important opening day, big with the fate of the company. There was a muster from far and near to witness the novel sight. Some capital quartz was brought up from the reef, and the “feeder” stood ready to see that the hungry stamps were duly provided for. The last drop of oil was administered to the wheels. A sweet breeze blew over the forest. At a given signal, the sails were spread, and the arms of the giant went slowly round. The stamps made a convulsive rattle in their box, and the machinery came to a dead stop ! This Frankenstein of mills would move no more. Native industry had produced a gigantic failure ; the inventor disappeared ; from an arm of the mill—high enough to have pleased Haman—his effigy was made to dance without shoes; and from that time downwards the windmill has been pronounced Handle’s Folly.” But the misfortunes

of the reef did not end here. It passed into other hands. A firm of business men in Melbourne became possessed of claims upon it, including the “ Folly,” and they speedily exhibited symptoms of the same lunatic inclination. They discarded the mill, hut they retained the old wooden machinery, the wooden stampers it was to drive, and the ridiculous ripples and amalgamator. They substituted steam, however, for wind ; and on the usual supposition of town mining shareholders, that any carter can drive a steam-engine, and any schoolboy direct the affairs of a quartz-mine, they entrusted the care of the mine and the machinery to a person in whom, no doubt, they had every confidence, but who knew nothing of mining, and little more of machinery. The end of the second adventure was worse than the first. Before the steam-engine had been many hours at work, the water ran down in the boiler, steam exerted its force, and the boiler, twisted and thrown down, now lies under the windmill—a double monument to mining folly.7

Two years ago, the bush-track from Dunolly to Maldon—then the high road to the north-west, though there was not a mile of made or cleared road between the two municipalities—passed through a succession of splendid wooded valleys, and across several creeks, such as the Wild Dog, in which, only at rare intervals, a prospecting party was to be seen. Then the Loddon was crossed by a small ferry-boat, or punt, fresh coaches being provided on each bank when the river was too high to be forded. Now a fine wooden bridge spans the stream; the rising agrieul-

ttiral township of Eddington has sprung up around the solitary change-house where erst passengers by Cobb indulged themselves with bad colonial beer; and a long line of cleared road connects the new township with the older settlement at the foot of Mount Tarrengower. Great as these changes are, they are small to that which has come over the smiling valley of the little winter streamlet known as Burnt Creek. Here one of the largest rushes of the last two years has taken place; a canvas township has sprung up on the flat, with a mile or so of shops of all kinds, hotels, billiard saloons, a theatre, a postoffice, a little crushing-mill, and dancing saloons without number for the delectation of those easy-natured diggers whose chief pleasure is to squander among bloated admirers thelightly obtained gold of afortúnate claim. The Burnt Creek lead follows the same line as the old Dunolly lead, and may or may not be its continuation. It has, however, been rich in places, and a Chinaman’s garden was pointed out to me which had been the cause of endless litigation, the run of gold passing right through it. This rush had speedily the effect of revealing leads of gold in all directions, until the Burnt Creek rush has spread over a very large area of ground, and has extended almost up to Dunolly on the one side, and stretched down to the Bet-Bet on the other. A cement is got in abundance which yields about an ounce to the load, of nuggety gold ; and from some of the wash-dirt passed through the mills, twenty-two pennyweights to the load has been obtained. Puddling-machines have sprung up in some number; and quick-silver cradles are in vogue, both with Europeans and with Chinese. Some of the cakes of gold produced from the amal-

gam by the latter are curiosities in their way, John Chinaman having apparently still to learn the art and mystery of retorting and refining gold, though he has long ago attained the skill of cleverly alloying it, and hiding the evidences of his handiwork. Nuggets are obtained frequently, and of some size, and the business of gold-buying has increased in Dunolly to a very marked extent.

Reefs, as well as alluvial diggings, have been unveiled in great numbers since the rush. I have already quoted the mining surveyor’s report on this subject, and I may borrow from it this other statement—that of twenty-six reefs discovered between May and July last, six reefs were considered rich, nine were more than “payable,” and eleven were payable with machinery capable of putting through a fair quantity of stone per week. One of these new lodes, the “German”, in Quaker’s Gully, has given specimens estimated at on6 hundred ounces to the ton. The establishment of a crushing-plant on the old Bet-Bet Reef, by the Caithness Mining Company, shortly before the rush to Burnt Creek broke out, had much to do with stimulating the miners in prospecting for quartz. Their plant was erected carefully, and the use of hot water under the stamps was introduced for the first time in the district. This innovation was important, the quickened action of the mercury saving the very fine gold that had been lost previously. The result of the experiment was, that stone which was not payable before, gave five and six pennyweights to the ton more in the new mill than it previously had done at other mills, and claims that had been abandoned were re-taken up, while the spur thus given to mining enterprise resulted in the discovery of the Quaker’s

Gully, the Sydenham, and many'othcr reefs within a stone’s throw of the Bet-Bet, which have averaged an ounce to the ton. Nor is there the smallest reason to suppose, that more than a few of the many reefs of the district have yet been discovered.

The land around Dunolly, indeed, is comparatively untouched. Except along the course of the old lead, on Sporting Flat, on the White Lead, and on Burnt Greek, there has been little or nothing done in the way of prospecting. The ground is all of a likely kind. Between the township and the Loddon there are miles of the most promising country—made hills, ironbark ranges, and nice little hollows, the assured home of gold. On the west, a long tract of forest land stretches out, which is certainly auriferous, and in which reefs abound. Between Maryborough and the Bet-Bet, the main obstacle to the progress of the miner in following the gold is water; and on the Maldon side, the alluvial miners from Burnt Creek, and the quartz miners on the Loddon, are rapidly approaching each other. Traces of copper are found at the Windmill-hill, and the finest white porcelain clay is obtainable in large quantities not far from the township. In its alluvial ground, and its numberless quartz-reefs, however, without reference to other minerals or metals which time will reveal, Dunolly possesses unquestionable sources of wealth, which the youngest inhabitant will not see exhausted though he should be blessed with the full measure of years ascribed to the life of man by the Psalmist.

Chapter XIV.

INKERMANN.

At the time when the allied armies were encamped before Sebastopol, an army of diggers was engaged in the north-western division of this colony in trenches of another order. The whole of the Maryborough mining district was being closely prospected, and as new gold-field was added to new gold-field, the names of the victories obtained in the Crimea, and of the leading heroes whose names are associated with them, were given to their discoveries by the diggers. In this manner the Alma, Raglan, and St. Arnaud obtained their appellations, and the designation of Inkermann wasgiven to an alluvial field situated some five miles northwards from Dunolly, and about the same distance from Mount Moliagul. Though it has now lost the importance it once held in the estimation of the miners, it is still worthy of attention, as offering to the curious in such matters peculiarities which distinguish it from others of the older gold-fields, with the exception of Kingower, situated about an equal distance from Moliagul, but on the northern side of the range.

The present course of the streams of water that flow from Mount Moliagul, joining as they do those from Mount Bealibi, and afterwards those from Mount Hooghley (or Ugly), would lead to the supposition that the Inkermann, Dunolly, and Burnt Creek gold fields were originally fed from the same sources. There is the material difference between them, however, that while Inkermann is essentially a field of

nuggets only, the gold is widely diffused over the flats and in the gullies of Burnt Creek, and nuggets are only found at rare intervals. The Dunolly lead gave masses of gold in considerable abundance, with large quantities of the precious metal in the form known as “ shotty.” This is not inconsistent with the supposition that the gold, like the clays of the district, was washed out of the granite and quartz of the neighbouring ranges, the smaller gold having been carried farthest from the parent source. The Inkermann diggings occupy a shallow wooded valley, having Mount Moliagul at a few miles distance on the north, and scrubby ranges on the east and west. At one time it was the scene of a large population. The number of holes that have been sunk speak of its former importance; but it has now been almost deserted by the alluvial miners, a few parties only still working with tub and cradle, for the chance of a nugget by times. Here the miner considered himself lucky if he obtained the colour of gold from day to day, and laboured perseveringly on, satisfied that sooner or later a handsome prize would well reward him for his pains. Here five and six months might pass away in a search that seemed vain, and at last the long-hoped-for event would happen—a lucky stroke of the pick, and out would fly a coin of Nature's own mintage, worth many Jacobuses. Jones’s Creek not far distant, was another somewhat similar goldfield, but Inkermann bore the bell in the favour of the miner. Mining for nuggets, however, is at best but chance work, and gradually the field fell into disfavour, as the precious metal became more difficult to find, and new rushes occurred both to Victorian fields and gold-fields over sea. One after another the tents

were struck, and the forest became almost as solitary as before. Then another description of mining rose into favour, and Inkermann has become almost as famous for its reefs as it was some years ago as an alluvial field. As reefing ground, however, it is distinguished by peculiarities as singular as those of its alluvial. One of the first discovered and best known of its auriferous veins is that to which the name of tlie Acadia Beef has been given, from the circumstance of its discoverer being a native of Nova Scotia or Acadia. He was fossicking on the side of a ridge of slaty sandstone and mullock, when he came upon a magnificent specimen of white auriferous quartz. It was snugly nestled in the long grass among some debris from a leader or vein, and had evidently not travelled far, for its edges were sharp, and it had no appearance of being washed except by the rains of winter. It was not large, but it contained as much gold as quartz. The lucky finder did not wander far afterwards in search of better prospects. He commenced to sink close by the spot. It was not far from the alluvial diggings of Inkermann, but between them and Mount Moliagul, on the north-east. His labour was not long in finding its reward. He discovered a rich leader, and in June, 1861, took out a prospecting claim for the reef to which he gave the name of Acadia, in remembrance of the land of the Blue Noses. This was the first reef discovered on Inkermann, and like all the others that have since been traced, it presents peculiarities strangely different from those of any other quartz-country I have visited. In place of regularly-defined veins of quartz, Inkermann presents rather a series of thin leaders or veins of mullocky quartz, as full of gold as of stone,

but presenting no regularity of form, and so far as yet observed, not connected with any large mass of quartz, ftow these veins originated adds another to the many puzzles of the geology of Victoria. They give some little support to the theory of deposition, for it is difficult to conceive how they could have been thrown up by the action of fire. The Acadia Reef dips heavily from north to south, running down to a depth of 100 feet within the same length from the point where it was discovered near the surface. On the top the main reef, or leader—whichever it is— was not more than two inches broad ; it has widened to ten inches, and narrowed and widened again, and it lies so capriciously that two or more shafts have been found necessary for its working, within a few yards of each other. Two inferior leaders were found in the main shaft, both of them smaller than the main leader—mere threads, in fact, of small bits of quartz cemented with gold. These were lost at a depth of eighty feet, dipping at an angle of forty degrees, but were retraced out after three months’ labour. The casing of the reef is sandstone and green slate, of a soapy texture, the former metamor-pliic, and the latter having also some singularities about it. Very rich, however, was the quartz of these thin leaders, and the “father”—as the first found specimen was named—was not disgraced by his “ children,” the picked pieces which were taken up as the leader was cut out. A box of samples was shown to me, all of them as fine as any specimens I had previously seen. Collectively, I certainly thought they were too valuable to be kept in an open box—first used, perhaps, to hold those Belmont sperm candles which are in universal use on the diggings—with no

other protection from the midnight robber than a thin sheet of canvas, the vigilance of the dogs, and the wakefulness of the sleeper in whose tent they were placed. From one ton of this quartz, 309 ozs. of gold were crushed, and from two tons 602 ozs. of gold, worth something like £2,400, a few days before my visit.

A month after the Acadia Reef was lighted upon, a fortunate Highlandman discovered a rich surface reef, much of the same character, at a hundred yards distance to the south-east, to which he gave the name of Arrandale, in grateful remembrance of the island that gave him birth. The Arrandale seemed to be a better defined reef than the Acadia, and a very large amount of gold was obtained from the prospector’s claim. The amount, probably, will never be ascertained, the prospector having more than the usual reticence of the Celtic character in his worldly matters, but the universal testimony of his neighbours sets the sum total down at something very considerable. The reef, however, had another peculiarity,—the gold ray out atadeptli of twelve feet,and though the stone has since been followed down almost to the water-line—here 120 feet—very little auriferous quartz has since been taken out. A later discovery was the Old Skipper’s Reef—so named after an ancient mariner who was its prospector. Its characteristics are almost the same as those of the Acadia, though the quantity of gold obtained from it at the time of my visit had by no means equalled that from that reef or the Arrandale. A better defined vein of quartz was opened a few weeks ago, to the west of the Arrandale, under the name of the Exhibition Reef. Here a considerable body of quartz was found, in which gold was diffused in some quantity ; and the

discovery had excited the hopes of a considerable number of miners, who had immediately marked off claims on both sides of that of the prospector.

Inkermann, I have already remarked, is a peculiar gold-field, both as regards its alluvial and its quartz. It offers little for description, the number of its reefs yet opened being small, and their peculiarities being so marked and strange, that it is uncertain whether they will be easily and early worked out, or whether they will lead to extensive reefs below the water-line. I am apprehensive that the present reef-workings will be too easily exhausted. I should have been better pleased had I seen masses of quartz that would have offered remunerative employment for years. It is possible, however, that bodies of stone may yet be found at a considerable depth, and that heavy masses of gold may be discovered in them. The gold of Dunolly and Burnt Creek may have come from veins such as the Acadia, washed away in earlier floods with the soil of a more elevated land than we now see. The field, however, is the type of a class by which Dunolly is surrounded, some discovered, and many, 1 have little doubt, still to be opened up, and from which large quantities of gold will yet be poured into the lap of commerce.

Chapter XV.

BALLARAT.

It is now more than ten years since the gold-fields oi Bendigo and Ballarat were almost simultaneously discovered, and ever since an honourable rivalry has been maintained for pre-eminence in importance. Jointly they have contributed an enormous amount to the wealth of the world, and the influence they have exercised on the fortunes of the colony has been greater than that of all the other gold-fields put together. They still almost keep pace with each other in the race of productiveness, though latterly the character of the mining operations in the two districts has differed materially. Large investments of local capital have been made in them ; but while the future is ecjually promising in both, substantial results have been earlier obtained in the more western field, and the fruits of success are visible in the more splendid municipalities that have arisen on Ballarat, and the greater energy displayed there, while the stronger self-reliance of the miners of that district has received its reward in the fortunes that are now poured into their laps from works to which long years of profitless but expectant labour were given. Ballarat asked for little capital from without its own bounds when its prospects were darkest, and keeps its own plums now for its own children. I am fully persuaded that the visitor of ten years hence, when he compares Bendigo with Ballarat, will have the same tale to tell as I have. He will find them still rivals, now the one a little a-head, and now the other, but never far apart. Bendigo has surmounted its greatest difficulties, and passed through its darkest day.

Ballarat has never experienced any serious check to its progress, or suffered from that deferred hope that maketh the heart sick. Both have a clear and open course before them for a race of many years’ duration ; and there is no prophet amongst us sufficiently gifted to foretell which shall ultimately win the laurel of the premier gold-field of the colony. I have already dealt with Bendigo, however, and Ballarat now claims as full a description of her present state, and as fair and intelligent an estimate of her future prospects, as the time I had at my command, and the singularities of the field, enable me to make. If my mission had extended no further than the present condition of the mining population, my report from Ballarat might have been short, and would certainly have been satisfactory. From the first discovery of the riches of Golden Point—the first opening of those famous “jewellers’ shops,” the story of which, ten years ago, so quickened the blood of young England— the progress of Ballarat has been steadily onwards. Few have followed mining upon it as their daily labour without reaping a substantial harvest; few have roamed from it to other fields, except to insure there, by their experience and enterprise, returns which others had failed to obtain; and fewer still have thrown in their chances with the business of the district who have not shared its good fortune. Here capital—the life-blood of progress—was not locked up in mines which are still unproductive, or lost in others too hastily abandoned. The great companies formed upon it took an unusnal form—that of the co-operative—and accomplished the maximum amount of work at the minimum of cost. As a rule, their calculations have been realised, and the splendid returns which they have obtained have given a new stimulus to an industry that never flagged, and

brightened into sunshine a prospect over which only the thinnest veil o’f cloud ever passed. Here the money that in other mining districts took the form of unbottomed shafts and unfinished drives—of machinery built to be thrown down again, and mines only now being brought to a paying point—built long lines of handsome streets, erected foundries, flour-mills, and breweries, and brought into cultivation such large tracts of territory, that while Ballarat claims to excel Bendigo as a gold-field, the country around it aspires to be regarded as the leading agricultural district of the colony. It has supplied itself with the machinery for its own mines; it produces the implements with which its own fields are tilled ; it grinds its own corn, and brews its own beer. What it imports is what its own industry cannot as yet produce, and those necessaries of life which it cannot as yet provide in sufficient abundance. The result of all this well-directed energy, and the local circulation of the stores of gold obtained from the deep gutters, has been a sound and healthy trade in Ballarat itself, and prosperous farming and extensive and successful prospecting around it. There is abundance of employment, at fair wages, for all who are willing to labour ; and the still unexhausted alluvial in the shallow gullies affords a living to the weak and unskilled, and to the swarms of Chinese to whom Ballarat East is being rapidly abandoned. My report, therefore, might have been contained in one sentence, had the present condition of the miner been its only object. But I have already remarked that on Ballarat mining has assumed novel and most interesting features, in its crushing of poor quart/, and in its deep leads, and these claim my particular attention.

When it was first announced that the Black Hill

Company had succeeded in obtaining a satisfactory profit from quartz giving tlie very low average yield of two pennyweights of gold per ton, the statement was received with some incredulity. Nothing less than an ounce per ton pays on Inglewood, and on Sandhurst quartz giving five or six pennyweights has been regarded as too poor stuff to be worth much attention. But the achievement of the Black Hill Company was subsequently exceeded by the New Perseverance—a co-operative company, of small capital, at work on White Horse Flat,—who were stated to be content with a pennyweight and a half to the ton. These statements undoubtedly were true, but the circumstances were exceptional, and the results illustrate the proposition, that quartz-mining is reducible to almost certain calculations. I take as my proof the Black Hill Company, whose works are situated on the banks of the Yarrowee, at the foot of the hill which gives the company its name. Here, erected with a paid-up capital of 24,0001, the visitor will find the most complete and novel plant in the colony. The engine is a horizontal one of a hundred-horse power. It is placed in the centre of the stamp-house, and drives six batteries of ten stamps each. The weight of the stamps is seven hundred-weight, and they are worked by wrought-iron discs with steeled faces and steeled cams. The lifters are turned and revolve in anti-friction metal guides. The quartz is supplied to the batteries by a self-feeding apparatus, requiring the attention of one man only to the sixty stamps, and is reduced sufficiently fine to pass through wire gratings at the back and front of the stamp boxes having 120 holes to the square inch. A small quantity of quicksilver is put into each stamp-box twice a day. The crushed quartz is carried through the gratings by the water into ripple-boxes containing

mercury, extending from both sides of the battery, and thence along some twenty-four feet of blanketing. These blankets are washed every eight hours, in tanks which move upon wheels; and the material collected by this process is conveyed into revolving barrels, with half its weight of quicksilver, and sufficient hot water for proper amalgamation. The mine consists of the principal portion of the Black Hill, and contains about forty acres. Tunnels, nine feet high by seven feet wide, have been made into the hill, at different levels, amounting in length to about 2,500 feet. These tunnels are connected at several points with the open workings on the top of the hill by shafts, down which the quartz and mullock is shot, the quartz being conveyed to the mill by trucks on an iron railway, and the mullock carried to the waste heap. The average width of the quartz lode is about ninety feet, with numerous leaders running into it. The quantity of quartz crushed per week is about 1,000 tons, and the yield of gold for the three months preceding my visit was 2dwt. 18gr. per ton. When the crusliing stuff is mainly soft casing, however, from to 1,700 tons per week can be put through. The 1,500 average cost per ton for mining is 4s., and for crushing . 2s. 10d. The number of men employed is ninety, and of horses four. The miners receive 8s. per day, and the labourers 7s. 6d. Of firewood 150 tons are used per week. The company have erected a small iron foundry, in which they cast the stamp-heads and other iron work required, and the average weight of iron work to be renewed weekly is about one ton. The supply of water is obtained from the Yarrowee Creek, and is stored in reservoirs holding one and a half million gallons. A well, which is supplied from the reservoirs, is sunk in the stamp-house, and from thence the water is forced by

two plunger pumps, each thirteen inches diameter, and throwing 500 gallons per minute, into a large tank on the side of the hill, holding 5,000 gallons, and from that point distributed by pipes to all parts of the establishment. The whole of the machinery was designed by and erected under the superintendence of Mr. J. S. Martin, engineer, of Melbourne, and the main portion of it was supplied by Messrs. Langlands Brothers, of Melbourne. The hill on which the company operates was a favourite camping-ground in the early days of Ballarat, and around it the alluvial gave excellent returns. The Black-lull Company commenced upon it two years and a half ago, with an engine of forty-five horse power and twelve stamps. They followed the old plan of shafts and drives, and they found that every ton of quartz they raised cost 13s    6d. before it reached the

stamps, a cost which exceeded, or at least equalled, the value of the gold it contained. It was calculated that 9d. per ton was added to the price every time the quartz was turned over in its progress to the mill. These various considerations induced the company—and the credit of an example of such practical value to the colony is mainly due to Mr. Edward A. Wynne, the chairman— to remove the smaller plant, and substitute for it the great body of stamps they now possess, fed so ingeniously and with such small help, that the cost of the quartz per ton has been reduced to the price already stated, less the cost of the transit through the tunnel to the feeding-troughs, or say 2£d. The -whole hill is taken down from the surface in open quany-like work, and reefs and veins, the latter spreading out in eveiy direction like the branches of a tree, are thus exposed to the miners in place of being followed in long and badly-lighted drives. The new plant was set in motion some eight months ago,

but the first three months were consumed in experiments, improvements, &c., which need not be further referred to. It was only in the end of March last, that the battery was fully and fairly in work, and I have before me the balance-sheet struck on the 30th of June, showing the results of three months’ labour, the gold produced in the previous quarter having been expended in completing the work left unfinished by the local firm to whom the erection of the plant had been entrusted in the first instance. The profit on the quarter ending in June was l,689f., or at the rate of thirty per cent, per annum. The amount actually divided was 1,559/. 11s. 8d., or 6f. per share, leaving a balance to be carried forward. During the fortnight preceding my visit, 280oz. 4dwt. of gold were obtained, and the average profits of the company may now be set down at about 5631. per month—equal to a return of the whole capital in three years and a half, and that from quartz and casing returning only two and three-quarter pennyweights to the ton. It is calculated that the hill cannot be cut down to the level of the stamps under a period of twenty years ; and long before that day arrives, the progress of invention may have introduced such better modes of reducing the quartz and saving the gold so as to make even poorer quartz a source of profit. Even then, however, the company will have vast masses of quartz before them. The works are situated at a level 224ft. above that of the plant of the Wellingtonia Gigantea Company, a few score yards distant, and that company are now working profitably quartz taken in drives respectively fifty, a hundred, and two hundred and fifty feet beneath the surface. These lodes have been traced across into the Black Hill; and it is further found that the stone gets richer as it gets deeper. With such an

example as this before us, may it not be asked—wher is the quartz hill or reef in the colony that may not be worked at a profit if proper machinery is Laid down for the work to be done, and resolution and perseverance under difficulties arc shown such as those by which the Black Hill Company has been piloted through its difficulties 1

If the experience of the Black Hill Company needed verification by that of others, it would be found in that of the New Perseverance Company, to which I have already alluded. Together they form a phalanx of evidence that cannot be shaken. Situated on the White Horse, this company is also engaged in the reduction of an entire hill of mixed quartz and mullock. The stuff is run up a tramway of some 500 or 600 feet in length from the quarry to the hill. The quantity of quartz reduced is smaller, the stamps being lighter and only twenty-four in number. The entire plant, however, was erected for less than 4,000/., including a second engine and the necessary gear for winding purposes. The tailings give little trouble, as there is a large fall; and the rate of wages is somewhat less than is paid in other places. During the past year, the profits have been about 1,300/., or about a third of the entire capital.

There are other cases, however, in which poor quartz is worked, not taken bodily, but with all the disadvantages attending mining by shafts and drives, with the greater cost of cutting and that of winding added. The Wellingtonia Gigantea Company may be cited, whose average of gold is small. In May last, for example, they crushed 1,000 tons, giving an average of three pennyweights—an experience to which that of the Hercules of Bendigo is approximating. I might cite

i

numerous others, conducted variously, from the surveyors’ reports, my time not having permitted me to look into their affairs for myself. The Union Company, for instance, for their May crushing, had only an average of 2dwt. 7gr. from 600 tons; the Eureka Cement Company, 5dwt. from 430 tons; the Danish Company, 4dwt. from 250 tons; the Cornish United, 3dwt. 2|gr. from 800 tons ; the Canadian, 2dwt. 8gr. from 450 tons; the Old Canadian, 3dwt. from 900 tons; the Independent, 2dwt. 8gr. from 1,100 tons; the Majestic, 2dwt. 5gr. from 1,200 tons; the Two Two, ldwt. 12gr. from 700 tons; and the Golconda, 2dwt. 12gr. from 800 tons. Some of the quartz companies have to deal with better stuff, Beckman and Co. having got 25dwt. per ton from 40 tons ; the Globe Company, 30dwt. from 91 tons; the Band of Hope, 24dwt. 8gr. from 420 tons ; and others from 7£dwt. to lOdwt. But, as a rule, the quartz of Ballarat is poor, the average yield of the stone per ton in one district, for the month referred to, having been only 4dwt. 12gr., and of another only 2dwt. 17gr. In no other part of the colony has the quartz been found so scantily furnished with gold. That circumstance, no doubt, forced on the attention of the reefers of the district the necessity of solving the problem of how to treat poor quartz, and it is well that its solution fell to men accustomed to deal with mining difficulties, and to triumph over them. What has been done here can be done elsewhere, now that how to do it has been shown. Surely it is a great fact that quartz averaging less than three pennyweights per ton can be made to pay thirty per cent, per annum on a large capital, proving as it does that quartz-mining may be profitably carried on wliile a hill or reef of quartz remains unreduced in Victoria, for it is rare indeed that

quartz is found utterly barren, or giving so small a yield of gold as one pennyweight and a-half to the ton.

Chapter XVI.

BALLARAT CONTINUED The Alluvial Workings and Deep Leads.

The alluvial of Ballarat was very rich in gold ; but the yields that were obtained eight or nine years ago from the Frenchman’s Lead, the Eureka, Canadian Gully, the White Flat, and the Magpie, are within the memory of so many people that I am saved from turning back to the records of those times, or recaling the tales that circulate as to instances of individual good fortune—of miners, poor to-day, sleeping at night with pillows of gold-dust under their heads—of saving wives who found abundance of pin-money hi washing the soil off their husbands’ boots. Nor need I make reference to the magnificent nuggets found on Bakery-hill, and other places, a list of which will be found in the catalogue of our contributions to the Great Exhibition. The richness of the field may have had something to do with those heavy exactions, and mistaken proceedings to enforce them, against which the unfortunate affair of the Eureka was a protest ; and it was the cause of those grievously restrictive bye-laws, which for so long a period tied down the miner to the smallest possible space of alluvial ground, and prescribed a limit of three feet along the line of a deep lead as the maximum extent of ground which a miner’s right should cover. The field, however, was by no means so extensive as that of Bendigo ; and had the deep leads

remained undiscovered, the tale I should have had to tell of Ballarat would have been short.

Seen from the top of the Black Hill, the alluvial narrows itself into the valley of the Yarrowee, with the gullies to the south, from below Warrenheip and Little Bendigo, to the Magpie—once so densely populated and so extensively built upon, but now so utterly deserted that not even a solitary Chinaman rocks his cradle upon it. The scene, however, which the eye takes in as it travels round, is one of rare beauty, varied and delightful in outline—so picturesquely wooded towards romantic Warrenheip, so pleasantly stretched out in woods and fields and dark rocky plains towards Mount Emu on the west, and the Bald Hill, Mount Hollowback, and the Peak of Ercildoun to the northward, with the distant Pyrenees beyond all, that I could have fancied myself once more in the West Highlands of Scotland. The two Ballarats lie below, the eastern municipality extending its long lines by the Yarrowee, and along Canadian Gully, on the Buninyong and Geelong road; and the still more rising and important western townsliip crowning the rising ground northwards towards the swamp ; and, westward, over the brown and rocky plain, now stripped of its wood, under which the rich deep leads extend. The run of the main leads could be traced on the surface, as on a map, by the strange erections upon them, like windmills without arms, that were pointed out as the buildings of the Royal Saxon, the Great Republic, the Cosmopolitan, the Great Extended, the Nelson, the Band of Hope, the Red Jacket, the Working Miners, and other companies which have of late days become famous for the golden yields their ground is giving, or the hopes that are entertained of the quantities of the royal metal that

will be obtained when the gutter is reached. Through this great plain the Yarrowee carries its small yellow flood towards the west and southwest, its course bounded on the north by the basaltic rock, and on the south and east by quartz ranges, and the alluvial gullies which constituted the Ballarat gold-field when Ballarat East arose. In following the alluvial from Golden Point, across the White Horse Flat—the scene of the first co-operative work in the district—the lead of gold was found to dip rapidly, and run under the bluestone on the northern side of the creek. This fact, coupled with a gradually lessening yield from the alluvial, led to the formation of co-operative companies to sink through the bluestone, and subsequently to those splendid discoveries which are now rejoicing the heart of Ballarat. An enterprise of another kind took its rise about the same time, in the formation of sluicing companies, who constructed races—some of them eight and ten miles long—to bring water from the Dividing llange, wherewith to sluice the made hills on the south of the creek. These companies, however, were less fortunate. Their races were indifferently supplied with water, the leakage was great, and the returns, therefore, were small. Of this water rage, the only remains are the now useless trenches, and a small cement mill in the bed of the Yarrowee, driven by an overshot wheel, where the refuse cast out from the Great Extended and other works is crushed by men who get it almost for the taking away.

The deep leads, I need scarcely remark, were the beds of ancient rivers. The main stream on the south side of the ridge on which Ballarat West stands is known as the Golden Point Lead, having been traced from thence. In its course, which is westward for a mile or so to the

Koh-i-noor Company’s works, and then south-westerly, it is joined by numerous other leads, from east and west— such as the Inkermann, the Frenchman’s, the Milkmaid’s, the Nightingale, the Redan, the Malakhoff, the Durham, &c. The bed has been filled with washdirt,” quartz-boulders, clay, gravel, and gold, and its breadth represents the importance of the ancient stream. In the Great Extended Company’s ground the washdirt is from 300 to 500 feet broad, and about six feet in depth. None of its branches or tributaries are of equal size, but some of them are of greater depth The Golden Point Lead has been traced for seven miles from the bridge, at Ballarat, as far as the Scottish and Cornish Company’s ground, and though it does not take the exact course of its modern successor, the Yarrowee, it follows the present contour of the ground, turning towards the sea, and being found at the furthest western point to which it has yet been traced, at a depth not much exceeding that at which it is reached in the claims nearest its source. That depth, however, is considerable, being 380 feet in the Nelson Company’s ground. Its richness may be calculated when it is stated that the main lead in the Great Extended ground, exclusive of the tributaries, averages 3001. per foot. Through the washdirt down the course of the old-world river, a stream of brackish, mineral tasted water, flows constantly seawards, as if to some outlet in the plains on the south-west, or to the more distant sea. In following it, various peculiarities indicate how the gold has been deposited. Where the level bed had permitted the stream to flow only slowly, gold is got in great abundance ; where the stream had been strong, the gold was swept along too impetuously for it to settle; and where a tributary mingled its waters in what may have

been a pool, or where an elbow projected itself into the stream, a richer return than usual is expected. Supplied from quartz-reefs at their fountain head, those streams swept across and along other lodes. When they run northwards, or parallel with the reef, the yield is poor; but wjiere they cross the reef, and immediately under its projecting cap, the finds are good. This was the case with the shallow leads, and it holds good as regards the deeper ground. In every lead, the gold varies in -shape and colour—in the Frenchman’s, for example, it is fine and flaky, and of good colour ; and in the National it is coarse, nuggetty, and veiy bright; the selling value, however, is the same. When those leads had their origin, and when those great successive layers of bluestone were thrown over them, are amongst those lost incidents in the history of creation to which science can do no more than point. The extent to which the quartz boulders have been rolled shows that they had been carried a veiy much greater distance than the ranges to winch we ascribe their origin, or that they were shaken to and fro in great convulsive struggles of nature such as the Earth has not experienced since man came upon it from the hand of the Creator. In some instances— as in the Scottish and Cornish—the Milestone arches the stream from bank to bank, and in others thick beds of clay lie between the surface of the river and the superincumbent rock. Great trees have been discovered, petrified into a dark substance that, when first found, was hard as basalt, but which crumbled into charcoal when exposed to the air. One waif of this kind from the pre-Adamite world was found in Bath’s claim, measuring a hundred and fifty feet long, and four feet in diameter—thrown up on the bank as if by a great flood. In the Nelson ground, a large charred

tree was found, lying flat, surrounded by bluestone ; and another, eighteen inches in diameter, standing upright as it had grown, in the basalt, with its roots in the clay below. The clay itself immediately above the washdirt presents evidences of vegetation on its surface, showing that it had at one time formed the cfrust of the earth. In the Independent Company’s claim it was found hardened into a honeycombed rock, the lower bed presenting evidences of fire. In the honeycombed stone, some two or three years ago, a live frog was disentombed, but, to the great regret of his captor, it died on being exposed to the light. Four successive layers of basaltic rock had thus overrun at long intervals, and buried the golden streams of an ancient world ; and so changed has the crust of the earth become since the last of those great seas of molten rock passed over llie land that the craters from whence they issued have themselves become lost. The story of those waves of fire and smoking floods is an epic of the grandest oxler—a poem a Milton might write. And now, after long ages, in the calm and settled day, when our Earth is unshaken by the war of the fierce elements she holds in her bosom, we probe our way through the thick rocks, and recover from the beds' of those ancient streams the precious metal hidden in them, perhaps when the first great fiat went forth, and the waters were parted from the land, and out of chaos a new planet sprang into being at the command of God.

The discovery of the deep gutters, I have said, was incidental to the working of the alluvial on the White Flat, and the sinking of the shafts upon them was a wTork of years and of large cost. I have mentioned that it was undertaken, for the most part, on the cooperative system, and the capital was the labour of the

workers, their previous savings from their successes in the shallow alluvial, and not unfrequently the produce of their exertions in the exercise of trades when they were not engaged in the workings below. From the time some of the companies commenced work, three to five and six years elapsed before the leads were reached, and something like a quarter of a million of money was drawn from the banks by depositors to sustain them in those operations. I may proceed to give a few statistics to show the character of the operations thus bravely undertaken and gallantly carried out, and the successes that have attended them, without attempting to write the history of the deep-gutter companies, or of entering minutely into their affairs, or of selecting one over another as an instance of shining success.

I visited the works of the’ Great Extended Company, the Nelson, and others, but a sketch of the first-named will be enough for my purposes. A walk of a little more than a mile or so from the centre of Ballarat brought me to the scene of the Great Extended Company’s operations. Here, almost surrounded by piles of firewood, I was introduced to a number of the working shareholders in a little wooden office, on which no superfluous wealth had been thrown away. It is not the rule, indeed, amongst the mining companies of Ballarat to waste money in needless buildings or useless ornamentation—the test of success is a handsome fortnightly dividend. In the old times of three feet of a lead per man, it would have been impossible to have sunk such a shaft as that of thè Great Extended with a profit, because while the labour of piercing the bluestone was one of three years’ duration, at the least, the wash-dirt itself would have been worked out in one,

leaving the balance on the wrong side of the account, Early necessity and practical sagacity led to the adoption of extended areas under a frontage system, which secured to a company a prescribed length of the gutter when they found it, with a considerable extent of land on each side of it, the lines following the windings of the ancient watercourse. The main defect of the system, in practice, has been the requirement that a certain lead should be registered for, with the risk of serious consequences should the lead really found not be that prospected for, but one registered by some neighbouring company—a cause of dispute from which troublesome and expensive litigation has arisen. Under this frontage system the Great Extended Company hold 6,000 feet of the main lead, there being eighty shareholders, each of whom is entitled to claim seventy-three feet. The company was registered in September, 1856, and they commenced at a point which, they thought, would bring them upon the Redan Lead. They were fortunate, for in three years they bottomed in their shaft on a lead which has since been ascertained to be the Golden Point, trending away south-westwards. It is stated that ¿£120,000 were spent in labour and cash before gold was got. I give the statement as it was given to me. Even this large expenditure will bear small proportion to the return, as the estimate formed of the washdirt, from samples taken in drives or  fences ” formed all round the ground, and from crossdrives, is that it will produce 21,600?. per man from the main lead, or 1,768,000?. in all, exclusive of the produce of the tributaries, of which their are several, before the ground is worked out. The workings are 352 feet deep. Four layers of bluestone, varying from five to twenty feet thick, were passed through. The walls are of slate,

with sandstone occasionally rising up in broken mul-locky-looking reefs. In the third and fourth rocks, and in the clay between the bottom rock and the washdirt, a great drift was experienced. From the time the gold was struck the lowest fortnightly dividend has been 20/. per share, and the highest 110/. In the month of February a sum of 210/. per share was paid. In the first fortnight of that month 2,169oz. of gold were got, and in the second, 2,338oz. The fortnightly yields from April last up to the date of my visit were as follows, omitting pennyweights and grains :—April, 868 and 809 ounces; May, 1,517 and 805 ounces; June, 571 and 789 ounces; July 5, 899 ounces ; July 16, 879 ounces. During the whole of tills period, however, the company were not working upon the main gutter, but some hundred feet from it, towards the reef, at a level seventeen feet above the main lead; and in running the trucks down to the main-ways breaks had to be used on the wheels. The yields, therefore, though large, were from the poor ground. The company have begun to block back to the shaft, and in the piece of ground on which they are more immediately engaged they have five years’ work before them. To exhaust the mine will require a period variously estimated at from fifteen to five-and-twenty years. An amalgamation has been made with the New Band of Hope as regards the working of a large portion of ground below the junction of the Bed an Lead, with that of the Golden Point, and the two companies are jointly cutting down and enlarging the old shaft of the exhausted Golden Gate works, at a cost of 1,200/., to w'ork the amalgamated claim. The maekinjry of the Great Extended Company consists of two engines of 25-horse power each, one for pumping and winding and the other for puddling.

Steam is supplied by two boilers, and a third is about to- be added. Three steam-driven puddling-machines separate the valueless from the good waslidirt sent up from the mine by the labours of the shareholders, or their substitutes, and of from twenty to thirty hired men, who earn 21. 10s. per week, with 10s. for every extra shift of eight hours. Work is carried on day and night, in three shifts ; and the richness of the waslidirt has led to the adoption of a strict rule, applicable to shareholders as well as to hired men, that the clothes the miner wears in the drives below shall be changed in a room provided for the purpose. The object, of course, is to prevent any over-covetous partner, or poor labourer, from yielding to temptation, and helping himself to a larger share of the golden spoil than he is entitled to. Washing-off,” which takes place in the afternoon of every day, is the process most interesting to the chance visitor. A stream of clear water is let into the head of a long wooden trough, in which a ribbed false bottom and moveable cross-bars are placed. The puddled stuff is wheeled to the head of this trough in barrows, thrown in in shovelfuls, and worked backwards and forwards until the whole is thoroughly disintegrated, the large stones passing down over the false bottom» stirred on them way by one of the washers, with a long iron forked instrument, half pitchfork half shovel. The heavier gold falLs through the false bottom, and is caught on the cross bars. Among the large stones, specimens of quartz holding gold, and gold-bearing cement, are frequently picked up on the prongs of the washer’s fork, and laid aside. The smaller gravel passes down to the bottom, where it is shovelled up by Ciiina^pn, and trucked to the waste heap outside ; the Chinamen receiving for this laborious work some 20s. a-week with leave

to fossick in the waste, in which they occasionally pick up some nice little specimens. There is no doubt that gold in some quantity is lost here, as 10s. a day is paid by certain persons for leave to cart away as much of this refuse as they choose, which they crush at a little mill not far away. The quantity of cement, indeed, met with in the drives lias led to a proposition to add a battery of stamps to the plant of the company to crush it. Some hours are consumed in washing-up; and the produce on the day I saw it gone through exceeded 120 ounces. Washed down with brushes when the gratings were removed, and the cross-bars were taken up one after another, the gold was then lifted with shovels into buckets, for a final washing before weighing and removal to the bank. The process is efficient, though it seemed to be rude, and the scene altogether was one of rare interest and curiosity. How little do they know in England, thought I, of how gold is won from the earth; and how strange it would seem to a poor cotton-spinner of Manchester, a ploughman of Wilts, or a Buckhaven fisherman, to see the raw material of sovereigns—the “ red gold” of the poets—gathered up with brushes and tossed about with shovels !

Chapter XVII.

BALLARAT-CONCLUDED.

The Cosmopolitan Company’s works are the most northern on the Golden Point Lead of those now at work. ♦ This company has the distinction of having paid the highest dividend for a week’s work ever paid on Ballarat. The amount was 143i. per share. The number

of claimholders is forty. They were registered in July, 1856, commenced work in January, 1857, and struck the gutter in August, 1859. They passed in succession through four feet of surface soil, 112ft. of basaltic rock, sixteen feet of stiff clay, twenty-seven feet of the second layer of basalt, seven feet of red clay, and 200ft. of bed rock. The depth of the main shaft is 366ft., and a blind shaft has been sunk fifty feet farther in the bed rock, or 410ft. in all. In performing this large amount of work an expenditure of 13,9007 was incurred in labour alone. From the shaft there is a drive of 1,500ft. to the main gutter, the inclination of which is one foot in a hundred, while the average fall of the shallow or reef leads running into it is five feet in a hundred. The gold raised up to the 13th of July last was sold for 72,4297, the dividends on forty-two shares having amounted to 1,7207 each share. The total expenditure on the mine up to the same date was 21,8597

As I propose merely to quote a few figures from the books of some of the companies to show the amount of the labour'they have performed, and the excellence of the returns they are obtaining, I pass on to the Nelson Company, consisting of eighty-four shareholders. They are registered for the Frenchman’s Lead, and have found a new gutter in their ground, to which they have given the name of the Nelson.” This company commenced their operations, on the 19th of April, 1856, and obtained the gutter at a depth of 380ft. In sinking the shaft they passed through nine feet of surface soil, 327ft. of basalt, ten feet of stiff clay, thirty feet of mixed clay and stratified rock, and four feet of wash-dill;. They bottomed on the 29th of June, 1861, having been five years in getting through the Milestone, and washing up operations commenced on the 26th of

September last. The total cost of the mine up to that period had been 55,449/. in wages, and 12,000/. in machinery, <fcc. ; or about 67,500/. in all. The yield of gold has been large. From the 21st of July to the 15th August last, both inclusive, 2,411 ounces were washed out, or an average of over 100 ounces per day, which at 80s. an ounce represents an annual income of 125,200/. A tributary gutter found between the claims of the Nelson and Red Jacket Companies, and which was the occasion of a protracted and complicated law-suit between them, produced 10,091 ounces of gold, which were sold for 39,849/., in fourteen months, during which it was worked under the management of an officer appointed by the judge of the district court of mines. In that period this merely tributary watercourse was worked for a length of 450ft., to a breadth of sixty-nine and an average depth of five feet. I regret that I am unable to give the exact figures, as they would have well illustrated the importance, in a pecuniary point of view, of the singular cases which our courts of mines are sometimes called upon to decide, and the richness of the leads that, in all probability, yet lie undiscovered under the basalt of Ballarat, and other districts of which the geology is similar.

Turning northwards towards Wendouree Swamp, the Royal Saxon may be taken as another example of the mining enterprise of this field, and the singular success that has sometimes rewarded it. This company’s leads are the Inkermann—the most northern tributary of the Golden Point Lead—the National, and the Mill Leads. They commenced to sink their shaft in October, 1858, and they succeeded in striking the gutter within eleven months, at a depth of 360ft. They had passed through eight feet of surface clay, 167 ¿ft. of the first layer of

basalt, then nineteen feet of red clay, next, forty-five feet of the second trap rock, then seventy-seven and a quarter feet of white and red clay and gravel ; and, lastly, fifty feet of sandstone, and the bed rock, blue slate. The cost of thevrork was remarkably small, not having exceeded 4,77*51. The property of the company is held in forty shares. They mine on sixteen acres of private land, for the gold coming from which they have given the owner (Mr. Bath) three sleeping shares, and a royalty of 27. per week. They also have five acres of private land the property of Mr. Brown, and 9,500ft. of the Swamp. Since May of last year they have been engaged mainly on the National Lead—the Inkermann being very wet—winch comes from north to south, in a course varying from twenty feet to sixty feet wide, the dirt ten feet thick, the gold rough and nuggetty. Three shares are held by the company, the dividends on which pay the entire expenses. In eleven weeks preceding my visit 1,0007. per share had been paid in dividends. Here, as in many of the other claims, horses are used in the drives to draw the trucks of wash-dirt to the shaft, and one straight drive has been put in a thousand feet in length.

While I was on Ballarat 2,0007. was offered and refused for a share in tliis company. 3,1007. has been paid for a share in the Great Extended Company— figures which give an idea of the value of mining property on Ballarat. A calculation has been made, which shows that the shares of twelve co-operative companies in Ballarat and its immediate neighbourhood are worth at this moment a million of money. Nor is tliis large sum an undue estimate when the richness of the known gutters is considered. Four hundred and forty-eight shareholders in the dividend-paying claims—for there

are some of the companies who are still struggling in the bluestone—are drawing dividends varying in amount from 10?. to 100?. per fortnight. An average yield is maintained of about 6,000oz. of gold per week, nearly all of which is from the alluvial, quartz-mining being only as yet at its commencement. The gold thus produced is worth 24,000?., or a pound per head for every man, woman, and child within a wide circle round the joint municipalities ; an amount of money, relatively to the population, which, probably, circulates amongst the working-classes in no other locality under the sun. Nor are instances of individual success rare in this golden community. The money as it is received is rapidly reinvested in similar but less advanced works. Working-men were pointed out to me who, by their frugality, prudence, and spirited management of their means, had advanced to the position of men of large capital—men who at home would at best have been managers or sub-managers, or underground viewers, of coal-works or copper mines, drawing wages at a rate per annum not equal to a fortnight’s dividend on the shares they own. I may mention the case of one honest Cor-nishman, if only to er courage others. When he arrived on Ballarat he was the fortunate possessor of 500?. He was a hard-working man, with a careful wife and five or six children looking to him for their daily bread, and he went at once to work in the Gravel-pits. An unkindly succession of bad fortune followed him there, and he lost his entire capital. He then went as a driver to the Inkermann Company, saved money there, and, with his savings to back him, joined the Royal Saxons as a working shareholder. Before the shaft was bottomed he was hard pinched to make the two ends meet; but he strug gled through, and with his earliest dividends he picked

up shares from his less sanguine mates, buying for 150?. interests now worth 2,000?. each. He holds five full shares in this company, valued at 10,000/.; liis last July dividend from it was 300/., and at that time Ids returns from that company had exceeded 1,000/. He owns thirty-seven shares out of the hundred which constitute the Southern Cross Company ; and he is extensively interested in the Band of Hope and Great Republic Companies. It is probably not an exaggerated calculation when it is stated that this fortunate miner has made 20,000/. in the last five years, starting with nothing, and owing Ids success in life to his own strong resolution to do well, industrious habits, and intelligent forethought.

The success of the leading companies, however, had produced an excitement under which I found a considerable section of the population labouring, and from which some evils may arise, if the good sense of the community has not already checked the fever in its first development. Stock-jobbers and brokers had established themselves in excited rivalry at the comer of Lycliard and Sturt streets, and crowds of claim-owners haunted the Stock Exchange, watching the variations of the market. Good news sent the price of scrip flying up, and reports of doubtful character again depressed them. Known successes gave confidence to the claimholders in some of the companies who had not yet reached the gutter, and a legitimate firmness to the stock of others. To these effects of the abundance of the money and increasing reliance on the future of those companies, there could be no possible objection; nor could it be a source of regret, in any manner, that the selling price of shares in companies— such as the Great Extended—whose ground has been thoroughly proved, should approximate to their real value as an investment. That Nelson shares, or those

of tne Royal Saxon, and of companies similarly situated, should attain a figure which, though high, is warranted by their prospects, is what all should desire to see. I fear, however, that the operations I saw going on were stimulated by other causes than a desire legitimately to invest savings, and that the work of the jobbers would end here, as it has done everywhere else—in fortunes, perhaps, for some, but loss and harm to many. If foreign capital had sought out the field, desiring to share in the fairly-earned profits of the mines, I could have understood the growing excitement. There would have been honest biddings for what might be regarded as a large and well-secured annuity for life, and the motives of the sellers could have as easily been comprehended. But there was no such sudden invasion of capital from without, and the buyers were not strangers to the district, nor men who bought properties to hold. To me it seemed to be nothing more than the old game of beggar-my-neighbour played in a new form. It was one local man bidding against another-»-buying to-day, and selling to-morrow to some other neighbour, if the scrip advanced in value in the interim, but probably repudiating his bargain, or being unable to complete it, if the scale turned meanwhile. The process undoubtedly forced up the price of shares, but the property itself possessed no more intrinsic value than it did before; and the real wealth of the district was increased only in name. It is probable, as I have already remarked, that the excitement on the Stock Exchange in the months of June and July has done no more than given a proper confidence to the miners of the district in its resources, and a correct estimate of the value of the property they may be said to have created. If this is the case, good has been done, But if it passes further, evil will

undoubtedly arise, the limits and consequences of which cannot be estimated. Men interested in an unhealthy and feverish state of the mining interest, and whose profits are made from the frequent exchange of shares, and the height to which scrip, which has been bought low, can be praised and puffed, cannot be expected to see readily that over-trading in shares invariably has the same consequences. It existed in Melbourne, and it was only driven out when no more victims could be found. It paralyzed Sandhurst and Castlemaine for a time, and it all but ruined Maldon. It has flowered last on Ballarat, and if the plant is not ruthlessly cut down its fruits there, as elsewhere, will be Dead Sea apples to those who gather them.

An excitement of another sort existed in a portion of the district. Some seven miles or so to the south-west, in the valley known as Dog Trap Creek, which the Golden Point Lead is supposed to traverse, the Leviathan, the Scottish and Cornish, the Sons of Freedom, and other companies, have been quietly and perseveringly at work, for some four or five years past, pounding the bluestone, in hope to strike through into a rich lead below. They occupy this land, as all the others do on Ballarat, with scarcely an exception, by virtue of their miners’ rights, and under the liberal frontage system of the district. In the course of the last few years—as one of the local journals reports—the three companies named have spent respectively 28,986/., 37,474/., and 40,000/. But, while the miners were busy in the underground, a number of ’cute land speculators took advantage of the occupation-licence system introduced by the Heales Ministry, and squatted down on the lands held by those companies. To give legal titles to the holders of those licences, and so give royal

faith to a promise by a Minister, a special provision was introduced into the Land Act of 1862, giving the holders of such licences a prior right to come in as purchasers of the freehold of the soil they had proposed to cultivate. The intended exercise of that right naturally, and not too soon, alarmed the miners, whose property and expectations were likely to be swept away together. The ' urgency and peculiarity of the case have been impressed on the Ministers of the Crown, and the exercise of the particular provision of the Land Bill applicable to the occupation-licences will be suspended until the •«ill of Parliament can be expressed on the matter. It shows, however, what unexpected harms may arise from hasty changes in the laws of a country, and that not all the vigilance of a Parliament, supposed to be peculiarly constituted of practical men, can suffice to check the consequences of the hot haste of a Minister.

I found another question of a political character forcing itself to the surface, and claiming immediate attention-—I mean that of mining on private property. It is proved that the Golden Point Lead, and its tributaries, are taking a seaward direction. They are following the course of the Yarrowee. Land wliich was supposed, a few years ago, to be entirety beyond the bounds of the gold-yielding district, and were sold as pastoral lands, are now found to be traversed by gutters in all directions. So satisfied are some men of the course which discovery will take hereafter that investments are made, or proposed, far beyond the existing line of demarcation between auriferous and ncn-auriferous lands, the Smythesdale leads, again, are ascertained to be distinct runs of gold—old rivers having their own sources, and following their own line to that ancient lake or sea which, if it is ever traced out, may be found

to contain whole stranded navies,” in the shape of nuggets. Northwards from Ballarat, late discoveries indicate runs of gold under the basaltic rocks of the Talbot district, where much land has been sold. While I was on Ballarat a bold step had been taken by the Bonshaw Mining Company in the purchase of Winter’s Paddock—640 acres, originally obtained under a preemptive right—for the' sum of 20,000Z. The example thus set will undoubtedly be followed, and we shall ere long have mining companies the owners of land pm-chased perhaps in advance of information supplied to the Crown, and obtained for much less money than even a single year’s rent at the price—21. 10s. per acre—proposed to be charged to them under the Leases of Auriferous Lands Bill. When this state of matters arises, is the Crown to retain the light to enter in between the company and their mining operations ? What one Minister threatened, and another explained away, a third may enforce. Are miners, again, thus gold-digging on their own land, to be absolutely protected against all other holders of miners’ rights 1 If it should be proposed, in the forthcoming Gold-fields Bill, to give gold miners a right to enter on private property, subject to an agreement with the owner, is a special provision to be inserted, fencing in the land so owned by gold-mining companies against all others than the holders of the company’s scrip 1 The question seems to be ripe for settlement, and the time opportune for its disposal. The agricultural lands of the colony are thrown open for settlement, but who can tell that the basaltic rock which protrudes itself here and there on the surface, does not cover a main river or a little streamlet of gold ? The line can no longer be drawn with accuracy between auriferous and non-auriferous ground. There

will be endless applications for the withdrawal of Lands as being of the former class, after survey for sale has been made. There seems to be no better way out of this mass of difficulties than the simple one of selling the gold with the land, at a higher price, it may be, where there is reason at the time of the sale to suppose the land to be auriferous, and with a provision for the entrance of the miner under proper and equitable conditions. This seemed to be the feeling of the district on tliis question, and that it must be dealt with as soon as Parliament meets is obvious.

I met with two or three anxious inquirers, of the house-owning class, whose main anxieties seem to centre in the question—when will the deep leads be exhausted ? A few facts present themselves on the surface, and answer the question. When I have put them before my timid friends I shall have finished my hasty survey of Ballarat, and if I have only repeated a tale familiar to every one in the district, it is because there is nothing to be said of it new to them. The light of Ballarat has not been hidden under a bushel, and the active and able journalists of the districts have not suffered its advantages to lie in obscurity. If the miners have been successful, their successes have been from time to time accurately recorded, and their requirements as faithfully advocated. The facts I have strung together are more for the information of the miners of other localities— their recapitulation may have interest for others who are less familiar with Ballarat than are the men of Ballarat. From the Durham Lead to the Swamp, the extent of land mined upon from the south-east to the north-west may be set down at twelve miles in length, though the breadth of the field is not great. It is barely three years since the first of the large co-operative companies

struck the gutter, and some of the best of them have scarcely been a year in gold. During the slow progress of shaft-sinking in the bluestone, a quarter of a million of money was withdrawn from the banks. Some of the companies have not yet struck the gutter, and while uncertainty hung over their prospects, the temptations of Port Curtis, the Snowy River, Otago, and the Lachlan were successively passed through. While the Albion Company and the Working Miners’ have been sinking their shafts, the towns of Ballarat and Ballarat East have been formed. A hundred and nine streets have been made; thirty-one schools have found scholars ; an hospital, an asylum, town-halls, police courts, nine banks, a mechanics’ institute, two theatres, a gas-works, ten foundries, two flourmills, a tannery, and markets have been built, and reserves and a botanic garden have been laid out for the pleasure of the people. The merchants have their chamber of commerce, the mechanics their institute, the volunteer firemen their brigade houses, the fanners their agricultural society, and the gardeners their flower shows. The local revenue has risen from 2,562/. in 1856 to 12,637/. in 1860; and while local enterprize gave itself to local improvements, a main line of railway has been constnicted to connect the town with the capital and the sea. Ballarat West alone has formed eighteen miles of streets, and forty-five miles of footpaths, and taxed its 11,000 people to 6,184/. for the past year on a rental of 82,721/., the net value of the land and buildings being set down at 661,772/. Wooden houses have almost entirely given place to stone buildings. As much as 1,300/. has been paid for half an acre of land for building purposes, and the purchaser next day refused 2,500/. for his bargain. One of the

banks paid 7 51. per foot for tlie land its office stands upon. While this lias been the rate of progress within the municipalities, agricultural settlement has proceeded rapidly in the neighbourhood. In the Ballarat and Creswick districts alone, 000,000/. worth of Crown land has passed into freeholds for private owners. In the Road Board district 44,000 acres were under cultivation in 1860, while all round—in Linton’s, Lexton, Camgham, Woady-Yallock, and Buninyong—agricultural settlement has proceeded rapidly, though the miners as a body have not given their thoughts as yet to the bliss of having a little farm to till, and of sitting in the shade of their own vines and fig-trees. All this has been done while the yield of gold fell from 823,3341oz. in 1856 to 266,676 oz. in 1860. But the Royal Saxon, the Nelson, the Red Jacket, and other important companies have bottomed since that year, and a large and constant supply of gold is again obtained which will tell favourably upon the returns in future years. It has been ascertained beyond all doubt that those large companies cannot work their ground out for twenty years to come. Quartz-reefing, further, has only been begun. The alluvial is still unexhausted. Between the Golden Point and the Cobbler’s there is plenty of gold, and a splendid scheme of water supply now being carried out by the municipalities, with Government aid, and which contemplates three reservoirs, to contain 733,000,000 gallons of water, at a cost of 100,000/., will enable the whole series of made Mils, known as the White Horse Ranges, to be washed down.

Hitherto, the vaUey of the Yarrowee and its tributaries has been the main scene of the labours of the miners of Ballarat, and new discoveries under the basalt are of constant occurrence. All the old watercourses of that

K

strange field have not yet been marked out, and by every new discovery the period in which the alluvial will be exhausted is materially lengthened. Again, a new field seems about to offer itself. Wendouree Swamp occupies the crest of the hill to the north of the municipality, and all the leads known up till a very recent period traversed the southern slope, making their way to the main run in the ancient valley below. Under the high ground, however, there are reefs and leads in every direction. Not a dish of earth can be washed which does not show gold. The Independent was, and the Mill claim is, very rich. Streams of water flow to the north as well as to the south from the Swamp ; and the experience of the Essex Company leads to the belief that untouched leads take their rise there, and follow a north-westerly course. At a distance of 260 feet from the Swamp, on the northern declivity, that company have lately obtained the richest prospect ever yet found on Ballarat, though they have not tried the gutter itself. The Suburban Company, on the same slope, have also struck gold. If the Garibaldi are equally fortunate, the way will have been opened to a vast extension of the golden resources of the district. As matters stand, there is no lack of employment for all who are able to labour. There may be poverty on Ballarat, but it is of a kind inseparable from our race—“ The poor ye will always have with you.” And if this has been the progress of Ballarat during six years, in five of which there was a gradually diminishing yield of gold, what rational apprehension can be entertained of its future 1 The lowest point in the scale has been reached. There is every probability of an increased rather than a lessened yield of gold, and the resources of the district are not confined to its poor quartz-reefs, or rich deep claims. Its people have shown no disposition

at any time to sit down and cry upon Jove to help them. If they have a fault which may be delicately hinted—it is that, like Hal o’ the Wynd, they fight perhaps too keenly for their ain han.” The same resolute spirit, however, that has accomplished so much in so short a time, and lias lifted Ballarat as a township above all her gold-fields’ competitors, will provide ample work in noting her progress in wealth, resources, and importance for the visitor ten years hence.

Chapter XVI I.

MARYBOROUGH.

Seven or eight years ago Chinaman’s Flat, near Maryborough, was the scene of a great rush. The plain in which the ground was found is a wide one, and the precious metal was abundantly distributed. About the same period the Mariners’Reef was at the height of its reputation, some of the crushings from the top stone having given as high a yield as sixty ounces to the ton. Near Mount Greenock the basalt gives way to a quartz country, the reefs cropping out on the surface in numberless instances, and from Back Creek on the one side, almost all the the way to Dunolly on the other, the soil was found to be auriferous. A large township sprang up in the midst of wide-spread diggings, and for a long time Maryborough enjoyed a fair measure of prosperity, its importance securing for it and the smaller communities with which it is politically associated a double representation in the Reformed Parliament of Victoria. Though long a canvas town,” Mari borough has made considerable strides towards a higher rank in the list of gold

fields municipalities. Three years ago she had not a church, now she has five or six substantial places of worship. Then she had a police-camp ; now she has a gaol, a court-house, a town-hall, a stone-built telegraph and post-office, more than one bank located in handsome quarters, at least one hotel of superior pretensions, and a considerable number of private houses and business premises of the best class, indicative of a resolution on the part of their owners to “ go no more a-roving,” but to share the fortunes of the district. While the town thus grew in importance, however, and while agricultural settlements increased around it, the diggings themselves suffered a loss of reputation. The reefs, as they were followed deeper, did not maintain their primitive richness, and on Chinaman’s Flat the diggers were at last swamped out by the large quantities of water they encountered. Year after year these causes have operated against the advance of Maryborough as a mining district, and produced a dullness of trade from which I found it suffering. A little examination, I think, will satisfy the reader that this depression is removable ; and that, while a race of agricultural settlers may be expected to rise around Maryborough—in themselves the surest pillars of a thriving state—there is every reason to suppose that mining will revive, and be followed up with more energy and success than before.

The mining bye-laws of the Maryborough District are stigmatized throughout the colony as the most repressive and discouraging of all such regulations. They have tied the miner down to the least possible area of ground, and they have hedged him about with all manner of restrictions. Long after the system of twenty-feet claims on quartz reefs had been abandoned everywhere else, it was retained in foil

force here, and it was only the other day that the extent of reef a miner can hold was enlarged from twenty or twenty-four feet to forty feet. The district over which the laws of the Mining Board are imperative is a very large one. It extends to Inglewood and Korong on the one hand, and St. Arnaud’s on the other. It reaches up into the Pyrenees on the west, and extends over the Loddon plains ontheeast. It includes within its limits all manner of workings, every variety of ground, and every kind of reef. It should, therefore, have led the way in discovering how difficulties were to be met, how capital was to be induced to throw itself into the development of the district’s resources, and how reefing should be most effectually encouraged. It did none of these things. Possibly the very largeness of the area over which the board’s jurisdiction extended, and the difficulty that must have been experienced in getting the members from the remoter localities together, had much to do with its imperfect and short-sighted legislation. Whatever the cause, however, there can be no doubt of the effect ; and the board has still much to do to redeem its good name, and for the encouragement of the miners. The peculiarities of the reefs also had much to do with the neglect they have experienced. The Mariners’ is still an expensive riddle to all who have had to do with it, the solution of which is yet distant. The greater part of the quartz lodes offer only a moderate amount of gold, and that of a fineness that has added to the difficulties of the quartz crusher, and by its tendency to escape from the ordinary means employed in the crushing mills, has still further depreciated the reefs of Maryborough in the estimation of the miner. It has lately •been ascertained that nothing short of the retorting of all the quicksilver used in the ripples will save the fine

gold—that is to say, where mercury is employed, as against blankets. By this means reefs that have hitherto little more than paid the expenses of working have suddenly became largely profitable. The importance of this discovery to Maryborough becomes the more apparent when it is borne in mind that the quartz of the entire district, like that of Dunolly, is not rich. More auriferous than that of Ballarat, it falls far short, on the average, of that of localities farther to the north. This comparative poverty of yield lessened the returns of the reefers of the district, disinclined them to speculation, and crippled them in their operations, while it almost closed the district against the operations of the capitalist. If the yield is materially improved—in some instances it is doubled—by retorting the silver, it is apparent that very many lodes that have been opened and abandoned will again be sought out and worked with a profit. Hitherto many prospectors’ claims which gave five pennyweights to the ton have been abandoned as unprofitable, while men who worked out much richer lodes have left them as poor as when they commenced, the smallness of the claims allowed them having left no margin over the expenses when the accounts came to be added up. Larger claims, and the more certain system now adopted of obtaining the fine gold from the stone and the mercury, will give more confidence to the reefers of the district; and as this description of mining has been gradually drawing the alluvial men from the sinkings on the leads, it is probable that quartz mining will now make rapid strides. Three or four crushing machines have sprung up around the township ; the Leviathan and other reefs on the flat, which are of great breadth, have been commenced upon ; and a new reef of considerable richness has been reported from M‘Cul-

lam’s Creek within the last fortnight. The alluvial, also, is still deserving of attention. An attempt is being made to overcome with machinery the water of Chinaman’s Flat, and re-work the old lead, and it probably 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 under another want, which is not likely to be removed for some time. The chances of l: big finds” on newer fields—the Lachlan, the Jordan, Otago, &c. — have drawn away the youth of the district, and with them much of the spirit and the capital of the mining class. It is admitted that those w'ho are content with moderate success do well. The deposits of this class in the banks show a constant increase ; and few who wander abroad do not carry with them a knowledge of some secret spot where they can be certain of finding a living should stern necessity drive them back. What the district wants is more men and more capital to brings its numerous moderately payable reefs into work, and then would begin a time of fairly-developed prosperity, which might rationally be expected to increase more and more with the lapse of days and the increase of population.

I had a special object in view-, however, in visiting Maryborough. In various mining localities 1 had found an idea encouraged that a model shaft should be sunk under Government management to a great depth, for the

double purpose of proving the depth at which quartz ceases to be payable (if the Murchison theory is correct), of testing the character of the deeper strata, and of showing how a mine should be worked—that a model mine, in 3hort, should be dug out, in connection with a School of Mines, to teach the youth of the colony how to dig and mine for gold. The subject has been broached in Parliament; and, though it seems to me to be altogether chimerical, it has its supporters. There are model mines already in the colony, where the anxious student can freely study, and learn all that practical experience can teach him on every branch of the miner’s trade; and no deep shaft in any one locality will offer any guide to the miner in the very next gully, or on the next hill. It is impossible also, as it seems to me, to test the Murchison theory by any other mode than the varying experience of many miners in widely-separated parts of the colony. So far as we have yet gone, and in the tenth year of quartz-mining in this colony, we are farther than we were at the beginning from the solution of the question, and from knowing whether quartz ceases to be auriferous as it increases in depth from the surface. This much, however, seems to me to have been ascertained, that a model mine, say on Bendigo, would offer no experience of any practical value to Ballarat; and that the lessons to be learned in such a school on Inglewood would be utterly bewildering at Daylesford. If we are to have such a “ school,” there must be several of them ; but we are better without them, for their creation would be a vast expense to the country, unproductive of adequate results. It struck me, however, that the experience of the miners of Mariners' Ilcef might be of use in this question, their hopeful perseverance having led them to sink

the deepest shaft in the colony. I found, however, that the light it throws is entirely of a negative character. Had a “ model mining school” been planted here, the results would have been of little or no value to other districts, while they would have contributed nothing to the solution of the other questions.

This celebrated reef—the Mariners’—is distant about a mile or so from the township, on the south side, and is surrounded by others of less importance. The stone was originally found protruding a couple of feet from the surface. In the prospecting claim, sixty ounces of gold were got from a single ton of stone. The reef, however, rises up like an Ailsa Craig of quartz in a sea of non-auriferous rocks. It descends at an angle of forty-five degrees in some of the claims, and then appears to drop down almost perpendicularly, with an underlie to the west of five feet in a hundred. In the rich prospecting claim, the stone was found to be a mere “ pocket,” which was exhausted comparatively early in the history of the reef, and the shaft was not sunk deep enough there to test whether the stone again? made. The deep shaft was sunk at a measured distance from the prospecting claim, to reach the reef at 350 feet, if the inclination of the stone had not changed. This claim is now known as No. 1, and the work of sinking was commenced in January, 1855, the company consisting of fourteen members, working on the co-operative system. In the long struggle against the obstinate rock that has ensued, there have been several changes, but the number of shareholders still remains the same, and the work is being steadily and perseveringly continued. A large engine has been built for pumping purposes, and a smaller steaiji giant does the labour of winding. The word has been “down,” and still “down.” There has

been little driving. It is possible—and the experience of Poverty Reef suggests the thought—that the main reef has been passed, and that earlier driving to east and west might have revealed it. But the experience gained here, and in the other claims on the line, at all events, adds another to the singular anomalies the reefs of Victoria present. It has been found that there are five bodies of stone in the reef, or that, if it was once a solid mass, some powerful agency has passed through it, in two places, from west to cast or east to west, crushing the stone into a friable mass, reducible to sand by the fingers, as if it had been subjected to some intense fire. These broken bands are from three to four feet thick, and above and below them the stone is solid and white. In claims Nos. 7 and 8, a large body of white quartz was gone through at a depth of 260 feet. There was no gold in it, or at least no appreciable quantity ; but at some distance below it the miners came upon a reddish auriferous quartz, which gave very good returns. In No 1, at 400 feet deep, an iron-tinted leader was found, •and followed down for 100 feet, v hen it was lost. A drive, however, was put in on its course, and it was recovered. It yields an average of four ounces to the ton, and twenty tons can be taken out per week. At 500 feet down a whitish quartz was got in an immense mass, full of mundic—so full of it that the quartz, as one of the shareholders described it, seemed changing into this base metal. No gold was seen in this stone. It seemed to be the same in character as the quartz got at 250 feet in Claims 7 and 8, and the reddish quartz is looked for below it, if it is not already found. It is probable that the mundic, which increases in quantity with the depth of the quartz, has drawn the gold from this whitish stone, as it drew it from the quartz of Old

Specimen Hill and the Whip Reef, and that in the untried white mass in Mariners’ Reef there may be much gold held by the mundic in its embrace, which improved means of saving gold from pyrites may yet release. This shaft has been carried down 550 feet, and it is doubtful whether a true reef has been reached. The labour and expense have been very great The old Local Court of the district voted a sum of £850, to assist the enterprise, and their last act was to increase the claims of the fourteen shareholders from twenty to sixty feet each, iii consideration of their large outlay ; but the speculation is still, unfortunately, one of doubtful results to a most deserving company, and the experience of this deep shaft is of little or no value as regards the genera] questions which its experience, it was hoped, would help to solve. The quartz from the Mariners' Reef is crushed at the -Maryborough Company’s works, situated on Soldiers’ Reef (where a shaft of 120 feet deep has been sunk, and some return is being obtained by a system of tribute), and the recent introduction of the practice of retorting the whole of the mercury employed has considerably improved the yields, and with them the hopes, of all the Mariners’ Reef miners.

I have already remarked that there is abundance of auriferous land still unworked around Maryborough; while the success of the Leviathan Company on the reef of that name, and of the Magnum Bonum and United Companies on the wet alluvial of Chinaman’s Flat, will stimulate industry—when there are miners to stimulate 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.8 Traces of copper have been obtained near Maryborough, and iron abounds. I was shown a sample of lead, containing silver, said to have been found in the neighbourhood. I took some pains to trace this discovery through its author, but the evasive character of his statements led me to doubt the accuracy of his representations. If he possesses a secret of so much interest, it is unfortunate for the community that it should not be made known. The discovery of a lead mine would largely benefit, not Maryborough alone, but the colony generally. + The miners of this district I found doing well on the whole. If they earned less than in the “ old times,” they saved more, and had more money at tlicir command. They have left the poorer diggings to the Chinese, who bring to market small lots of gold which an European miner would despise as a week’s earnings. Very fewr of them have invested in land, though more may do so now, under the provisions of the new Land Act. They have left market-gardening entirely to the Chinese, who still cluster in some numbers in their “ camp ” here. Some few Frenchmen among the diggers have commenced vineyards, and their example has been followed on a small scale by less experienced vinegrowers. Looking at the district in the light of the past and of recent discoveries, I came to the conclusion that the cloud that still hangs over Maryborough has a golden lining. Greater depression than it has suffered it

is not likely again to experience, and as population increases, and the inventions of the ingenious improve the art of saving fine gold and drawing it from the pyrites, gold-mining will attract increasing attention here. Along the Bet-Bet and M'Callum’s Creek, and the plains towards Carisbrook and the Loddon—the  Bay of Biscay ” of travellers doomed to be shaken along this frightful line of road—there is ample room for agricultural settlement. Maryborough, therefore, cannot complain that material sources of prosperity have been denied to her.

Chapter XIX.

M‘IVOR.

I have discussed in a previous chapter one of the features of the M'lvor district. Having been much impressed with the importance of its mines of antimony,

I said little of its gold mines, and less of its beautiful scenery, but I could not avoid remarking the little attention the former are receiving, and the desirability of the land for agricultural settlement. Large as the rush was to M'lvor, the miners seem to have given their attention to a very narrow range of ground, and then to have • abandoned it as precipitately and as unwisely as they did Dunolly. As the traveller approaches the township of Heathcote from the northwards, he discerns no traces of the. prospector until he is almost within the township itself. Even then he finds that the digging was of a desultory character, and that big finds ” only were looked for. Average yields, such as would now be considered large on other fields, were not sufficient to satisfy

the miners in 1853. The main rush was to the creek, on the south-east of the township, and there, certainly, some splendid finds were obtained. The lead, however, was of no great breadth, the sinking was not deep, and when the lead was lost in wet ground, MTvor, it may be said, was abandoned. Fresh rushes broke out, and from that time downwards the field has been looked upon as one that had been good, but was exhausted. Nor were those of the miners who had made piles ” in the creek particularly happy or lucky in the forms of investment they preferred for the money they ha 1 made. Some of them put their savings into large buildings, intended for hotels, which had scarcely been erected when the people they were intended to accommodate abandoned the district; and they stand to this day unfurnished and uninhabited, most unremunerative bricks and mortar to their owners. Some few others were wiser in their choice, and from the quartz-reefs to which they gave their attention, good returns were obtained. The number of quartz-reefers, however, never was great, and the resources of the locality were never thoroughly examined. Excepting towards the north-east, where Redcastle and Whroo have arisen, the mining pioneer has not been at work, and alluvial and quartz lie alike untested. The Chinese, moreover, have lately proved that even the old creek was not worked out in the great rush, while it was left untraced as to where it came from, and where it went to. Some months ago, they re discovered the old gutter, or they found a new one, between the old watercourse and the ranges, but amongst the old workings, and the news soon spread amongst their countrymen scattered over the colony. It told heavily on the camp at Guildford, and from all quarters the Chinese drew together in a “rush.” When I passed the scene on my

way to the antimony mines, a camp of some 2,000 Celestial diggers had sprung up amongst the old holes, roofed and sheltered with leafy branches of gums, after the usual Chinese method of procuring shade from the sun. They were busy in the creek, and they were reported to be doing well; but they had the field entirely to themselves—not a European was upon it.

Of the quartz mining that followed upon the rush, the chief remains are concentrated in the Caledonia Reef and in the MTvor Caledonia Company, so well known in Melbourne, and so lately rescued, with much difficulty, from one of those perilous positions to which Melbourne companies seem to be fated. The reef is situated about two miles west from Heathcote, near Caledonia Gully, from which it derived its name. It is a well-defined reef, bearing twenty-one degrees west of north, with an underlie to the east, and a strike or dip to the south. Most of the reefs in this district, it may be remarked incidentally, run almost east and west. It was taken up in the usual way by numerous small parties, who obtained large returns, some of the quartz having given as high an average as twenty ounces to the ton, and crush-ings of seven ounces to the ton having been common. By these small parties, the reef was worked down to water, of which there is a very large quantity. They endeavoured to overcome it by horse-power, but unsuccessfully ; and they then combined to purchase an engine and pumps, but, unfortunately, they underrated the quantity of water the machinery had to remove, and the pumps proved inadequate to free the mine. In this state of matters, the claims were placed upon the market, and the MTvor Caledonia arose—some of the original holders of the ground retaining a large interest in the new company. The capital was fixed at £40,000,

iu ¿£4 shares. The company was formed in February, 1860. The original owners of the ground received £15,000 in cash and shares, and about ¿£28,000 has since been laid out in machinery and works, a mortgage held by the then directors representing the excess of expenditure over capital. It might have been supposed that, with the experience of the prospectors to guide the company, the operations of the latter would have been conducted to speedy and successful results, but the gold of the quartz mines seems to be guarded by the genius of failure. It was found that the old shafts were not adapted to the wants of a properly opened-up mine ; and the reef having become inundated from the inefficiency of the pumps, it was resolved to put down a new main shaft of very large size, which should afford room not merely for pumping and draining and a ladder road for the men, but for a temporary lift if at any time the pumps should go wrong. The sinking of this shaft was a work of time and great expense, the material gone through being so hard in some places that th'e work cost as much as ¿£40 per foot. The new shaft was placed to the east of the old one, and in going down the lode was found traversed at 170 ft, from the surface by two distinct bands of stratified rock—one a reddish-brown sandstone, and the other a clay slate of mixed colours, blue, grey, and brown. While the shaft was being sunk, new machinery was erected, consisting of a fifty-horse power engine for the battery and pumps, a Clayton and Shuttleworth’s engine for winding, and an engine of sixteen-horse power, which is also used in draining the reef The battery consists of twelve head of stamps ; the pumps are two 11 ^ in. lifts—the one a drawing lift, and the other a plunger ; and they are capable of raising something like 7,560,000 gallons of water per week. It

was originally proposed to carry the shaft down to 300 feet—a depth of seventy feet below the old workings, and then to drive for the main reef; but at the 226 feet level a cross-cut was put in, and when the reef was reached in it, it was found that the drive had only led into the exhausted portion of the mine. The depth ihe shaft has now attained is some 250 or 260 feet—a dispute existing as to the exact datum line for the measurement, which contributed considerably to the mistake made in putting in the cross drive. During these operations, and the successive changes of management to which they gaVe rise, only some fifty or sixty tons were crushed from the mine, the produce of which varied from four to six ounces to the ton, while the capital of the company had become exhausted, and the plant had been mortgaged to the directors. The workmen had become pressing for the arrears due to them ; and it became too clear to the shareholders that unless they exerted themselves speedily and energetically, their property would be sacrificed. I cannot bring myself to share the suspicion that went abroad among the holders of the company’s certificates at that point of their history. I cannot imagine that the men who composed the directory at the .time could lend themselves to any scheme which had for its object their own profit, in the ruin of the company. I force myself to believe that inadvertence, or disgust with perpetually recurring difficulties, suffered proceedings to go on that wore an air of doubt, and roused the shareholders to action, the result of which was an entire change of management, immediate returns from the mine, the resumption of labour in the shaft, and so radical a reform in the whole affairs of the company, that their prospects, black as night two or three months go, are now as bright and pro-

mising as those of any other progressive mine in the colony. While the affairs of the company were in court, a reef, or spur, 100 feet to the west of the main lode, was cut into from a cross-cut, from a drive put in at the 135 feet level on the course of the main lead. Gold was seen in this stone, and it was let on tribute by Mr. Carpenter, who then had the management of the works, the company receiving 9s. per pound of the value of the gold raised, and the men contributing ¿£15 per week besides towards the expense of keeping the machinery going. This western lode, or spur—for it is supposed to join the main lode at a considerable depth—averages some ten inches thick, and yields from two to four ounces per ton. The quartz, like that of the main lode, is of a reddish hue, highly crystallised— almost like loaf sugar. Now and then galena and sulphured of iron are met with in it. A late erushing of thirty-four tons from this reef gave 111 ozs. of gold. Since my visit, at a depth of 250 feet the main reef has been got, two feet and a-half thick, and gold is visible in every specimen that may be examined. The company now stands in a comparatively satisfactory posiiion. They are not only earning a clear weekly income more than sufficient to pay all their expenses and explore th,e mine, but they have reached the main reef, and they have in the western spur or reef a valuable addition to their resources. The tributors are making excellent wages from the latter alone, and the large body of miners now at work on the main lode, and cariying down the shaft, must before long give a new aspect altogether to the affairs of a company that, indeed, should never have been in trouble. The shaft and machinery are amongst the finest and most substantial in the colony.

Close to the Caledonia is the Butter’s Beef, from

which stone yielding from five to six ounces to the ton has been taken, and since my return from Heathcote I have noticed that some magnificent samples of golden quartz have been got from the Balmoral Beef. Time, however, did not permit me to visit either of those reefs, or to look into the operations of the few other reefing parties in the district.

I have remarked that towards Whroo some little prospecting has been done succesfully. The small gold-field of Redcastle has sprung up between Heathcote and that township, and while I was in MTvor the mining sur veyor of the district was engaged in marking off prospecting claims at Spring Creek, some six miles beyond the antimony reefs, and some sixteen or eighteen miles from Heathcote. From one of these newly-discovered reefs, which a facetious digger has named the Crinoline, nine and a half ounces to the ton were obtained on a trial washing. From another, named the Merrimac, registered on the same day, 12 oz. 19 dwts. were got from two tons. The Crinoline Beef was three feet thick, with leaders almost as broad as itself, and it was got within fifteen feet of the surface. The Merrimac. was a cluster of four reefs rather than one distinct lode, respectively four, three, two and a half, and one and a half feet thick. The surveyor described the district around Spring Creek as being full of quartz. The w'hole country between Heathcote and Rushworth, indeed, is well w’orthy of the attention of miners. In Rushworth itself a reef called the South Nuggetty has been reported within a few days, stone from which, taken from a body three feet thick, at a depth of 172 feet gave between seven and eight ounces to the ton. What may be the luck of a miner in this district may be illustrated by the experience of Messrs. Lewis, Nickinson, and Co., of the Balaclava

Reef, at Whroo—a lode which was rich, but has run out, so far as the top stone is concerned. They were sailors, who had tried their fortunes on MTvor Creek, in the usual happy-go-lucky style of sailor diggers. When the creek was abandoned, the shot in their lockers, it is said, was very inconsiderable. They trudged towards Whroo, settled upon the Balaclava Reef, soon were able to employ labour at the high rates (£5 and £6 per week) then paid, and though they worked the reef in a manner which would have broken the heart of a Newcastle or Cornish miner, they took from it £15,000 a piece—a fortune they contrived to spend again almost as speedily.

One great want of the district is water in the summer. This could easily be supplied, as the water-shed is good. With sufficient reservoirs, a store of water could be provided in winter with which surfacing could be carried on to a large extent. Throughout the whole of the district ironstone abounds, and slate can be produced in marketable slabs. Zinc has been found in the quartz ; specimens of copper were obtained in 1852, by Mr. E. James, now of the Electric Telegraph department; there is some reason also for supposing that silver quartz will be found ; while I have already dealt with its rich supplies of antimony. Roads are much wanted. No drive I have as yet made in the colony surpasses in beauty that between Kilmore and Heathcote, through Pyalong ; but the badness of the tract can scarcely be surpassed. Bad as it is, I chose it, on advice, as preferable to that by Kyneton, which could only be travelled at the risk of life during the storms of rain that made the July of 1862 remarkable. The drive from Bendigo to Heathcote, however, delighted me. It was a succession of charming landscapes. From Grassy Flat to the Campaspe it lay through a forest covering an undulating

country, everywhere full of quartz, inviting the digger. After crossing the crab holes in the basalt, on the eastern bank of the river, the road lay over fine plains of chocolate soil, wooded with box and white and red gums, amid which grass parrots, magpies, robin redbreasts, woodpeckers, and black magpies flitted from tree to tree, not silently, but wdth strange notes and pretty little songs that went far to redeem the character of the native birds, and almost made the forest vocal. But as a ridge was crossed at the southern end of the forest, and we descended rapidly into Wild Duck Creek, a landscape spread itself before us which led my thoughts far from Victoria. In the green plain below, hedged in by hills, fanning is carried on to a considerable extent. Farmbuildings lay cozily amid cultivated fields, dairy cattle scattered themselves over the paddocks, the young green swards were smiling in the sun, while the thatched stacks of hay spoke of good harvests in past years. The waters of the creek, swollen by the rains, ran merrily down, and geese and ducks sported on the pools. Mount Ida, and the ranges near M'lvor, crowned with stringy and iron bark, closed the valley on the left; rising ground, belted with wood, shut it in on the right; and the steep ridge I had crossed closed it on the .north. Far in the distance the lofty Pyrenees gave a mountain background to the scene. It was Dumfries-shire, or Northern Perthshire—not a scene in Victoria.

Chapter XX.

UNVISITED GOLD-FIELDS. "

Before I conclude this series of sketches of the older gold-fields, I must throw together a few notes respecting those which circumstances prevented my visiting. 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 of Ballarat and Creswick ; but I was speedily undeceived. The excessive rains and storms of the previous month had well-nigh obliterated the track, and I obtained from King Cobb a bonus to my bargain in the shape of a thorough good shaking —exercise enough between seat and roof to rouse the most callous blood into healthy activity. I saw Creswick, therefore, in the grey, long before the dawn, and could form no idea as to the progress it had made in the couple of years since I had last seen it. But,

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 out stepped a fellow-passenger and myself into the soft mud, to assist the coach to the perpendicular again, and restore her Majesty’s mail to a condition to travel. It was only the third time that a similar mischance had occured, almost in the same spot of the same ditch, within ten days, in spite of the vigilance and knowledge of the driver ! Clunes was passed through while all but the noisy stamps in the great works of the Port Phillip Company seemed to be at rest from labour. There was light enough, however, to show the singularity of the site chosen for the township—a hollow scooped out of the basalt by the action of water, through which a comparatively easy entrance has been obtained to the rich masses of quartz below the volcanic rocks. When I last saw it, the stream, swollen by heavy winter rains, had forced a passage through its bed into some of the larger workings below, flooding the drives and doing an amount of injury that, at the time, was thought to be very serious. Hundreds of men were then busy on the shore, filling bags with sand, while others in the stream were throwing the bags into the broken bed—a labour that at last accomplished its object, and prevented the entire flooding of the works. That was not a morning to present a card to the manager, and indulge curiosity by inspecting the plant and mine,

and thus I have twice been disappointed by water in seeing Clunes at work—for the floods prevented my return by the route I had laid down.

The rain that had been my constant companion from the day I left Melbourne, grew more serious as I went on. At Maryborough, it was so severe during the night of my stay there that the whole of Chinaman’s Flat was under water next morning; and when five stout passengers started in a one-horse coach-waggon to endeavour to reach Dunolly, it was more like setting out on a voyage than beginning a journey by land. The usual track could not be followed. A bush road was taken, and at last, through patience and whipcord and a disregard of horseflesh by no means creditable to the mail contractors, Dunolly was reached in three hours and three quarters, or at the rate of four miles an hour—handsome travelling all things considered. Passing by Cochrane’s, where the inhabitants were all in a state of great excitement about the discovery of a new lead of gold in the neighbourhood, to which a rush was expected, we reached the Avoca river, and found it flowing from “ bank to brae,” a yellow, heavy, dangerous flood. As good luck would have it, an old Norwegian digger and storekeeper had spent his summer leisure in building a primitive wooden bridge, on the track to Peter’s diggings, and the structure had been opened to the public an hour or so before the coach came up. It enabled us to cross the river, but was itself invisible, feet down under the immense volume of W'ater that swept along the channel of the Avoca, long before night. I had not calculated on an obstacle of this nature, and when my short excursion in and around St. Arnaud was finished, I found that there was nothing left but to go. “ back again ”

The Wimmera was flooded, and it was unbridged. The road, though little used, was heavy ; and the owner of the only conveyance which St. Arnaud offered for hire, declined to risk the peril of a journey to Pleasant Creek. By this time, too, Daylesford had become inaccessible from Creswick or Castlemaine. It was an island city, in a sea of mud, and the coaches had ceased attempting to swim to it. In these circumstances, there was nothing left but to perform the unpleasant operation of going back, and to leave till some other season an examination of several of the most interesting of the old gold-fields of the colony, including Back Creek (now Talbot) and Daylesford.

From St. Arnaud towards the Pyrenees on the south, and Pleasant Creek on the south-west, the country is more or less auriferous. Peters’s is a small alluvial field, where a few miners seem to do fairly, and where a single quartz-reef has pioneered the way to further discoveries of auriferous quartz. At Rostron’s station, or Withersden, a rush has only recently taken place, though it was known eight years ago that gold had been got there. Still farther towards Navarre, at the head of Strath Allan Creek, on the Pyrenees, sixteen miles from St. Arnaud, occurs a digging called Alberton, of which little else than the name has been known. As a gold-field, it is but a year old, but it promises well. Among the reefs now worked there, are the Lancashire, the Greenock, the Oxonian, the Bachelors’, and the Spinsters’. Of these, the first named is the main reef as regards size. The average yield from it is eighteen penny-weights to the ton. The Greenock, however, averages two ounces. The Oxonian traverses a gully 100 feet wide, penetrating the ranges on both sides, but rising five feet high in

the watercourse, and, curiously enough, is more elevated where thus exposed to the action of the water than in the ranges. It almost forms, in fact, a natural dam, across the gully, varying from twelve to seventeen feet wide. At the south end, where the reef is eight feet wide, it gives an average yield of seventeen penny-weights, and where it narrows at the northern end into a belt of stone known as the Rose and Thistle Reef, it gives three ounces to the ton. Asa crushing-mill has been erected, and reefing is followed steadily, it is probable that Alberton will grow into the better knowledge of the mining community. Another digging, named Bolangum, exists at the head of the Richardson—discovered by M r.Nicholls, who is now engaged prospecting in Studley Park, near Melbourne. The locality is described as a splendid quartz-bearingcountry, while the plains of the Richardson offer temptationsto the prospectorforalluvialleads. From Dunolly, indeed, westwards—through Cochrane’s, and on by Hind’s diggings to the hills—though the mining maps present as yet but a white space, on which the courses of the Avoca and its tributary creeks are traced in long and winding lines, there can be no doubt of the auriferous nature of the soil. At Cochrane’s, a cement has been worked for a lengthened period, and it affords profitable employment for a couple of crushing mills.

As the Pyrenees are approached, a country is reached in which large and important diggings have been opened within the last three or four years. Redbank, Navarre, Moonambell, Barkly, the Blue Mountain Diggings, and many others, are comparatively recent disi overies. Large quantities of gold have been got in the alluvial, and some pretty crystals have been saved by the miners

from time to time. Dimolly supplied the largest and finest blue topaz yet discovered in the colony ; and I have in my possession, from the Pyrenees, the finest beryl hitherto obtained in Australia. The reefs, however, have various peculiarities which have somewhat.interfered with the success of the quartz-miners. They are less reefs than pyramids of quartz, and are consequently very difficult to follow. At Moonambell they have all the appearance of vitrifaction. The quartz, like that of the Jersey Reef, is red and black in hue. The gold in it, however, does not assume a globular form, but exists in fine flakes, like sheets, in the interstices of the stone. Here, too, as in some other districts, the quartz was found, not in one solid mass, but in “ makings.” The first has been exhausted, and the second pocket has been reached, although the shafts are as yet comparatively shallow. At Crowlands, on the south end of the Pyrenees, the quartz was found to contain little gold, but a large proportion of silver, in the same form, perhaps, as it assumes at St. Arnaud. The Glendhu Reef has been considerably spoken of for the silver-bearing character of its stone; and at Ararat, the Great Western Reef was found to give little more than five shillings’ worth of gold to the ounce of retorted metal, the remainder being silver. This abundance of the inferior metal in the reefs of the Pyrenees embarrassed the earlier miners precisely as it did those of St. Arnaud, and want of knowledge of the true character of the stone they had to deal with, and of the proper means of saving the precious metals in it, led to the abandonment of many reefs and claims which will yet be worked with more vigour than at first, and with profit to the satisfaction of those who settle upon them.

Some twenty or thirty miles to the west of Navarre

lies Pleasant Creek, to which some six years ago there was a very large rush. It may be said to be the last point towards the plains of the Wimmera the miners have yet reached. The alluvial was rich, and, as at Inglewood, the gold drawn from the shallow leads led to the reefs being opened up. Though the latter share some of the peculiarities of those of the Pyrenees, they have been more easily worked, and as considerable returns have been obtained from them, not less than eleven quartz-crushing machines have been planted on Pleasant Creek. The reefs, generally, were rich on the surface, but as they have been followed down they have been found to vary very greatly in character as well as in form—some running out, while others became more auriferous as the waterline was approached. Of the nine or ten reefs of this district, the richest is the Cross Reef, claims on which have been sold as high as £3,000. It was got near the surface, and at fifty feet deep commenced to pay well. A depth of 260 or 270 feet has now been reached, and the great body of the stone in three or four claims has averaged six ounces to the ton. At a late crushing of a small body of stone, taken at the water level, as much as 250 ozs. were got from a single ton of quartz. A second ton was almost equally rich. The reef varies throughout from six inches to six feet in breadth, but it is found in various makings, one over the other, almost in a perpendicular line, and those below the water level richer than those above it. The casing is slate and sandstone, and the direction of the reef is nearly north and south. A reef, known as Sloane’s, or the Elat Reef, joins the Cross Reef, running east and west. It has a breadth of sixteen feet in some places, and gives an average of about one ounce and a half to the ton.

Shares in the Scotchman’s Reef have been sold at a price almost as high as those of the Cross Reef. Others again, such as the Perthshire, present immense bodies of stone, the reef I have just named being thirty feet thick, and the yield varying from six pennyweights to two ounces to the ton all through. With one exception, all the mining companies in this district are of a private character. The township of Stawell is situated about a mile and a half west of the reefs. The population is about 4,000, but in Stawell itself there are but few people. To this circumstance is to be attributed some part of the grievance of the inhabitants of Pleasant Creek, which one of the members for the district brought so frequently before Parliament last session. Wood there is scarce, dear, and bad, and many of the woodmen living beyond the bounds of the township felt aggrieved at being forced by the officers of the police to pay the license-fees imposed in such cases. Prospecting is carried on with some energy in this district, and the miners so engaged have a promising country before them. The Black Range, which lies between the Pyrenees and the Grampians, and divides the principal branches of the Wimmera, has scarcely been examined. It is of granite, and affords every indication for which the eye of a quartz-reefer seeks. 'There is undoubtedly no reason, from the nature of the country, to suppose that Pleasant Creek marks the western boundary of the auriferous lands of the colony, though Stawell may be the outermost landmark yet set up by the Victorian digger on his march towards “the setting sun.” For agricultural settlement the land is less valuable. It is, generally speaking, poor, sandy, scrubby soil, though here and there, as in Con-conkella Gully, valuable patches occur.

Southwards from Ballarat mining enterprize begins to

develope itself, until even Geelong Las risen to the hope of finding her streets, under the grass, literally “ paved with gold.” Of these southern diggings, the most hopeful, perhaps, is Steiglitz,' respecting which the mining surveyor of the district has lately written in inviting terms. Here the leaders were found to be remarkably thin. In one claim, known as Booley’s, a thin thread of golden quartz was followed for a depth of eighty feet, when it connected itself with a reef three feet thick, from which stone yielding forty ounces to the ton was got at 140 ft. In Gibraltar Reef, at 320 ft., the stone is found to be considerably richer than it was on the surface ; and in that known as Yankee Smith’s Reef there was almost as much gold as quartz. Unfortunately these reefs are too thin to be worked profitably.

For reasons already stated, I was unable to visit the gold-fields lying along the southern slopes of the Dividing Range, which stretches easterly from Ballarat towards Mount Macedon. Here massive bodies of quartz occur, giving, however, a small average yield of gold. In this district, in 1854, crushing was from £7 to ¿£8 per ton, and the means of amalgamation were very inferior. As much as three ounces to the ton have been got from old tailings ; and, as the stone itself was poorly furnished with gold, it was not marvellous that the entire district fell into disrepute with miners and mining companies. That it has been unfairly neglected, however, there is every reason to believe.

Chapter XXI.

BULLA BULLA AND ITS KAOLIN.

Some ten or twelve miles northwards from Melbourne, the river M&cedon, better known as the Saltwater, is joined from the eastward by a small stream, to which the name of the Deep Creek has been given, more from the character of its banks than from the importance of its stream. It flows across a level country of primitive formation, and has worn for itself so deep a channel that it well deserves the name it has received. It is as remarkable for its sinuosities, however, as for the depth to which it has excavated a channel; and along the whole length of its course it affords the geologist a rare opportunity of examining the strata of the district. The old road to the Mount Alexander diggings, by the Beech Tree and the Inverness Inns, crossed the Deep Creek at the Bridge Inn, situated on a bend of the rivulet, in one of its greatest hollows, and the house is famous in the traditions of the locality for the dark deeds that have been committed in it, or planned there, by the old hands” with whom at one time it was a favourite resort. A more appropriate scene for the “ Red Barn” of some colonial tale of horror cannot welt be conceived. Under the shallow trap rock of the plains, immediately behind the garden of the inn, the action of the stream has exposed a soft white rock, to which the cottagers from far and near have been in the habit of resorting for a species of natural whiting with which to paint the walls of their huts, and brighten their hearths, and make the outside walls shine in the sun.

In latter days it has been remarked by more than one experienced eye, as likely to become a valuable possession at some future day ; but the passers were in haste to be rich, and on theirway to gold fields where fortunes lay ready to the hands of the first comers ; and the white soft rock of Bulla was forgotten. Still later the geological surveyors invaded the scene, and broke its silence, for by this time the road to the gold-fields had been carried far westwards ; and when their labours were completed, there appeared on the map of the valley a large space painted in a dark red colour, signifying granite, and a note was engraved on it to the following purpose : “ Decomposed granite, affording a fine white kaolin.” The whiting which the settlers had picked out for household purposes was a fine washed clay ; the outcrop scientific travellers had noted was that of a rare deposit of very fine porcelain clay, which, if the scene had been Devonshire or Cornwall, w'ould have been worth untold gold to its possessor; and the field the geologists coloured red is that on which the Victoria Kaolin Company have planted their works.

Long as the fact has been known that an extensive deposit of porcelain clay, or kaolin, exists at Bulla Bulla, it is only within the last couple of years that an attempt has been made to make a practical use of the material. Seventeen acres or so of ground, containing the deposit, are held under lease by the company already alluded to ; but as a considerable amount of time was lost in their endeavours to secure a lease, and as the works for the washing of the clay had to be constructed without practical knowledge of this particular description of industry, and merely as the requirements of the case suggested means and

appliances to the ingenious minds of the authors of the system now in operation, it is not to be wondered at that the enterprise is still only in the first stages of its development. So little curiosity on the part of the public has the kaolin of Bulla Bulla excited, that scarcely a single visitor of note, in science or in politics, has yet found his way to the scene ; and yet the excursion would well reward the trouble. Passing through Flemington and Essendon, where the road to Mount Alexander diverges to the left, and thence, through ■Tullamarine, a pleasant country is crossed. Knock-Kennedy forms a prominent object on the right, and the fine house of Woodlands, with its lawns and forest, speaks of settlement long before the gold-fields of the colony were discovered. At the Inverness Inn the made road terminates, but a drive of not more than a couple of miles over the brown plain brings the visitor to the top of the steep descent into the valley of the Deep Creek, and the presence of the small village of Bulla Bulla. Nor is he long in discovering the Kaolin Works. On the left bank of the stream, or that nearest Melbourne, they are revealed by the intense white glare, as the sun plays on the uncovered side of the hill, and the succession of pits in which the clay is washed and dried , into the fine white cubes which constitute the prepared article. The cottages all about are white. Drving-liouse and engine-house, cuttings and paths, the road, and the grass all round about, are white. The men clearing the channels, down which white streams are flowing, are white; the boys, cutting the cubes into white squares, are white; and, here at least, white women in white are no rarity.

The process by which the clay is obtained is sim-

plicity itself; and that by which it is washed affords little room for description. The plain on the surface is of decomposed trap-rock, with occasional boulders. The stratum,however,is not aboveacoupleoffeetthick, overlying decomposed granite or kaolin. The depth of this deposit has not been ascertained. Where the company’s works are placed, the creek makes a sharp bend, and the bank rises almost perpendicularly for at least 120 feet above a fine deep water-hole, which supplies abundance of the purest water. The surface has been stripped for forty or fifty feet, and exhibits pure kaolin as far as it has been cut down. The drying tanks, at a still lower level, have been cut out of the same material. Trial shafts have been sunk in various portions of the leased ground, and under the same thin crust of brown earth the bed of kaolin has been found in them all. These shafts have been carried down seventy and eighty feet, but the deposit has not been passed through. Its dimensions, therefore, are enormous, and practically inexhaustible. In its natural state, the clay consists mainly of silica and alumina, and is full of those small felspatliic crystals which are a distinguishing characteristic of China clay, and those Devonshire and Cornwall clays from which the kaolin of the potteries is washed. This kaolin, indeed, seems superior, since some authorities inform us that no true feldspatliic clay is found in England, and that pounded felspar is mixed artificially with the Devonshire clay in the manufacture of the finest ware in the potteries. I have already remarked that the process of washing the kaolin from these crystals is of the simplest character. A ten-horse power engine is placed on the banks of the creek, above the reach of ordinary floods, and a small

wooden tank is bedded near the crown of the hill. Pumps are led from the waterhole to this reservoir, and the engine easily keeps the tank well filled. From this reservoir the stream is again directed against the face of the cliff; and an occasional stroke from a pick or shovel is all that is wanted to bring down the cl a)-. A channel has been cut, or worn by the water, from this portion of the cliff to the drying pits below, and down this cutting the water flows, carrying with it the finer portions of the clay, which rapidly become whiter and whiter as it flows. Various passes have been constructed which intercept the larger crystals, and before the white stream passes into the first of the pits,all but the finer crystals have been got rid of. These pits are about a dozen in number, and they communicate with each other. By an ingenious arrangement of the larger crystals, they form a thick floor on which the finer clay spreads itself out, and diies rapidly in the sun, the water percolating through below, and at last escaping again into the creek as pure as when it was pumped up. The stream, indeed, carries away no trace of the company’s operations, and the black fish in the holes below disport themselves in waters as clear as those above. Occasional help from a large-booted washer, in clearing the channel, or in striking the face of the cliff, is all that is needed to fill the tanks, and as fast as the clay hardens in the lower series of pits, it is dug out, dried on the grass in the sun of summer, trimmed into shape, and is then ready for the market. In winter, the process only varies in so far that the drying is carried on in chambers artificially heated, but the process is both slower and much more costly.

Like all other clays of similar character, the colour

of the kaolin is white, as already remarked ; hut in some of the drives put into the face of the hill, a variety of it has been found of a fine fawn-yellow colour. This variety is, of course, worked separately from the other, and applied to a different use. Small veins coloured red are also met with in a portion of the ground, and a fine grey steatite, or soap-stone, runs in thin bands through the same portion of the ground. A more singular and interesting discovery, however, is the presence in the kaolin of large masses of magnesian clay, containing so large a proportion of magnesia as to be almost pure. A block of this material, weighing fully a hundredweight was recently taken out of the hill unbroken, and has been forwarded to Sir Roderick Murchison. A second, weighing a score of pounds, was dug out when I was present.

The uses to which kaolin is applied are various, and well known to the manufacturers of Europe. Unfortunately, we are situated at a vast distance from Staffordshire ; we have no potteries or paper-mills ; and the Kaolin Company had, therefore, to create a market for the material they prepared, as well as to supply the raw clay. This necessity has militated greatly against their progress, and limited their returns to those that can be obtained from the most easily supplied demand. So far, the profits of the Company have mainly been obtained from the manufacture and sale of whiting. The prepared clay is carted to the railway-station at Essendon, and from thence is sent by train to Spencer-street. The Company have rented extensive corrugated-iron buildings off Little Collins-street, not far from the Temple, where they reduce the clay in hand-mills to the finest powder, mix it with certain other materials, and then

compress it into small bags by ingeniously-constructed stampers. These bags bear the name of the Company, the material, and the quantity they contain '• and as this whiting is infinitely superior in quality to the imported article, and can be sold at a less price, it is rapidly coming into general use, and driving the inferior English whiting out of the market. “ Thumb blue," as it is called, is apparently a small article to engage the attention of the ingenious in a country so new as this ; but kaolin is the base of the article, and a very beautiful tint has been given to the little washing-balls which the Company manufacture. Kaolin is used as a wash for embellished ceilings, and has a peculiarly brilliant tone. It is the base of pigments also; and some of those now being manufactured by the Company are very delicate and beautiful. In this form it is likely to come into general use ; and terra cotta, hydraulic cements, and artificial marble slabs, it is said, can all be manufactured from it. In time, a demand for these various articles will arise. In the mother-country, but especially on the Continent, kaolin is extensively used in paper mills. It was originally employed for the facing of satin papers, elephant-sheets, and fine note papers; but the Germans and Dutch early discovered its use in the manufacture of paper for news purposes, and were for some years enabled, by that means, to undersell the British manufacturers in their own markets. It is, however, for pottery of the finest kind that the washed kaolin of Bulla Bulla would be most valuable. As analysed by Mr. Johnson, of St. Kilda, its constituent parts are as follow :—“ Silica, 47'4 ; alumina, 87 ; protoxide of iron containing phosphoric acid, T6 ; magnesia, 4 ; and water, 13-6.” This closely corresponds

with an analysis of kaolin from China, used in the manufacture of the delicate porcelain for which our Celestial correspondents are famous. We have not amongst us as yet, however, any potters—no manufactories of even the coarsest kind of delf ; nor could a pottery to produce the finest kinds of ware be established without the expenditure of a very large capital. Such an establishment would have all the experience, the skill, the appliances, and the models of the splendid Staffordshire houses to contend against, and rivalry is at present impossible. In this case, then, we must either leave the mountain where it is, or carry it to Mahomet. An effort is being made to test the English market. The steamship “ Great Britain” carried with her, on her last voyage, five tons of the Bulla kaolin, and Messrs. Bright Bros, undertook for their constituents at home to submit it to the most eminent of the Staffordshire potters. There does not seem to be any very strong reason why even a distance of 10,000 miles should altogether shut us out from the English market. The clays of Cornwall and Devon are reported as having become scarcer. In summer the freight from a Cornish port to Liverpool or Runcorn is sometimes low, but in winter it often rises to 10s. and 12s. per ton. If the Bulla Bulla kaolin in its raw state, or washed, is favourably received at home, it is within the range of possibility that our wool ships might annually take home large quantités, at a rate of freight which would place Melbourne on an equality with Falmouth or Portsmouth. When copper is not to be had, those ships buy ballast with which to trim for the voyage home. It would certainly pay them better to take our porcelain clay at a freight which would practically

bring us as near Staffordshire, as the ports of Cornwall and Devon are.

This, however, like the local manufacture of porcelain ware, is in the future. It is satisfactory to know that the Kaolin Company already derives a profit on its outlay from the few forms in which it has as yet placed its manufactures on the market. The number of these will be increased from time to time, and if the reports from Europe are favourable, there will be unlimited scope for the operations of the Company. Ilalf-an-acre of the same clay, in Cornwall or Devon, would be worth a fortune to its owner. It may turn out that the same area may not be less valuable herejtconveniently situated as Bulla Bulla is to a shipping port, having a railway connecting it directly with a shipping pier within seven or eight miles of it. Already the success of the Kaolin Company has stimulated some four or five others to take the field, all of whom are now applying for leases on the banks of the Deep Creek. The Victoria Company found their washers and labourers in navvies who had been employed upon the railway, and every other development of a native industry of this kind must widen the field of employment. The time may come whenVictoria will see a little Burslem-on-Trent spring into existence by the Deep Creek at Bulla Bulla.

Chapter XXII.

THE SOCIAL CONDITION OF TIIE MINERS.

To ascertain the condition of the miners on the older gold-fields of the colony) was one of the main objects of my visit. It is not the poorest who rush to newer fields in other lands; and if anything like poverty—such wretched and struggling life as can too readily be found in other countries—was to be seen in a country so bountifully furnished by the hand of nature as Victoria is, it was natural to look for it on those fields which have »longest been the scene of the miners’ labours. Some extraordinary statements on the subject had been hazarded within the walls of Parliament. Taking the reported yield of gold, and dividing it by the estimated number of miners in the colony, some of our economists had arrived at the conclusion that the miners as a body did not earn, on an average, 15s. per week. They were thus placed little above the condition of the ploughmen and farm-labourers of the old country ; and below the status, measured by wages, of the poorest-paid mechanics at home. Statements of this kind, uttered in Parliament, and not replied to with authority, go home with the character of truth stamped upon them ; and are circulated there through channels which do not see the light, and therefore they meet no contradiction. Thus, passing from individual to individual, and district to district, they prejudice the colony in the eyes of hard-working men, and turn to other colonies and countries the thoughts of those who were disposed to seek a home for life upon our

gold-fields. The calculation, however, is another illustration of the truth of Canning’s estimate of the value of figures—that in the hands of an able manipulator they may be made to prove anything. In this case the calculation may have been correct as a mere matter of simple division—but it is not supported by the condition of things on the gold-fields. Had it been correct, there must have been a mass of misery on every digging that could not have concealed itself. It might have escaped a passing eye—it might have hidden itself from the observation of a casual inquirer—but it could not have evaded^ detection by the sharp observing men to be met with on every field, and daily and hourly brought into contact with miners of every nation and kind. Poverty there no doubt is—as there is everywhere; some of it the result of habits and causes that would have produced the same effects anywhere, and some occasioned by circumstances over which the sufferers had no control. But even these cases are rare. Improving means and increasing comforts are enjoyed, I am free to assert, by every industrious and moderately-careful digger on every field I have visited.

It was impossible, of course, to ascertain accurately. the returns earned by the miners and puddlers on the alluvial fields. I may take it, however, that those of them who have opened deposit accounts in the banks average returns very much the same as those who invest their money otherwise, or spend it, grow'-ing “ sadder and wiser ” men on the morrow morning. It was the unanimous testimony of the keepers of the purses of this prudent class, that their savings were greater now, in proportion to their numbers, than in the “ golden times” of six or eight years ago,

They got less gold, but their necessary expenditure was much reduced, and their free-handed liberality was less indiscriminate. At Ballarat many of these men have reached the rank of capitalists—some of them possessing even large amounts of wealth. Of this class, however, and of those who on other fields have been fortunate in their speculations in quartz, I have nothing to say—it is with the workers for bread that my mission lies. On Fryer’s Creek, I found the earnings of the puddleis estimated at £3 per week, after all expenses had been cleared ; but this average is lessened by a fourth, or a third, the want of water preventing labour being followed all the year round. At Maldon, the same average was given. Wherever the system of tribute,” has been introduced in the working of the quartz mines, so far as came under my observation, it has been profitable to the men engaged in it. The case of the Ajax Mine, is, of couf'sc, an uncommon one, the richness of the stone the tributors discovered there having given them an annual return superior to the salaries of the judges of the local courts, and not inferior to those enjoyed by the permanent heads of departments in the State’s service! Few of the working clergy of the United Church of England and Ireland—and none of the “ placed ” or chosen” clergymen of Scotland —enjoy a revenue equal to that of a tributor in the Ajax! A fairer test of the earnings of this class, however, is offered by the Beehive Mine, at Maldon. There the experience of many months, in a mine so far from being “ rich” that only prudent and skilful management saved it from going down in tbe crash of miningventures recently,has given the forty-nine men engaged an average wage of between £8 6s. and

£3 11s. per week. In the mine of the MTvor Caledonia Company, at MTvor, they have earned from £5 to £7 per week. Wages, however may be regarded as a better test, seeing that “ the value of a thing,” according to old Hudibras, is “just whatever it will bring.” In Flyer’s Creek, and the tunnelling districts of the Upper Loddon, hired men obtain ¿£2 10s. per week, and Chinamen from 27s. to 30s. In Maldon, miners have £2 10s.; mechanics and foremen £3, and ¿£3 10s.; and managers from £4 to £5, or where tributing is the system, £6 per month more than the miners. At Dunolly, miners have ¿£2 10s.; mechanics, £3 to £3 10s.; foremen, £4 to £6. At Tarnagulla, miners in dry workings, £3, and in wet, £3 10s. At Inglewood, £2 15s. in the case of one reef, £3 on the average, and in some instances £4. At Bendigo, surfacemen get £2 10s.; miners in the deep ground, £2 15s., and engineers from £4 to £o. At MTvor, miners have from £2 10s. to £3, and in the antimony mines, £2 15s. At Ballarat, labourers have from 7s. to 8s. 6d. per day, of eight hours; carpenters, 11s. to 13s.; shoemakers, 7s. to 8s.; and miners £2 10s. The Black Hill Company pay for their quarrying work from 7s. to 8s. per day, their foreman £3 10s. per week, and their engineers £4. In the Royal Saxon, the miners have £2 10s. and the carpenters, blacksmiths, and pitmen £3 10s. Around Ballarat, farm-labourers and bullock-drivers receive 20s. per week and rations, and the servant-girls and dairymaids have precisely the sum set down by some of our politicians as the average earnings of theminers, namely, 15s. per week—but with board and lodgingadded to the bargain! In Smytliesdalethe average wage of the miner is £2 10s. At Clunes, they

have £3. At Maryborough, from £2 10s. to £3 ; and in the deep claims on Mariners’ Iteef, from £3 5s. to £3 10s., while day labourers net from 8s. to 10s. At St. Arnaud, miners obtain £3 per week ; carpenters, masons, and bricklayers, from 14s. to 15s. per day (still of eight hours) ; and agricultural labourers 25s. per week, with board and lodging, which are estimated at 15s. more. How happy would a “flaxenheaded cow-boy ” of Wilts be with his 20s. a-week and his victuals, or “ the merry plough-boy” with an income doubling that of the pale curate of his parish ! These are the figures furnished to me on the spot, and there is no doubt that they are correct. That wages have largely fallen within the last five years is also true, and the annual rate of the decline may be illustrated by what has happened on Bendigo. There, in 1858, quartz-miners averaged from £4 to £5, and puddlers £5. In 1859, a small reduction took place, and was the cause of great discontent. In I860, miners were receiving £3 10s., and puddlers, £3. In 1861, the former had £3, and the latter £2 10s. and £2 ; and now as I have stated, miners have £2 10s., with 5s. additional in wet sinkings ; while hired men, working for puddlers, receive £2. The expenses of the miner, however, have fallen almost in the same proportion as wages. It is probable that the recent rise in the price of horse-feed has turned the scale somewhat against the puddler, but men working for wages are not affected by such a change in prices. In 1857-8 a single man paid £2 per week for his board—he then lodging in his own tent, as he does now. In 1859 he paid the boarding house-keeper the same rate, and hence his discontent ; but in 1860-1 boarding fell to 30s., then to 25s., and latterly

to 22s. 6d. Now the same man can fare as well at a rate varying from 20s, to 15s.; while a single man, living in his own tent, on Crown land, and cooking his own food, can enjoy a very fair allowance of comfort, so far as diet is concerned, for 10s. per week. In 1854 eggs were rated at Is. a piece. As late as 1857 a cabbage could not be bought under 2s. Od. or 3s. Now—thanks to the laborious and skilful gardeners we have obtained from China—a cabbage can be bought for 2d., and in Bendigo Market, on a Saturday, four dozen cauliflowers have been soldfor 2s.(id. When labourers were earning £4 per week, coach fare to Melbourne was £6 10s.; the railway charge is 23s. 3d. Porter was 5s. per bottle—now it is Is. 6d. Milk was 2s. a quart—now 6d. Bread was Is. 2d. per two-pound loaf—now 7d. Butter was 4s.—now it is Is. Od per lb. At the Ovens, five years ago, wages ran from £4 to £6 per week. The reduction has been something like a third. At the same time, however, all the necessaries have fallen largely in price, and luxuries have come within reach of those to whom they were almost debarred in 1859. Brandy then sold at 10s. per bottle, and porter at 5s. Champagne was worth a sovereign per cork. Carriage of goods was £40 a ton. If sickness visited the miner or his family, the doctor’s bill was double what it is now. Articles of dress of the better class have fallen fifty per cent, in value, and the commonest cottons are as cheap now as they were then relatively to wages. Meat has fallen from 8d. to 4d. At Dunolly, indeed, during last summer, the best quality of beef could be got for 2d. and 3d. per lb. All over the colony, blankets, candles, tea, &c. have fallen from fifteen to twenty-five per cent. If a puddler desires to build a

mill, he can do so for ¿610. Four years ago the same machinery would have cost him ¿660. His horse costs him not quite half what it would have done five years ago, and though feed is now very much higher than it was, it is still far below the prices of 1856. Castings of machinery have fallen from £60 to £28 per ton, and a quartz-crushing machine can be erected now for half what the same plant would have cost five years ago. Quartz which cost from £5 to £7 per ton to crush at that time, is now crushed for from 10s. to 14s. per ton; and in some districts the reefer can have the whole of the quicksilver retorted for a very small extra payment. The comparison, in short, reduces itself to this—that wages have fallen little, if at all, below the reduction that has taken place in the comforts and necessaries of life, and those incidental charges on the family purse that occur whether its owners are poor or rich.

The social condition of the miner is not to be judged by wages alone. There is no lack of employment for those who are willing and able to work. In nearly all the districts I visited, I found that substitutes were most difficult to find by men who desired a day’s holiday. This is, of itself, a proof that the current rate of wages is not too low to accord with the comfort of its recipients. There are, of course, many poor fellows to be found whose labour would be dear at any price, nature, early habits, and education fitting them only for sedentary employments. In the earlier days of digging, however, life on the gold-fields was of the roughest sort—rougher than it is now seen in new rushes; and if piles of gold were often gathered, they were almost as often lost in the barren glory of a tap room “ shout,” or wasted in rough and rude

orgies, in which there was little comfort, and less to remember with pleasure. It was said of old, “It is not good for man to be alone and in the absence of home ties there was little in the life of a digger to wean him from the dissipation of the time. Now, however, things are vastly changed. Wives and children are no longer rare on the gold-fields. Cottages, if they be but of canvas, can still present some evidences of taste and comfort. Gardens surround them, with vegetables for the dinner-table, and flowers for the window. Trim walks, with borders of white quartz, often occur to show that feminine influence has been at work. Supplies of all kinds are easily got. Thebutcber, baker, grocer, gardener, and even the fishmonger, are sedulous in craving orders, and attentive in supplying them. Roads and railways have brought the remotest fields within a few hours of the metropolis. The latest Parisian fashions may be found at Wangaratta, Korong, the Jordan, and the remotest corners where miners congregate. He is in no difficulty to find a market at any moment for his gold, almost at his own door, and at full prices. He enjoys the freest political privileges, and, through his representatives in the M i-ning Board, can all but make his own mining laws. He has his reading fresh and cheap—his daily metropolitan journals before they are many hours old, his local papers, and even his penny press. Reading rooms, mechanics’ institutes, friendly societies, cricket-clubs, volunteer rifle companies, racing meetings, instiuct, or benefit, or amuse him, if he has a desire to improve his mind, strengthen his constitution, or enjoy an occasional holiday. Schools have been built, and churches and chapels have been erected. It can no longer be said of any gold-field of any pretensions,

“ Here no Sabbatli bell awakes the Sabbath morn.” In this as in other matters, our remotest townships have sensibly approached the settled character of English villages ; and the tree-felling and dog-fighting of the Sundays of nine years ago, have given place to orderly church going and Sunday-school teaching.

While the changes in the mining laws, the substitution of a miner’s right for a monthly licence, the privileges accorded to the possession of that right, the reduction of the gold-duty, the enlarged areas given to prospectors and others, have vastly improved the position of the miner, who follows his calling as that by which he intends for life, or till success largely rewards him, to earn his own bread and that of his children—changes, that on Ballarat have converted a miner’s claim on the deep leads into a magnificent estate, a good fat living” for at least a score of years —it is easy, at the same time, to see how new rushes occur. The rich golden prizes, that were once of frequent occurrence, are now comparatively rare. Golddigging has largely become a matter of capital—proprietary or co-operative—and labour. The hired man enjoys, it is true, good wages, and as the expenses of a husband and wife, and two or three children, under canvas, need not exceed 20s. per week, a year of saving sees him in possession of a small capital. Anxious to share the good fortune of his employer, he seeks eagerly for a field on which to exert his energy and bring his practical experience and sagacity to bear. He hears glowing accounts from distant and almost untried fields, and prefers an adventure on those fresh pastures to a long course of prospecting in a land with which he is comparatively familiar, and from which he supposes the rich prizes have been

already drawn. This class supplies a large proportion of those who periodically tempt fortune in distant rushes. Another is made up of those who have been moderately successful, and who risk their savings in a bold stroke for fortune, knowing that they can, if unsuccessful, return to fields in which a living can always be made. A third class is composed of those who hold rich claims, and substitute hired men in their places, for the sake of an excursion, in which if unsuccessful, they lose but their personal expenses, while their dividends have been accumulating in their absence. There is a fourth and smaller body, of restless spirits, whom no success or failure will deter from following a new ru h, for the wild excitement of the scene, and the chances of Dame Fortune’s dice. No opening up of the lands will check this spirit; but it will wear itself out in the course of time and as mining becomes a business as settled as it is in Cornwall and Staffordshire, in Durham and Lanark, and as other attractions arise from day to day, to twine cords of attachment round the miner to his hearth and home, he will become less migratory'. Gold-digging is not our only mining resource. Other metals and minerals begin to attract attention. When little fortunes are embarked in silver mines, antimony lodes, iron-works, slate, lime, and marble quarries, coal-pits, cement works, potteries, Ac., we shall not find their possessors listening so eagerly to the charming of the tempter.

That there is want in Collingwood is probable. That there are idle people wandering about Melbourne, many of whom would work if they could get it, is true. 1 need not stop to inquire by what means this mischief _has been caused, or to ask how much

M

of the poverty that exists, is the direct effect of those trade combinations, at one time so powerful in the capital, and so oppressive to the colony at large. It is sufficient for me that the everyday experience of the gold-fields contradicts the gloomy picture of the miner’s means and prospects drawn in Parliament by one or more gold-fields members; that I found no such poverty as exists in Melbourne; that labour was abundant, and as well paid, relatively to the price of the necessaries and comforts of life, as it was four or five years ago; that the amenities of civilized life are rapidly spreading to scenes that then were barren of all save gold ; and that in everything essential to the enjoyment of a settled and contented life there has been a steady and satisfactory growth. Less money may pass through the miner’s hands, but its purchasing power is as great—as great now, indeed, as it would be in England, while between the position and the opportunities of the miner here, and the same class in the old country, there can be no comparison. It is pleasant to be able to report, after all that has been said to the contrary, that the older gold-fields continue to present abundant employment at rates of wages which give industrious men fair opportunities of saving money, and that so much real improvement has taken, place in the social condition of the goldminers of Victoria.

Chapter XXIII.

CHARACTERISTICS OF AURIFEROUS QUARTZ.

It is impossible to visit the gold-fields and examine the quartz-reefs without being impressed with the dissimilarities and contradictions they present. The experiences of one district offer little to guide the miner in another. Here the quartz is rich on the surface and poor below; there the gold abounds more and more as depth is attained. One reef is richest on the east and another on the west face, and a third is equally auriferous all through the stone. One underlies east and another west; one dips to the north and another to the south ; one rises up abruptly, pyramidical or steeple-shaped, another stretches out for miles like a long ridge or wall of quartz, varying in breadth and richness. One is perpendicular, another is flat, a third lies at a great angle, a fourth is broken into bands or “ bunches,” and a fifth has an angle, and lies in “ pockets,” and these “ pockets,” “ bunches,” or “ makings,” as they are variously termed, are perpendicularly placed with relation to each other. In colour they are black, white, red, yellow, pink, and grey. They .are crystallized and hard in some cases, in others soft and friable. They are free from arsenic, or they are full of it. Nearly all the auriferous quartz contains iron and other pyrites, and some is full of them. Here the combinations in which the metals are found in the quartz are novel in the extreme. The visitor, indeed, who notes the varying characteristics of the auriferous quartz of this colony, and then turns to the

latest authorities in mineralogy and geology—even where the earlier experience of our scientific men is founded upon—cannot but be struck with the fact that the later knowledge derivable from the labours of our practical miners throws new light on various theories. It seems to confuse, if not confute, the speculations indulged in four or five years ago, and provides ample material for a revision of the views at present entertained in Europe with reference to the character, the extent, the origin, and the probable duration of our veins or reefs of auriferous and argentiferous quartz. Without entering into the domain of science, or discussing whether our quartz veins have had an aqueous or an igneous origin, or whether Sir Roderick Murchison’s limit is capable of extension, to meet our experiences, consistently with that great master’s views, I shall throw together a few notes on the peculiarities of our quartz, in the hope that, while the subject itself is of general interest, the observations of one district of the colony may not be without its encouragements in another.

The first singularity of the reefs is the strange combinations of metals that are found in them. Silver reefs are known to exist in various countries, and are largely developed in South and Central America. Gold and silver, however, do not seem to have been found combined in the same stone until the recent discoveries in St. Arnaud, Crowlands, and Reedy Creek. An Auckland journal, quoting my letter on the argentiferous reefs of the first-named of these districts, commends the subject to the attention of the reefers in the northern island of the New Zealand group, and suggests that the specialities of many of the Pyreenean reefs may explain some of the peculiar

features of those of that colony. I remarked in that letter that, while native silver was to be found in the stone, the ore existed mainly in a novel form—that of a chloro-bromide—and that it abounded in the vein. The same reef has since given bismuth in combination with silver and gold—the first discovery of the kind made in the colony, and one most interesting. At Whroo, MTvor, Maldon, and in some other places, the sulphuret of antimony and gold are found united—the antimony abounding on one face of the reef, in an almost pure state, and the gold and quartz occurring on the other. Samples of metallic zinc have been found in the alluvial of Daylesford, and Specimen Gully (Bendigo), and zinc and gold combined in quartz are found in the M'lvor Caledonia Reef, and in Johnson’s and the Star Reefs, Bendigo. Copper, in the form of carbonates, but in small quantities only, is found associated with gold in the Windmill Hill Reef, Dunolly, and in the shape of malachite and native copper it occurs in the Dandenong Ranges. Gold and lead combined in quartz have not as yet been discovered, but specimens of native lead have been found; and since the existence of antimony, bismuth, and zinc in auriferous quartz has been ascertained, it is not improble that lead will be found with gold in the argentiferous reefs. In the Britannia Company’s mine, at Carngham, a strange metal has been observed occasionally, intersecting the quartz, in bands from the thickness of a penny-piece to half-an-inch. I have not seen it, but the shareholders describe it to be almost entirely like bronze. The iron and quartz lodes of Bendigo have not been tested, but they have on file surface the usual appearances of

auriferous reefs. In the Whip Reef, however, and in the Mariners’ Reef of Maryborough, the Specimen Hill Reef of Campbell’s Creek, and many others, the stone has almost run into iron, arsenical, and other pyrites, at and below the water-line; while St. Mungo’s Reef (Bendigo) and Poverty Reef (Tarna-gulla) hold arsenic in very large quantities. In Cornwall the richest lodes of copper and tin are found to run east and west ; and on the Continent those that bear the greatest resemblance to our quartz veins traverse the land from north-east to south-west. Here the veins follow another general law, running from N.N.W. to S.S.E.; or almost due astronomical north and south. This line, however, is more or less capriciously departed from—some of the reefs heading more to the west, and* a few absolutely taking a westerly and easterly direction. In the eastern portion of Victoria, the Ovens district to wit, tin abounds; and small crystals, rubies, and zircons abound in the wash gravel on all the dig. ings north of the Dividing Range. To the west, however—in South Australia—copper has occupied, almost exclusively, the place taken by gold in Victoria; while tin is not obtainable westwards from the Goulburn. The argentiferous reefs, and those containing antimony, are on the northern border of the known gold-country ; but they are separated by the richly auriferous quartz veins of Bendigo and Inglewood.

Whether the quartz veins are deposits formed from thesurfaceby aqueous deposition, or whether they have been thrown up from below by the action of fire, nothing can be more strangely diversified than the shapes and colours they assume. The Bolivia Reef (Campbell’s Creek), is a hill of quartz set in a sand-

stone frame. In the same district, gold thrown into the sandstone walls at the time of the formation of the vein, whether it was from above or from below, gave rise to an idea on the part of some non-scientific diggers that gold was to be found in reefs of sandstone. Generally speaking, the walls of the reefs in this colony are of slate, and that description of rock is here believed to be the bed or primitive rock, older than those ribs of granite that at another time were supposed to case the hollow fiery centre of our globe. But in many instances this slate is mixed up with sandstone and mullock, as if there had been a violent upheaval, and the liquid quartz had been shot up through a breaking mass of superincumbent slate and sandstone. AtNuggetty Reef (Tarrengower), again, the walls are of granite, and'the quartz seems as if it had embraced in a liquid state, and partly dissolved, portions of the rock through which it was forced, as it has a peculiarly dark and glassy appearance. Like the Bolivia, though at a long distance from it, the main reefs of Inglewood rise through sandstone mixed with slate. Maxwell’s Reef reposes in red granite and sandstone. The stone of the Jersey Reef is black on the outer portions of the reef, as if burned, and the gold in it assumes a globular form, as it does where the quartz is burned in kilns to drive off the arsenic. The heat in which the vein seems to have had its origin apparently drove out the pyrites usually found in auriferous quartz, as it is almost free from those substances. The Moonambell Reefs also show traces of fire, in red and black stone. At Carisbrook, the quartz is pearly white; at Bet Bet, it is a brownish red ; at the Windmill-hill, two miles distant, it is pinkish in hue. I have already remarked

that the quartz of Nuggetty is very dark, that of Engle Hawk is whitish-yellow; in the Beehive Company’s ground there is a white reef and a black reef, parallel with each other; Parkins’s Reef has a yellowish stone, and that of the Concord is a very pure white. In the Mariners’ Reef there is poor white quartz under a rich red leader, which communicates with a body of red quartz underlying the white. The stone of Poverty Reef is greenish-grey ; that of the Eagle Hawk (Specimen Hill), yellow; St. Mungo and Catherine Reefs (Bendigo), white ; and the Energetic Reef, red in tint. The quartz of the M'lvor Cnledo-donia is crystalized and hard. Bands of stone in the Mariners’ Reef, in the centre of hard quartz, are soft and friable. The white stone of the Beehive has arsenic, and the black stone has iron ; the white is soft, small, and rich, and the black, bard, large, and poor. The forms the reefs assume are quite as anomalous. The Whip Reef (Bendigo) underlies to the east, and Jersey Reef Inglewood), does the same. Buchanan’s Reef, in the same district, however, has an opposite underlie. Poverty Reef, also, underlies west, but it is richest on its east. face. Jacob’s Reef in the Whipstick, on the contrary, is richest on the west side. Some of the Bendigo lines of reef have been traced for ten miles in length, and the Jersey is worked upon for four miles ; but Nuggetty Reef is not more than ten or twelve small claims in length, and the Mariners’ Reef is simply a tower of quartz. The Exhibition Reef (Bendigo), is flat, with a heavy dip to the south, leading, probably, to a larger body of stone be'.ow. Buchanan’s Reef (Inglewood), was followed perpendicularly in the shaft from the top to the bottom. Poverty

and Nuggetty Reefs are broken into several bodies of stone, the one separated by granite and the other by slate bands. Very high scientific authority has expressed a belief that the richest quartz would be found near the surface, and that the gold would altogether disappear below one hundred feet or so from the surface. Such an hypothesis consists with the supposition that the atmosphere has had much to do with the chemical origin of gold. It is borne out to some extent by the experience of Ben. digo, so far as reefing has yet gone there. The New Chum Reef was richest on the top, and the first “ making/’ of stone has been altogether lost. Johnston’s Reef gave as large a yield as 1,113 oz. of gold from a ton of stone taken from two small leaders, separated by a thin layer of slate. But the theory is not supported by the results obtained in other districts. In Steiglitz, very thin w'afer-like leaders lead down to larger and rich bodies of stone below. From stone taken out of Poverty Reef, at a depth of four hundred feet, forty ounces to the ton have been got, the vein being nearly twenty-four feet broad. At four hundred and twenty feet deep, evidences were presented of a fresh “ making” of stone, and every successive pocket” was richer than that above it. The best stone in the Mariners’ Reef, excepting a surface patch, is the red stone got under the white quartz, at depths varying from 250 to 560 feet. The Jersey Reef, which is ninety feet deep, was two feet and a-half broad, is about twelve feet across at one hundred and sixty-five feet deep, and is most golden at the lower depth. Maxwell’s Reef, on the same gold-field, increases in its auriferous yield the further it is followed down. In one or more of the claims on it, the

top stone gave only from eight to ten pennyweights, while at one hundred and fifty feet deep the vein gives from three and a half to eight ounces to the ton. The Long Gully Reef (Bendigo) gave five ounces to the ton at one hundred feet deep, though it was good on the top. From the Eastern Victoria Reef, ] ,060 oz. of gold were got from forty tons of stone taken at two hundred feet deep, though it was richest near the surface. Nuggetty Reef, Maldon, has grown to a breadth of thirty-five feet, as it has been followed down to some three hundred or three hundred and fifty feet, and it becomes richer with every successive “ making” of stone. At the water-level, however— and the fact is very curious—quartz, generally speaking, either becomes more auriferous, or it becomes more abundant in arsenical and other pyrites, or it exhibits a tendency to run altogether into some other mineral form, the gold passing into the inferior metals. In general, the veins are narrow on the top, and widen out below, but the Armenian Reef (St. Arnaud) is twenty-five feet broad on the top ; the Caledonian Reef (Bendigo) is a vast quarry of quartz, almost on the Surface of the ground ; the Old Man Reef (Dunolly) is a great body of quartz, forming a hill, out of which its broad head projects ; while on the New Chum (Bendigo), and at Sebastopol Hill (St. Arnaud) masses of quartz are shot up from twenty to thirty feet above the surface of the hill. If these veins were formed by aqueous deposition, there must have been a vast denudation of the ground all round them at some subsequent period.

The gold in the stone has also its peculiarities. That of the alluvial varies in value 5s. and 6s. per ounce, according to the district from which it comes,

and that of the quartz, though the measure is more equal, has its differences. Some of it is comparatively coarse, and easy to save, but in Maryborough and Dunolly, where its fineness is remarkable (chemically pure gold having been obtained there ), great difficulty has been experienced in saving it by the ordinary processes adopted. It is curious, however, that no large nugget has ever been knocked out of the quartz reefs in any district of this colony. The largest I have heard of was only the size of a hazel-nut, and it was obtained not long ago near St. Arnaud. Where have such large masses of gold as the Welcome, the Blanche Barkly, and other great nuggets, come from? It may be, as one writer has put it, that they were washed out of ancient “ reefs ” of quartz in the storms of an old-world ocean, which broke up the veins, pounded the stone to sand, and threw up great golden waifs to repose in the sludge till in after ages they were disinterred by the hand of a race created at a later period of our earth’s history. Certain it is that no nugget worthy of the name has yet been found in quartz, though the alluvial, has always been most productive in gold nearest to the reefs from which they seem to have been fed.

The colour of the stone gives little indication of its auriferous character. A yellow, or a pink, or an iron red quartz may be preferred, according as the previous experience of the miner disposes him to favour the particular tint, but there is a peculiar characterise about non-auriferous or poorly-furnished quartz which is difficult to describe, though easy to detect, and which is well expressed in the common phrase of miners—“ hungry-looking ” stuff. Quartz of this kind has none of the baser metals in it, and

its texture is hard, as if the gold when first formed had been unable to penetrate the pores of the stone or find a fissure in which it could rest. “ Hungry ” stone might impose upon a non-experienced eye, as a pretty quartz ; but it is easily detected by that of practised miners. Like rocky mountain scenery to the vision of a thorough sheep farmer, hungry quartz, however beautiful, is, in the estimation of the miner, something like a scandal on creation. So infinite are the differences between reefs in almost every characteristic, that, as I have already remarked, observations made in one locality have no application in another. The experience of one, however, should encourage perseverance in overcoming difficulties in another—Tarnagulla and Maldon proving, forexample, that reefs do not run out in a single making of stone, and are not always richest on the surface, as they were in many instances on Bendigo. Few things so much excited my own curiosity, in connexion with the gold-fields, as the strange anomalies I have just been pointing out as the characteristics of our quartz-reefs.

Chapter XXIV.

METHOD OF EXTRACTING GOLD FROM QUARTZ.

The best method of extracting the gold from the veins of quartz has necessarily engaged the attention of miners, as well as of the scientific men amongst us, since the first discovery of auriferous quartz, now about ten years ago. Originally the processes adopted were primitive enough. Unless gold could be seen in the stone in some abundance, the reef which gave it

was pronounced worthless ; and only those rich veins which held quartz yielding four or five ounces of gold to the ton, and upwards, were considered worthy of attention. The richest of the stone was knocked down with hammers, and the miner resorted to the slow process of separating the gold from the quartz with a mortar and pestle, washing off the sand and débris from the bright particles of metal in the same fashion as he washed his panfuls of gravel from the alluvial. To this slow process strong coffee mills succeeded, on Maldon, for the reduction of the stone; and afterwards those “jiggers” as they were called on Bendigo, with which some splendid returns were obtained. This apparatus was neither more nor less than an iron stamper, fastened to a shank of timber, which in its turn was attached to the bough of a tree. The stamper was suspended a foot or two above the quartz to be crushed, furnished with handles, which the worker or workers grasped. All being ready, the miners pulled, and down came the stamper on the quartz ; the spring of the bough lifted it up again ; again the miners pulled ; and thus the operation of “ jigging” went on merrily. In course of time, the hand Berdan machine came into operation, with its little wooden stampers, iron-headed, and its great rolling iron balls in the amalgamating basin—a machine with which good crushings were obtained, but which could not be kept in working order for any length of time, and which could only put through small quantities of material inconsistent with the progress of reefing, and the large quantities of poor quartz requiring more active treatment. Other inventions succeeded—such as the rotatory battery of King and Howland—and from year to year it has been pro-

gressing, until such gigantic and perfect plants as those of the Black Hill Company of Ballarat, the Port Philip Company of Clunes, and the Catherine Reef United Claimholders of Bendigo, have arisen, leaving little more to be desired ; while careful experiments in the art of saving the gold thus liberated from the matrix—experiments often originated and always spiritedly tested at the Port Philip Company’s works —have established certain propositions of a practical character. It is known now how the fine as well as the coarse gold may be saved with little loss, where the stone is free from pyrites; and it has been ascertained that wherever the baser metals abound in the quartz in the form just indicated, thegoldhas beenlost, and that a process has still to be brought into use by which the pyrites may be saved and separately treated for the saving of the large amount of gold they almost invariably contain. Simultaneously with these improvements, the cost of quarfz crushing has been very largely reduced. Ten years ago, the charge for the reduction of a load of stone ranged from ¿£10 to ¿£14, and cartage for two or three miles was worth as many shillings. Six years ago, crushing was charged at from £5 to ¿£8, and cartage in proportion. Now the prices vary from 10s. to 16s. per ton in stamping mills, and 15s. to 25s. in Chilian mills, with cartage at from 2s. to 3s. Only the most valuable quartz could be crushed in the earlier days, and in later times nothing less than three ounces per ton would pay. Often the crushing of stone, comparatively of a rich quality, left the unfortunate miners indebted to the crusher; and, as a consequence, reefs were abandoned on all bands that have since been found valuable properties. Now, an ounce per ton is considered “ payable” at Ingle-

wood; eight pennyweights return an excellent profit in all the other easily accessible districts of the colony ; on Bendigo, three or four pennyweights still barely pay expenses under favourable circumstances ; but on Ballarat—as has been shown in a previous chapter — a very handsome dividend is got from quartz yielding two pennyweights and a half to the ton. When that experience becomes more general, how largely reefing will be developed in this colony may be inferred from the very large number of distinct reefs of an auriferous character which have already been discovered,and the vaster number that must still lie hidden. I find from the last-issued reports of the mining surveyors that thirteen hundred and two gold-bearing veins of quartz have already been opened in this colony ; and I may assert, without bordering on extravagance of statement, that only a tithe of our treasures in quartz reefs have yet been discovered.

Like the reefs themselves, the methods of treating the quartz as it issues from under the stamps, is as various as can well be conceived possible ; and I need scarcely add that every quartz-crusher with whom I have conversed looks upon his own system as the best. I shall glance at a few of the mills, with a view to show the differences that exist. Comparative results are more difficult to obtain, and if I state my own conclusions, after comparing notes, I shall do so as a matter of opinion only, subject to correction from those who have had opportunities of making fair comparative trials of different systems. In Maldon, not many months ago, almost all the various systems might have been seen at work. The Atlas Company bore the bell from their competitors, quartz from the same reef, taken under the most equal circumstances,

invariably producing more gold there than elsewhere. The quartz which contained mundic—like that from Linscott’s Reef—was calcined to drive off the mundic and other pyrites, and then passed under heavy square stamps. Ripples and copper plates were used, and after them Chilian basins, in which the amalgamation was completed. The basins were the cause of the superiority of the mill. At the Concord works, ripples and copper plates alone were used, but they failed to save the small quantity of gold in the stone. Blanket-tables were then added, and they proved so efficacious, that only a shade of difference remained in favour of the Atlas. The Parkins’ Reef Company, to a splendid battery of revolving stamps, with copper plates and ripples, have added an amalgamating barrel, which has been found of considerable use. At the Eaglehawk Union Company’s works, Tyrolean mills, introduced by Mr. Vaughan, of Castlemaine, as a modification of the Chilian wheel system, have been in successful operation. They cost a large sum to erect, but the gold saved by them, after passing over copper plates and ripples (as I have stated in a previous letter) has paid their entire price within a year after their erection—gold that otherwise would have passed into the sludge. At Linseott’s, where similar pans were .erected after ripples and plates, a trial was recently made as against ten feet of blankets, placed between the boxes and the pans. From the blankets about seventy ounces and upwards of amal-am were obtained per week, and in the revolving-pans below them from seven to eleven pennyweights. When the blankets were not used, about the same quantity of gold was got, but there was a considerable loss of quicksilver, and extra power was required to

drive the pans. When blankets were placed behind the pans, about twelve ounces of amalgam were regularly got from them. The trial resulted in the substitution of blankets. The Beehive Company recently erected a new battery of revolving stamps, and they are now using blankets alone for saving the gold. With their old battery of square-headed, non-revolving stampers, they tried blankets as against copper-plates and ripples, and pronounced in favour of the former. Twenty-four feet of coarse druggeting is used for every set of stamps, in three or four lengths, placed at an inclination of three-quarters of an inch to the foot, each division being a little lower than the other, so as to create a small fall. No quicksilver is used, excepting perhaps a little under the stamps. The upper blanket, or that nearest the gratings, is changed every three hours to prevent the accumulation of sludge, and the others every six hours. The gold, as it passes with the water, is caught by the projecting hairs of wool, and is held, a change of blanket being required whenever the quantity of sludge resting on it is likely to interfere with the deposit of gold. Each set of blankets is washed in a separate barrel—that is to say, the first pieces in one, the second in another, and the third in one set apart for them. The washings are then placed separately in an amalgamating barrel, with quicksilver and hot water, and the barrel is made to revolve for six or eight hours, sufficiently to bring every atom of gold or sludge in contact with the mercury. It is found that nearly all the gold is got in the stamp-boxes, or from the first blankets, the second blanket yielding little, and the third not more than half an ounce of amalgam for a week’s work. So perfect is this simple system, that five tons of Bee-

hive tailings, after the blankets, when recrushed by the Atlas Company and passed through the Chilian mills, gave only eight pennyweights in all. The Beehive Company crushed in this manner 8,413 tons of stone in six months preceding my visit, and got 2,387 ounces of gold, or nearly fourteen pennyweights per ton—a yield that compared favourably with any of the results they had previously obtained. It was the experience of the Black Hill Company, at Ballarat, that led to the in-trodution of blankets on Maldon, and the system followed there is simplicity itself. Copper plates were used, but they have been abandoned. A spoonful of mercury is placed once or twice a day under the stamps, the ripples are filled with quicksilver, and blankets are spread out below. The result is, that thirty per cent, of the gold saved is got from the ripples, ten per cent, on the blankets, and the remainder in the stamp-boxes. At Clunes peculiarly deep ripple boxes are used, with slides so placed that the gold drops with a plunge into the mercury, and the stuff must all pass through the quicksilver before it can escape. Blankets are also used, I believe. . At Maryborough, the system is plates, ripples, and Chilian wheels. At Tarnagulla, Mr. King’s mill has both stampers and Chilian wheels, working apart. To the former, however, he has added, in-addition to the ordinary means of saving the gold, a shaking-pan of an original form, into which the crushed stone passes, and is shaken from side to side amongst the mercury, with great vigour, but with such measured regularity and ease that none of the quicksilver is thrown out. At the Prince of Wales mill only Chilian wheels are employed to reduce the quartz, and the gold is amalgamated in a shaking-table with a double motion, or in a shaking

pan, the invention of Mr. Laidlaw, of Tarnagulla, which has earned a good reputation for its efficacy as an amalgamator. The Chilian mills are slow in their operation, but they are most effective, little gold escaping from them, and a much higher charge is paid for crushing with them than with stampers. At St. Arnaud, quicksilver boxes, a shaking-table, blankets, and 'an amalgamating barrel are used, with cold water, but no copper plates or ripples: On Bendigo copper pla os and ripples have the preference. At Bird’s lteef Company’s works shaking-tables are attached, and they save an ounce of gold or so a week. The Energetic Company have added Tyrolese mills to their plant, and find them useful for saving gold, but more especially the quicksilver. At the Caithness mills, nearDunollv, copper-plates and ripples are used, but the introduction of hot Abater under the stamps has been found of great service. It quickens the action of the mercury, and so promotes the secretion of fine gold that little amalgam is ever obtained below the first ripple, while equal quantities of stone, from the same place of the same reef, never give as much gold, within two or three pennyweights per ton, where the crushing takes place with cold water. The shaking-table has fallen into disfavour generally, and is not used in the recently-erected mills. If the stone is very rich in gold, and the quantity to be put through is small in proportion to the yield of gold, 1 should undoubtedly prefer the Chilian wheels, $s I saw them in operation at Tarnagulla. Where a large body of poor-stone has to be disposed of, stampers must be reported to; and the choice seems to reduce itself to blankets, with a little mercury in the stamp-boxes, and

to copper-plates and ripples, with hot water in the stamp-boxes. Wherethereisanabundantsupplyof pure water the former may be preferred, as blankets will save gold that has passed over copper-plates, and give off no appreciable quantity of gold to rest on silvered copper placed behind them. Where the quantity of water is limited or where it is not very pure, the latter system is preferable, and if blanket-tables, or revolving blankets, are added, only impalpable gold can escape. In either case loose bottoms under the stamps are essential, experience having shown that close boxes, not so fitted, occasion the loss of much more gold than they save. Wherever quicksilver is used also, it should be frequently retorted, experience having shown that when the gold is very fine the mercury will not take up more than a certain quantity, the remainder passing away with the water. It was long known that mercury, when allowed to rest after being passed through chamois leather, deposited a small quantity of amalgam in the bottles, and become quicker in its action afterwards. It was believed until lately, however, that when its first hunger for gold was satisfied, it might be used again and again, after being subjected to the usual squeezing process, without weakening its affinity for gold. Late experience has shown that more fine gold can be saved the more frequently the silver is retorted.

It is ascertained beyond doubt that wherever the quartz abounds in pyrites, a vast waste of gold takes place. To drive these off, calcination has been resorted to, and in some instances the same process has been followed to soften the stone and render it more easy to crush. Various experiments with tailings have

el)own that very large quantities of fine gold have been carried away with the sludge, in some instances more gold having been obtained by analysis from the tailings than had been taken from the stone in the first instance. A variety of inventions and processes have been put forward by various parties for the purpose of saving this fine gold, and in the laboratory they have been more or less successful, some astounding results having been obtained. In actual practice—in the ordinary labour of crushing-mills—none of the plans or inventions alluded to have succeeded. A system new in this colony, however, has lately been suggested by Mr. Ulrich, of the Geological Department, which seems to supply the want. It is based upon a plan introduced in the mines of the Hartz mountains, some eight or ten years ago, by an Austrian inventor, and has since been in operation in the lead mines of Hanover. It has been tested at a small private mill on Campbell’s Creek, and a model has lately been exhibited in Melbourne. Its principle is that of separating, by gravitation, the crushed stuff as it flows from the batteries with the gold in it, into particles closely approximating each other in size, by which a more certain deposit of the gold will be obtained. He arranges a series of four boxes close to the batteries, the boxes being in the form of inverted pyramids, the two first of an equal size, the third equal in capacity to the first two, and the fourth being double the size of the third. Into the first two the whole of the crushed stuff flows, and the fall of the water and sludge maintains in them a constant agitation, which assists in precipitating the heavier particles of gold and quartz to the bottom, through which they are forced by the weight of water up a

pipe into a small trough, which leads them into deep ripple-boxes arranged on the Clunes plan. The overflow of water and sludge passes into the third box, where the comparative stillness of the medium leads to a gentler deposit, the smaller particles of quartz and gold that drop to the bottom passing up a pipe similar to that in the first and second boxes, into similar ripples. The overflow runs into the last and largest box, in which the motion of the water is very gentle. Here the finest sludge, and the fine gold that floats upon the water, are brought into contact with silvered plates of copper, placed at angles to intercept the swimming or slowly sinking gold, so that scarcely a particle of the precious metal, however minute it may be, can escape. Below the boxes, under the ripples, blankets could be placed, and thus additional security obtained that no gold would escape. The apparatus is self-acting and inexpensive, and, while the idea is scientific, the system by which it is carried out is practical.

To save and treat the pyrites contained so abundantly in the stone of many of our reefs is an object the quartz-miner has always before him, but towards which little advance has as yet been made. It is calculated that at Clunes, and elsewhere, enormous sums are lost in the gold that escapes with the pyrites. Some stone abounds in this material, and it is found to increase as the reefs go below the water-level. In some instances, almost all the gold in the quartz is absorbed in the pyrites, and reefs that otherwise would be worked with a profit have been abandoned, because no system of saving them has yet been discovered. The difficulty arises from the fact that, while the specific gravity of gold is 17*, that of

pyrites is only 4.5, and that of quartz 2-8, and thus the difference in weight being little, the stream of water that carries away the sludge also bears away the auriferous pyrites. The gold thus lost is so fine and infinitesimal, that it is only recoverable by a system of roasting the iron pyrites, and thus converting them into an oxide of iron. The first and greatest difficulty, however, is to save these pyrites, and Mr. Ulrich’s invention has the merit of being useful in that respect. Mr. Carpenter also claims the same credit for his revolving blanket. I have referred in previous chapter, to the extraordinary quantities of gold found in pyrites and in tailings in the districts of Sandhurst, Castlemaine, Maldon, &c., and I need not repeat the statements I then made. It is sufficient now to say that in this field there is great room for the ingenious, and that the inventor of the best system of saving the auriferous pyrites now lost, and of preventing the escape of fine gold into the sludge, will confer an immense boon on this colony. Reefs that are now worthless will become valuable, and fresh “ diggings” will then be found in the enormous heaps of tailings surrounding the older quartz mills. Another field is opened up for the inventor in the antimony districts, in the saving and separation of the crushed antimony from the quartz it contains as it flows into the tailings pits ; and the argentiferous reefs, now attracting attention, equally claim the aid of scientific inventors and adaptors for the full development of the mineral wealth they contain. Much as has been done to make our mineral veins give up their stores of gold and silver, and the less precious metals, there is still a large amount of work to do before we can say that we are

not throwing away almost as much treasure as we are obtaining from our reefs.

Chapter XXV.

WATER SUPPLY FOR THE GOLD FIELDS.

One of the essential requisites in gold-mining is a constant supply of pure water. Whether the miner is simply a tub and cradle man, or a puddler, or a quartz-miner, the command of water all the year round is equally important. Where the reef affords an ample flow, and pumps are requisite, the quartz-miner is happily independent of the seasons, and carries on his labours in summer and winter with equal success; but there are few mines or mills which can entirely dispense with extensive dams, in which to secure the winter’s rain for use in the dry months of the year. Some of the newer fields—such as the Jordan, and the diggings recently opened up in Gipps Land, on the south side of the mountains in which the Goulburn, the Yarra, the Thomson, and other rivers take their rise—are amply provided by nature with clear flowing streams; but most of the older gold-fields of the colony are less fortunately situated, and some of the remoter diggings in the north-west of the colony are specially subject to the unpleasant contingencies that arise to the miner from a dry summer. Around Castlemaine it is no uncommon tiling for the labours of the puddler and the tunneller to be suspended for four months in the year, for want of water. The Loddon ceased to flow above Newbridge for many months last year, and along its bed whole

piles of washdirt were accumulated from the tunnels, to be washed out in the first of the winter floods. In the district of Maldon, some of the larger mills were unable to carry on operation^, their dams being dry ; and the bulk of the mining population could do no work for months together. On Bendigo the want has been seriously felt for years, and, unfortunately, it has not been remedied by the formation of the Bendigo Waterworks Company, whose really fine artificial lake, situated at the head of Kangaroo Flat, supplies sufficient water only for the domestic purposes of Sandhurst, Ballarat has its Swamp ; and its co-operative companies find a considerable, if not a sufficient, supply in the gutters in which their workings are carried on; but even there water supply, on a comprehensive scheme, is one of the first requisites to the full development of the auriferous resources of the district, and it is about to be secured by local exertion, supplemented by aid from the State. Inglewood, St Arnaud, and the out-lying gold-fields, are entirely dependent on the periodical rains, and in summer all work is suspended for want of water. Unfortunately, the rivers that flow through those older fields are intermittent. Taking their rise in the Dividing Range, and flowing northwards towards the Murray, they carry down immense bodies of water in the winter ; but their volume gradually diminishes as summer advances, until at last they lose themselves in the great plains south of the Murray, leaving dry channels to mark where rivers have been ; or they resolve themselves into mere chains of waterlioles, from which supplies may be drawn by the miners, but at an expense which exceeds the profit. Miners have laboured to provide for their wants by the construe-

tion of dams, for which the configuration of the ground often offers peculiar facilities. But these reservoirs are generally small. As the water in them becomes more and more mixed with mud, as it is used over and over again, it loses its value as a saver of gold, the finer particles of the precious metal passing away in the thick and tenacious fluid from the puddling mills, and the fine mud coating the blankets in the quartz mills, and assisting the gold to escape from the mercury, and to cross uncaught the copper plates and ripples.

The importance of an artificial supply of water, not merely to render old gold-fields more productive, but to open new scenes of mining labour, has been recognised on various occasions. A splendidly comprehensive scheme was projected some years ago by Mr. Ligar, the surveyor-general, by which great results might have been obtained, but it was before its time. Public opinion had not become alive to the importance of the subject, and the amount of money involved was too large, even for the magnificent times in which the project was announced. While the Nicholson Ministry were in power a large grant for the construction of reservoirs was assented to; but a fatality seems to have attended the expenditure of the vote. Whether the sites selected were the best that could be found or no, it is unfortunate that the reservoirs have been, up to the time of my writing, of the least possible use to the miners. Those for Sandhurst—for there are two of them—were placed in Grassy Plat, some miles to the eastward of Bendigo Valley, and at too low a level to be of any service for mining or any other purpose to the people of Bendigo, though they may be of value to Epsom and Huntly.

They are known as the Grassy Flat fish-ponds ; and so far their only use has been as breeding-places for fresh-water lobsters and other table delicacies furnished by water. At Maldon the reservoir is still under repair, and its construction has been a source of alarm to the inhabitants, who find themselves exposed to be swept down Loddon-wards in a destructive flood, if tile defective bank should give way hereafter under pressure of an angry winter storm. Maryborough reservoir is a fine sheet of water, placed at a level sufficiently high to afford pressure enough for a domestic supply to the town; but it has as yet contributed little to the advantage of those for whom it was primarily intended. Inglewood is in the same position. If the seasons are propitious the dam there may, some time or other, be filled ; and if pipes are ever laid down, the municipality will obtain that of which it has much need. But, beyond feeding a couple of quartz-mills, the reservoir has been as yet of no service to the miners. The four or five works thus alluded to may be taken as samples of the thirty or more formed under the votes of Parliament; but it is probable that further liberality on the part of the state may render them of use hereafter, if not productive of some revenue from the sale of water. Something more is necessary, however, than the construction of small sheets of water here and there, if auriferous land now untouched, because comparatively poor, is to be worked with success, and known gold-fields are to be rendered more productive than they are at present.

I found an idea prevailing on more than one of the gold-fields, that it would be desirable to secure a local supply of water by means of artesian wells, sunk at

the expense of the Government, for the double purpose of water supply and of testing to great depths the character of the strata. On Bendigo, for example, various problems might be solved by a bore put down for water-supply. If sunk on the flat, it would resolve the question of a double auriferous bottom ; and if in the line of the reefs, it would be ascertained whether the belt of quartz ran right across the flat. The bore might be commenced from the bottom of one or other of the old shafts on the line of the Victoria Reef, or at Golden Point, where a bar extends across the valley. Such a bore put down on the Loddon Plains would probably determine the question of the existence of auriferous leads at a great depth, or under the basalt. A similar test on the plains of the Avoca, or through the basalt around Mount Greenock, or in the plains towards the Murray, might lead to discoveries of great importance to the colony, save the expenditure of a vast amount of labour, money, and time, by individual miners, develope gold-fields of large extent long years before the prospector would reach them in the ordinary course of things, and thus give fresh impetus to gold-mining. It is calculated that the necessary apparatus would cost about £200, that the sinking would not exeeed 20s. per foot on an average,and that on Bendigo, sinking might be carried on with advantage to a depth of seven hundred or eight hundred feet. The whole cost, therefore, of testing the strata in all the principal mining districts, to very great depths, would be inconsiderable to the State, though impossible to individuals; and the suggestion seems worthy of consideration from scientific points of view, if not from that of water supply alone.

Nature has shown us, however, in the levels of

the land, how we should take advantage of the rainfall of the colon)' to supply the deficiencies we find in the water-courses. The rainfall of the colony is large. Sufficient moisture descends in the shape of rain, in the course of the year, to meet the wants of our miners and farmers, if the means of saving and distributing it economically existed. Two schemes have been received with some favour having this end in view, and in this direction the country will look if Parliament should sanction an issue of debentures for water-supply, as proposed last session in the Legislative Assembly by Mr. Francis. The first has in view the supply of the north-western gold-fields, around the Amphitheatre ; the second affects the older goldfields, north of Malmsburv, by damming up the river Coliban there, and leading its waters by way of Castlemaine to Bendigo, either by open aqueducts and distributing reservoirs, or in pipes taken along the line of railway, as the Yan Yean water is conveyed to Melbourne. This scheme came more directly under my attention, and I shall, therefore, enter more fully into it, with the view of showing that, while large supplies of water can be secured artificially, the expenditure would be profitable as an investment of public money, and of advantage to the colony. The Coliban water scheme has now been before the colony at intervals during the last seven or eight years. It has been investigated by a select committee of the Legislative Assembly. At the recommendation of that body, a sum of one thousand pounds, was voted last session for a preliminary survey, which is now being made. The simple proposition is this— water for sluicing purposes is much wanted in Fryer’s Creek district, around Castlemaine, and on Bendigo.

It is proposed to meet that want by forming an immense reservoir near Malmsbury, at the point where the railway crosses the Coliban, by a high embankment and bridge, where the outlet is limited by works necessary for the protection of the railway. Here would be stored a large portion of the storm-waters that are now wasted in the winter floods, and while the volume of the river itself would not be seriously diminished, a quantity of water would be retained sufficient to meet the requirements of the districts already named, and give employment to 6,000 or 8,000 miners. It was given in evidence before the committee, by Mr. Brady, C.E., that the watershed of the Coliban embraces an area of 100 square miles, from where the stream has its origin in the Dividing Range, to Malmsbury ; and the rainfall is equal to twenty-four inches per annum. By taking advantage of the railway embankment, after properly securing it against the effects of an overflow, a reservoir would be obtained extending over 270 acres of land, varying from twelve to twenty-four feet deep, and capable of storing 750,000,000 gallons of water. One-sixth of the rainfall over the watershed gives 8,712,000,000 gallons per annum, or 24,000,000 gallons per day ; but making every allowance for evaporation, leakage, and loss in floods, a supply of 10,000,000 gallons per day could be depended upon. It is proposed to carry this supply to Sandhurst, by way of Elphinstone, or the Gap in the Mount Alexander range, known as Major’s Pass, and thence eastward of Mount Alexander, coming into the Bendigo Valley north of the Big Hill tunnel, in an open aqueduct of fifty miles long, with a branch of ten miles in length from Elphinstone to Castlemaine. Mr. Brady’s scheme proposes

a tunnel of nearly a mile in length, through the ranges near Elpliinstone or Sawpit Gully. The level of the reservoir at its outlet would be 1,425 feet above the level of the sea, and at Bendigo the water would be distributed from an elevation of 1,050 feet above the sea, or 350 feet above that of Pall Mall, Sandhurst. A fall of 375 feet would thus be obtained between Malmsbury and Sandhurst, and it is proposed to make that run available for water-power, by ten vertical falls of thirty feet each, constructed in solid masonry, each of which would drive a mill of thirty or thirty-five horse power. Additional power of the same kind would be obtained on the Castlemaine fork of the aqueduct. The estimate of the total cost of the works, including compensation for land, distributing reservoirs, &c., is set down at £254,000. Mr. Brady calculates that the gross annual returns would be £39,000, and the maintenance would amount to £19,000, leaving a net profit of £20,000. He does not include, however, the rental of the water-power for mills, which would probably increase the returns by £5,000 a-year. The calculation, farther, proceeds on the supposition that each sluice-head of water would be rented at 3d. per 1,000 gallons, or £7 10s. per week. But each sluice-head can be worked at least six times over, and the calculations of the miners on the Loddon, with whom I discussed this subject, showed that each of the six parties could afford to pay 10s. per day for the use of the water, thus raising the revenue from each sluice-head to £18 per week, and the total annual return from that source to £93,000, or, with the mill-rents, nearly £100,000 per annum. Even if this calculation is reduced one-half, there is still a return

of the whole outlay in five years. While Mr. Brady has satisfied himself that an open aqueduct would answer all purposes, and could be constructed at the price he names, to carry the quantity of water he has calculated, it is held by Mr. Hull (of the Bailway Department), and others, that the water should be conveyed in cast-iron pipes, and they propose that the line of the railway should be followed, and the pipes carried through the already formed tunnel at Elphinstone. Iron pipes would double the cost of the work, converting a quarter of a million or so into half a million of money. The advantage to be derived would be greatly increased pressure, by which whole hills could be washed down ; but it is doubtful whether pipes could be procured of capacity enough to carry the quantity of water desirable, and whether the advantages of iron piping would be large enough to compensate for some obvious disadvantages, and for the increased cost of the works. These, however, are matters of engineering, and I have to do only with the broad outlines of the scheme. The main questions are three—first, Is there a necessity for the work being done ? second, Can it be carried out? and third, Would it pay for itself? As regards the first question, I may say that I met with no one who doubted the utility of the plan. It is admitted that there are hundreds upon hundreds of acres of auriferous ground all along the line of the aqueduct not now worked for want of water, which such a canal would render payable ; while there are large areas in which mining is suspended in the summer, where the water of the Coliban, well reticulated, would render labour possible all the year round. Its necessity is felt annually, and the scheme is periodically revived with the dry weather

—to be forgotten again, unfortunately, as soon as the rains of April and May begin to fall; and in tern' porary abundance of the too often turbid fluid, and activity after long idleness, the subject is dismissed till empty reservoirs and suspended returns again recall the subject to mind. Nor would the water be useful for mining alone. Whether carried through pipes, or in open channels, to the distributing reservoirs, the construction of a few filters, and the connexion of distributing pipes, would make it available for domestic use. Little of the supply might be available for agricultural or horticultural purposes, so long as the demand for puddling and sluicing purposes continued ; but when the time comes, and those branches of mining are no longer profitable, the aqueduct would be of the greatest value for the purpose of irrigation, and a new class of tenants would spring up, whose demands would continue, in the words of old Scottish charters, “ as long as water runs and grass grows.” That the work could be constructed, and would secure the calculated supply, there is still less doubt. Whether it should be carried on an independent course, at as high an elevation as possible, or taken along the railway line in iron pipes, is a question for the engineers. There might be danger to the railway works, while there would be a gain in pressure, by the latter system. That the watershed of the Coliban would feed the reservoir with abundance there is every reason to believe. The very large supply on which Mr. Brady calculates as likely to enter the reservoir annually is, as already remarked, only a fourth of the actual measured rainfall of the district; while the surveyors of the geological department have ascertained that the permanent

flow of the Coliban is sustained by a magnificent spring of water in Daniel’s Gully, the source of Daniel’s Creek, which furnishes a very large supply at all seasons, flowing almost more strongly in summer than in winter, though the character of the country through which the Coliban flows leads to a vast loss of water by percolation in the dry season before the stream reaches the auriferous districts. That the supply of water would pay a very handsome profit to the state, seems to be equally clear ; though I should be disposed to insist on that argument less strongly than on the more important one—the good which the scheme, if carried out, would do to the districts directly benefited, as well as the colony generally. The increased yield of gold would of itself largely benefit the state, and the labours of a large body of miners, not likely to rush away to newer fields in the hope of bettering their fortune, would be of value to the community generally, providing a market for the purchase of farm and garden produce, consuming wares which merchants and producers, ships and railways, would aid in bringing to the market, and giving value to property. All that I have seen and heard along the line of the proposed aqueduct assures me that its construction is called for, and that the cost of the necessary preliminary surveys, to satisfy the Government and the country as to the practicability of the scheme, will be money well spent.

Chapter XXVI.

LEGISLATIVE REQUIREMENTS OF THE GOLD-FIELDS.

The value of the wool, tallow, and hides exported from Victoria in the ten years from 1850 to 1860 amounted to £16,950,402. In the first ten years after the discovery of gold in this colony, ending October 1861, the precious metal sent out from the mines exceeded £101,600,000 in value. Over 580 squai’e miles of land are mined upon. Upwards of 1,800 auriferous quartz reefs are laid down in the maps of the mining surveyors. The value of the mining plant in operation is nearly £1,500,000 ; and about a fifth part of the whole population of the colony are engaged in mining pursuits. Ten years’ experience has shown the extent, the value, and the peculiarities of our auriferous deposits, and during five of those years we have enjoyed the privileges and borne the responsibilities of selfgovernment. Recalling these figures, and considering their importance, it might have been presumed that an interest of such magnitude as that of our mines would have received the particular care of successive Governments ; that it would have been legislated for with the greatest care, and prominently represented in the Cabinet; and that its requirements would be ministered to by a department fully organized, and at least physically strong enough to perform the very large and largely increasing duties thrown upon it by the advancing importance of the mining interest. The Post-office with its small revenue and routine duties, has its political head. The Customs Department is equally represented in the Cabinet, though the duties

of the office call for no special knowledge, and require comparatively little care or labour. Even railways have their Minister, though the department is regarded in the regulations framed under the Civil Service Bill as not a permanent one. It is true the late Ministry (Mr. Heales’s) rose to the level of the occasion ; but the good work they performed—in intention, at least— was early thrown down, and the department, as it now exists, has its duties divided in a manner not altogether intelligible, and from which harmony of action can scarcely be hoped, unless through more than usual acumen and labour on the part of the responsible representative of the department. One Minister decides upon a particular class of mining applications ; another takes cognizance of a different class ; and a third and fourth have their particular shares of the work to be performed. The Minister of Lands controls one set of leases ; the Postmaster-General is omnipotent as regards another ; the Minister of Railways and Roads decides upon a third class of cases; and the Minister of Justice and the Attorney-General have each something to say in them all. To obey these various chiefs there is one permanent head of the department, with two or three assistants. He is called upon to transact a multiplicity of business of ever varying mining kind, and whose office may be said to shift from hour to hour—now to the Treasury, now to the Lands Department, now to the Post-office, now to the Crown Law Offices, and to the Mining Department proper in the intervals. On no other department, with the exception of that of Lands, can so much labour be thrown, involving so much responsibility ; and to none is it left to be performed under so many peculiar and removable disadvantages.

During those ten years the legislation affecting the gold-fields has been of the same loose and imperfect kind. Various acts have been passed, but they have left the state of the law almost worse than they found it. Mining companies are formed, and register themselves under one or other of the three acts of which they have the choice ; but the moment a legal difficulty arises, it is found that not a deed has yet been drawn which is not so full of loop-holes as to be inoperative, the acts under which they are framed contradicting themselves, and leaving most essential points undetermined and open to varying interpretations. It is rarely that a company knows who are and who are not partners in the concern. If calls are sued for, one judge construes the law to mean that liability does not begin until certain forms have been absolutely completed, while another rules that responsibility commences with the initial step in the affair. One act professes to secure limited liability to partners, and yet leaves every individual shareholder open to be sued for the debts of the company. One proposes to limit the power of contracting debts, and yet leaves it open to every shareholder so to involve the company. One intends to fix personal liability on directors, but its meaning is so imperfectly expressed as to be unintelligible, and the professed object of the particular clause is not carried out. One proposes to be peculiarly explicit as regards the position of the mortgagee of a mine and plant, but leaves him involved in mists in which his actual situation cannot be defined. While the acts of Parliament itself have been of this kind, there are other minor parliaments in all parts of the country passingother acts, some of them not inferior in importance, and involving the law of the

colony in mining matters in the most extraordinary contradictions. Each of the six mining districts into •which the colony is divided has its own mining board, the members of which are elected by the miners, and paid by the State at so much per day for their attendance, or at the rate of £50 per annum per man. That those boards have been useful there is no doubt, but the powers they possess are somewhat too large, and the regulations by which their proceedings are controlled leave them a latitude and an independence that practically overpowers the Mining Department and makes it the slave rather than the master. To the Mining Board of Ballarat the colony owes the gradual, and latterly the rapid, extension of the areas that may be held under miners’ rights, varying with the depth and cost of the sinking, and also that frontage system which has had much to do with the prosperity of mining in the districts of Ballarat and Smythesdale, but which has grown to a mag nitude which the Legislature of the country never intended to confer on local boards the power of granting. To the board of Daylesford the mining community owe the introduction of some wholesome and valuable regulations for the protection of sleeping interests in claims ; and that of Castlemaine is understood to be about to do the honest miner a small modicum of justice in the protection of his claim against the “jumper” for eight days, in place of the seventy-two hours, the grace of which he now receives in case of unavoidable absence from the scene of his usual labours. But the laws of the mining boards have almost passed into a proverb for their contrarieties. Maryborough proclaims one set of regulations, applicable to the size of claims, the manner in which

they are to be registered, the way they are to be measured and how they are to be worked. Ballarat lays down rules of a more liberal nature in every respect, and of very different character. Sandhurst and Castlema.ine, on their parts, have peculiar views of their own, and thus we have added to the laws of the land a series of bye-laws which, though they maybe consistent with the Gold-fields Act, are inharmonious with each other, and often differ so irreconcilably as to be utterly bewildering to the judges who are called upon to administer them, and perplexing and deceptive to the miner, who is supposed to be guided by them. The evil, perhaps, would be less if miners were less afflicted with the desire of change. But the charms of a rush are irresistible, and if a new lead of importance is discovered in one district, crowds rush to it from all the others. Miners cannot carry with them all the variations and changes in the six codes of regulations. Each party proceeds to mark out his claim and work it, according to the bye-laws of the district with which he is most familiar, and the consequences are those endless disputes that overpower the wardens, overwhelm the courts of mines, and overflow into the courts of higher jurisdiction. The evil is of wide extent and fruitful. The varying ordinances, and the shifting boundaries of claims provided for in the event of changes in the course of leads, have led to the most singular and serious disputes, even to the perilling of large adventures, on Ballarat and elsewhere. Why such consequences have resulted from the independent legislation of the mining boards is easy to see. In the first place, there is no guarantee that the members possess any qualifications for the office to which they are elected.

The best men may be selected ; but there are few good miners, doing well in their claims, who will sever themselves from their labour to give their time to the frequent deliberations of the board. The honour may be coveted, but the sacrifice is considerable. Again, the mining districts are large enough to make considerable kingdoms and principalities in Europe. Beechworth, for example, claims Gipps Land ; Castlemaine embraces the head-waters of the Yarra; and Maryborough expects a member resident in St. Arnaud to journey sixty or seventy miles to every meeting, for a sum which would barely cover the wayside expenses of a thirsty traveller on a hot summer’s day. Each board has to legislate for every variety of mining enterprise ; and as the old jealousy between capital and labour is not yet extinguished in some of them, it is not difficult to comprehend that in some views may rule which will practically shut out capital, and restrict the individual miner to the smallest of chances, while larger ideas may prevail under other circumstances, as they have done at Ballarat. The manner, again, in which the bye-laws acquire force has something novel and comical about it, if the matter were not too serious for joking. If a board of half-a-dozen members frame a new set of laws, it is no uncommon thing to see individual members protesting that they disagree with certain and so many of them. One member protests against bye-laws Nos. 1, 8, 5, and 7 ; another objects to Nos. 2, 4, 6, and 8 ; a third thinks No, 9 will be pernicious ; and a fourth declines to adhere to No. 11, believing its operation will be most injurious. Each of the new laws, therefore, may have the support of a bare majority, and there may not be a single one

of them to which serious objections are not entertained by various members. The code, as a whole, therefore, may not have the assent of a single member. It comes down, however, to the revising barrister. He looks at it, cursorily, perhaps—for the subject is by no means inviting—and he certifies with equal haste and pleasure that the regulations do not seem to clash with the statute law. This opinion, indeed, is of no consequence, because the decision of the mining board itself is absolute. The code is gazetted; and forthwith a new series of blunders begins on the part of the miners, fresh disputes pour into the courts for settlement, and a new crop of troubles and doubts springs up in the minds of the judges. The whole mining board system, in short, is a blunder at this day, however valuable it may have been in times past.    *

A codification of the mining laws and bye-laws of the colony has been proposed, and undoubtedly such a work is required and would be valuable. The time seems to have come,' however, when a more comprehensive view of the subject must be taken, and the mining interests of the colony admitted to a larger share of Ministerial consideration. I found little difference of opinion upon that point beyond the pale of the mining boards themselves. It was argued, generally, that the department demanded a political representative, as well as a permanent head (such as it now has), and a staff of officers sufficiently large to be able to discharge the multifarious and onerous labours that lie with it, in a speedy and satisfactory manner. The framing of the laws and bye-laws to regulate every kind of mining should lie with the department, aided, probably, by an annual council

of delegates from the various leading gold-fields—such as the Convention of Eoyal Burghs of Scotland, or the annual meeting of road board delegates which now takes place in Melbourne. Over that Council the permanent head of the department should preside; and the delegates should be paid by the State, but elected by the miners, as at present. In those annual convocations suggestions of all kinds would be thrown out, and every new view of matters brought out by the experience of the year would be represented. Where the subjects were important enough to be dealt with by bill, the law officers of the Crown would have something tangible on which to proceed in framing a measure, in place of, as at present, accepting bills privately drafted, or crude suggestions thrown out by individual members, or small measures dealing with a single subject—such as the Drainage of Reefs Bill. The importance of the proposed changes would then be openly discussed, and alterations of the law, probably of much wider significance than their authors imagined or would admit, could not be made without open criticism from the press and Parliament, and the knowledge of those most affected. Such a mode as this of framing laws and bye-laws would secure to all districts of the colony uniformity of mining regulations, and would probably procure for some of them advantages from the experience of others which they would not otherwise obtain for years. Regulations would then be framed on general principles, apart from local views or prejudices, but with modifications where necessary to meet local wants. The abolition of the mining boards, moreover, would remove a stumbling block in the way of the department, and give greater efficiency to it. The mining surveyors, for example, owe but small allegiance

at present to the secretary of mines. The department possesses the right of veto in the election of those officers; but, though it may exercise it nominally, it cannot practically enforce it. The election is virtually in the hands of the Mining Board j and as payment is by fees fowork done, there is not the tie of salary between the officers and the Government. It is true that for a certain small payment, monthly returns are made to the department ; but no supervision can remove the indifference with which those returns and reports are prepared in many instances, or supply the deficiencies that are too often found in them. The time seems ripe for such a change as I have dwelt upon. The recent discoveries in Gipps Land, and on the head waters of the Yarra, at Comer Inlet, in the neighbourhood of Melbourne and Geelong, and towards Cape Otway, as well as the extreme likelihood of further discoveries of auriferous soil towards Mount Jeffcott, and northwards from Ko-rong, call for an entire change of the system, or for the creation of new mining divisions and boards. Beechworth cannot legislate for so remote a district as the Lower Nicholson ; Castlemaine is cut off by physical obstacles from the Jordan, the Goulburn, and the creeks of the Yarra ; and Maryborough can have no pretensions to lay down laws for districts bordering on the Murray. Another reason is, that mining boards were originally intended to make regulations for gold-mining only, and their members can have no special knowledge as to what restrictions should be imposed on coal-winning, iron-mining, lime-cutting, marble-quarrying, or lignite-raising, or what rules should be applied to argentiferous reefs, or antimony veins, or deposits of wolfsbur-gite-bearing quartz, or any other of the lately-discovered minerals, for which leases have been applied for recently,

under the 49th clause of the Land Act of 18G2. This description of mining is likely to be largely followed up; but to frame regulations for its guidance is beyond the province of mining boards, and could not be entrusted to them. It is work solely and purely for the department. Another system, then, has become a necessity ; and, as far as my observation and inquiries go, nothing short of a radical change in the direction I have indicated, will satisfy the mining community.

Chapter XXVII.

LEGISLATIVE REQUIREMENTS OF THE GOLD-FIELDS—CONTINUED.

The immediate want of the gold-fields is a comprehensive act, to embody the best portions of the existing measures, clear up obscurities, provide limited liability, define the powers of directors as regards the contraction of debts and the making of mortgages, the forfeiture of shares, &c. ; enable claims to be registered in such a manner as will prevent jumping ; secure to the warden proper assistance where it may be necessary to call in a jury of practical men ; limit the frontage system within such bounds as will make it harmonize, as regards rent at least, with the Leases of Auriferous Lands Bill ; define where the control of local boards over public roads shall cease and that of wardens begin ; simplify the forms of application for leases ; and enforce such a moderate amount of inspection of mines and mining machinery as shall lessen the number of accidents, now of daily occurrence, without placing oppressive or expensive restrictions on the miner, whether an individual

or a company. I have already referred in general terms to the inconsistencies and deficiencies experience has shown to exist in the three acts under one or other of which every mining company in the colony is registered, known by the names of their authors, as Haines’s, Ireland’s, and Pyke’s. The latter is the newest, and for that reason, perhaps, fewer flaws have been found in itbut a new bill is imperatively called for, to embrace the better portions of the three.9

The first of the special points to which I shall allude is that of registration of claims. At present it is possible, under bye-laws varying in various districts, to secure by registration sleeping interests ; and in other cases to protect claims for a time which have been worked for a certain period, but which failing means, or other causes, may have led the holders to leave temporarily, after the expenditure of large sums upon them. Nothing has tended more to lessen enterprize in mining on the part of capitalists than the insecurity they feel with regard to the properties on which their money may have been been expended. On every field and reef there are sea-lawyers,” well up in every variation of the byc-laws, and too lazy to acquire property by their own labour, but ’cute enough and sharp enough to step in through some chink of the law, and possess themselves in its name of claims on which time and money have been spent by others. At present the most valuable mine in the colony, if it is held under miners’ rights, may be jumped if the owners are found to be absent for three consecutive days, unless a holiday has been proclaimed by the warden of the district. Numerous instances have occurred in which a golden hole” has thus found

a new master, who lay in wait until the fatal hour had arrived, and then went in to possess himself, by force of might and law, of that which of right belonged to another. The same law which thus forfeits property, perhaps for an accidental and unavoidable circumstance, protects the “ shepherd ” to any extent, who merely visits his claim for a little while daily, and throws up a few stones only to throw them down again. The time has passed when such jealous care was necessary to prevent individual miners securing more than a fair share of the more golden spots of the land. It is asked from regulations adapted to the day that they should encourage mining industry: and a perfect system of registration of claims, which would secure a property in a mine or claim as undeniably as registration of a deed, or a Crown grant of land, protects from spoliation the property it represents. Why should a man whose enterprize has been rewarded by the discovery of a good reef, or of a rich alluvial claim, perhaps after long and laborious search, be unable to leave it for a time—say to visit England, if he chose—and find it safe on Ms return A clear and judicious system of registration and protection in such cases would go far to encourage prospecting, and further mining enterprize.

The manner in which assessors are chosen, in cases where the advice of experienced practical men is required to assist a warden to determine some knotty point, also deserves attention in a new measure. The object aimed at in calling in assessors is good ; but in practice, the common manner of calling together ordinary jurors to serve on coroners’ inquests has been fallen back upon. In Tarrengower, for instance, the list of assessors now or lately in use, was made out in 1858. A large

proportion of the skilled miners whose names are recorded in it, have since gone to England, New Zealand, the Lachlan, &c. When assessors are called upon, the men who are the most readily found are brought in—carpenters, shoemakers, masons, slaughtermen, &c.,—who have no special knowledge of intricate matters of mining, and no peculiar capacity of understanding and applying to the merits of the case the points in the evidence of professional experts. There should be in every district a special mining jury-list, revised carefully from time to time, from which a jury of assessors should be ballotted for in eveiy case. The effects of the present system are unsatisfactory decisions and endless litigation.

In previous letters I have referred to the very extensive claims now held under the frontage system at Ballarat and Smythesdale, and remarked that the Mining Board of that district, in adopting that arrangement, and obtaining the sanction of the Government to the bye-law, really exercised powers of which the Legislature itself can have had no just idea, seeing that much less liberal provisions were grudgingly assented to in the Leases of Auriferous Lands Bill than the Ballarat frontage bye-law confers within the limits of that mining district. A single sample of how this law operates will suffice to show that its modification is not uncalled for. The Golden Stream, at Smythesdale, is a co-operative company, consisting of one hundred miners, who hold under their miners’ rights a mile of ground, which is supposed to be traversed throughout by the Grand Trunk lead. The course of the lead throughout the length of ground held by them being still undetermined, they have interim protection under the bye law for a mile on each side,

measured across the supposed run of the lead. They thus hold 640 acres of land for the time being, for which no rent is paid beyond the cost of their miners’ rights, while the minimum rent of the same land if held under lease would be £2 10s. per acre ! But a portion of land they have occupied is held from the Crown by a tenant under a pastoral licence, and is fenced in. The miners, however, pass through or over the fences and occupy the paddocks, driving the cattle or sheep away, because a portion of the enclosed land comes within their protected ground. It never was intended by the Minister who sanctioned the frontage bye-law of Ballarat that it should so glaringly defeat and out-do in liberality the intention of the Legislature, since expressed in the Leases of Auriferous Lands Bill, or affect the surface of fenced land because a lead of gold runs within half-a-mile of the posts and rails, and deep in the underground.

Conflicts of authority are undesirable. It is proposed to introduce a District Councils Bill in next session of Parliament, and to transfer to local authorities the care of the public as well as the district roads within their bounds. The proportion of the land fund set apart for road and other improvements will enable large extents of road work to be performed from this time forward. A double reason, therefore, exists why the new Goldfields Bill should clearly define the powers of those local councils, and of the road engineers and wardens respectively, with reference to mining under roads. A dispute of this character has arisen between the Newstead Hoad Board and the warden of Fryers’ Creek district, and at the time of my visit matters were at a dead-lock. Unfortunately the party of miners whose leave, given by the Road Board, had

been cancelled by the warden, were a party of Chinamen, and they were as unable to understand how the collision had come about as I was. I could see no way out of the difficulty, but by an appeal to the Minister of Justice to hold the scales between the contending powers, and I felt that I should have been still more helpless in understanding the matter if I had been “John,” and the scene had been the banks of the Yellow River, in place of the equally highly-coloured but less celebrated Loddon.    •

I am satisfied that any system embodied in the new bill that would simplify the process of obtaining mining leases from the Crown, would be hailed with satisfaction by the miners. It is no doubt necessary to protect the interests of the state ; but if a private owner of property lets a mine, his interest has also to be protected. In the one case, however, the business seems to be the matter of months, and in the other of days. The acts bearing on the subiect are no doubt defective, and the department is embarrassed in its operation by causes over which its officers have little or no control ; but the quartz miner finds it hard to understand why he should experience so many delays in being placed in possession of the parchment which is his charter. I am aware that much has been done of late to facilitate mining en-terprize, and that the wish of the department is to give every facility for the commencement of new and novel mining industries. Probably the truest remedy for any imperfections in the working of the department in tills respect, is that recognition of it under a political as well as a permanent head to which the country looks . forward.

Inspection of the mines and mining machinery has has been talked of, and was a favourite hobby of a late

o

member for Mandurang, who fathered several abortive bills on the subject. I cannot think we are yet arrived at such a state of mining matters as to call for the introduction of the English system of mine inspection. Numerous accidents unquestionably occur from preventible causes in our mines. The greater number of them, however, are of a kind that no inspection of a general character could check. No care other than that of the miners themselves will prevent earth coming down in untimbered ground a few feet only in advance of timbered drives. A mine might be safe in that respect at the time of the district inspector’s visit, and highly dangerous one hour afterwards. No inspection would prevent .another large class of accidents—that of explosions in blasting, from the use of improper tools. Inspection could only apply to quartz shafts, in which few accidents occur ; and to boilers, and chains and ropes, which have seldom led to occurrences of a lamentable character in this colony, though the time may come when a periodical official inspection of boilers and winding gear will be proper and desirable.

It is as yet too early to speak of the commonage system, but it has conferred one advantage on the miner so far, in saving his cattle from the pound. And while I am on the subject of complaints, of which much was made in Parliament some time ago, I may add that I heard little or nothing with regard to those charges for business licences on the gold-fields that were made quite a bugbear of in the Assembly early last session. I did hear many, however, of the defects in the existing licensing system on the gold-fields. An attempt has been made to put down sly-grog selling, but colonial beer has come so extensively into use, and such a system of mutual trust and confidence has been established

between dealers in “ sly-grog ” and their customers, that it will be little short of impossible to eradicate the system. A public-house on a gold-field must provide— by the regulations bearing upon them—certain accommodation for man and beast which no gold-fields public-house can possibly supply. Its owner has to pay 25/. for a licence, 10/. for a night licence (to permit him to keep his doors open between ten p.m. and one o’clock a.m.), and 10/. for the indispensable billiard or bagatelle table licence. From these accumulated charges and restrictions the sly-grog seller is free, and he will therefore flourish where his tax-paying neighbour will go to the wall. Sly-grog shops, indeed, abound on every hand. In one small district which I visited, there were 350 such places, and not more than fourteen or fifteen licensed houses. Those sly-grog shops averaged 71. per week of returns, and the licensed houses 15/. But when the relative expense of the establisliments is calculated, it is apparent that the profit lies with the unlicensed dealer. Probably a uniform free-trade rate of 51. per license, without restrictions, and without the assistance of a licensing bench, would be the best remedy. There would be more revenue collected and less police protection required. But whether this matter should be dealt with in a Gold-fields Bill, or in an amended Licensed Publicans Act, is another question.

The last observations I have to make on this branch of my subject, regard the distinction to be drawn hereafter between auriferous and non-auriferous land. Large tracts of territory are passing away from the Crown, and some of them will hereafter, there cannot be a doubt, be found to be auriferous. Land of that character, indeed, was withdrawn from selection at the recent sales at the last moment. In one instance, not only alluvial, but

reef workings, had been going on for a length of time on ground which was supposed to be purely agricultural when the survey was made. If land of this kind had been sold as auriferous land, and at the price such ground would fetch at open competition, there might have been little cause for regret or comment; but when land which the miner covets passes largely into private hands at 20s. per acre, the thing becomes important as regards the public, and serious as regards the miner. I can see no remedy for this state of things, however, beyond the hastening on of the geological survey by the employment of a larger staff through the greater liberality of Parliament, and the early proclamation or reservation of such lands as auriferous as the geological surveyors may point out. Without some such step being taken, it is a matter of chance whether auriferous lands will or will not pass away from the Crown under another name, and for an inadequate price, to the loss of the state, and the restriction of the gold-miner in his search after new fields.

Chapter XXVIII.

THE GEOLOGICAL MAPS OF THE COLONY.

It cannot be doubted that much might be done by science to facilitate the labours of the prospector for gold-fields. Sandstone is not the matrix in which gold had its origin, and its home is not in the carboniferous measures. It is associated only with the oldest rocks, and where these are not found—where newer deposits have concealed the more ancient formations, and great volcanic eruptions have not interposed to mar the order of the works of nature—it is needless to search for

deposits of gold. The geologist, therefore, might be a valuable assistant to the gold miner, but hitherto science has been of little service to him in tracing out new fields. Experience derived from wanderings in California led originally to the discovery of the auriferous deposits of Australia, and the unveiling of gold-field after gold-field, alluvial flats, deep leads, and veins of golden quartz, has been the result of accident, and the rude knowledge acquired by the miners in their every day life. Surface indications have been their instructor, and “ likely spots” have been pitched upon from the resemblance they bore to other fields, or because the finger of Nature seemed to point them out as places where gold lay hid. In the character of the rocks and soil, and the peculiarity of the vegetation, a meaning is conveyed to the experienced eye as legible as the lettering on a milestone, and less equivocal than the inscription on the stone by the well that led the student of Salamanca to discover under it, in the form of a purse of gold, “ the soul of the licentiate Pedro Garcia.” Round-topped hills of washed gravel, in a quartz country, are taken to indicate the locality of a gold-field, and the presence of ironbark trees in the forest is regarded as a most encouraging feature. Those indications, however, are not universal, as the Whipstick of Inglewood covers a track where the rounded hills have been washed down into mounds scarcely distinguishable in the scrub, and where a peculiar vegetation has shut out, not the iron-bark only, but every other kind of large timber, and given its name to a considerable extent of country. Alluvial flats below gold-bearing rocks, from which the plains have been fed, naturally suggest themselves to the miner as tempting spots in which to try a prospect, and a stiff white pipeclay or cement is seldom dissociated

with gold. In quartz-reefing, the circumstances attending discoveries are scarcely different. The veins crop out on the surface ; they are laid bare in watercourses or by sudden floods ; they are exposed in the course of alluvial mining ; their near neighbourhood is indicated by pebbles of quartz scattered on the surface in all directions ; and they are told upon by larger masses, detached in some severe storm, or by the disintegration of the matrix, caused by changing seasons, out too heavily 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 is travelling over ? 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 chart or quadrant, without chronometer or barometer, to aid him in his navigation, and whose sole trust for the prosperous ending of his voyages is liis “ sheer industry” and his fortunate stars.

An attempt was made by the Mining Department to supply the miner w'ith some data for his guidance, in a series of maps prepared under the direction of Mr. Brough Smyth, while Mr. Humffray was in office. The series, however, did not extend beyond five, political

changes having occurred while the maps were in preparation, and other views having been entertained by the successor in office of the member for Ballarat East. The districts depicted were Castlemaine, Maryborough, and Ballarat, and two scales were adopted. By the one, the first and last of those gold-fields were represented on a scale of half an inch to a mile, and by the other of an inch to sixteen chains. The calculations were taken from the surveys made for the Surveyor-General’s department, and the contour of the ground was given on the same authority. The position, extent, and boundaries of the alluvial workings, and the reefs, were added from the mining surveyors’ notes. In these maps the alluvial fields are coloured blue, and the quartz veins red, and the extent of the workings, and the number, position, and angle of the reefs, can be ascertained at a glance. The names of the diggings and reefs are indicated by numbers corresponding with a list appended to each map ; and thus a miner possessing a map of the district in which he is labouring, can form an idea of the character of the auriferous deposits in it, and their relation to each other and to the reefs. Beyond tliis, however, the information the mining maps convey does not extend. Only at Inkermann did I find one of them in actual use. There the discoverer of the “ Old * Skipper’s Reef,” at once referred to his chart to show me the position of his claim, with its relations to Mount Moliagul, the nuggetty district of Kingower, and the reefs and alluvial workings nearer at hand. The name his neighbours had given to the vein of quartz he had found, however, showed that the old sea captain had been accustomed to mark off courses on other charts at an earlier stage in his liistory.

The geological department of the public service has

done more to supply the information science can provide, and it is much to be regretted that the efforts of Mr. Sehvyn and his colleagues have been so materially retarded by the smallness of the sum set apart for the geological survey of the colony. It is physically impossible that the geology, of so large a colony can be quickly ascertained, with necessary minuteness and accuracy, and conveyed in maps to the public, by a staff of one chief and four assistants. Yet such is the numerical strength of the department from which a most important work is expected. The labour has been retarded further, by the incompleteness which long existed in the arrangements of the Survey-office, if it does not still prevail . with regard to the geological branch—attributable, no doubt, to the independence assigned to the latter—by which much of the purely topographical survey was thrown upon the more scientific men ; and labour, which the mere handler of the theodolite could have readily accomplished, was heaped upon those whose specialties lay in the more advanced sciences. The department of the Government geologist, however, has not been idle, and we owe to it a series of geological maps of the very highest order—a series which, when completed, will do honour to the colony. Twenty-two quarter sheets have been published, and are on sale, at a cheap rate. They are drawn on a uniform scale of two inches to the mile, and whatever may be the case when districts such as the Wimmera come to be mapped, it is apparent that the scale is none too large for the representation of the other parts of the colony. In some of the gold-fields districts, indeed, it is manifestly too small, the extent of the alluvial workings, the number of the reefs, and the many interesting facts to be recorded with regard to their mineralogy as well as their geology, crowding

together a vast body of information of the most useful and interesting kind to the practical miner, as well as to the student of science. The maps of the mining districts may hereafter be enlarged, but the department properly presses on the survey in the meanwhile, on the original scale, and where an accurate topographical survey provides a basis for their labours, the progress of the geological surveyors is rapid. The twenty-two quarter sheets already issued embrace 1,188 square miles. The Melbourne district, represented in four sheets, takes in 216 square miles. Kinlochewe, Broadmeadows, Kilmore, and Lancefield, have each a sheet embracing fifty-four square miles; the locality around Mount Macedon has required four sheets depicting the same area as Melbourne ; Kyneton has also four maps, of the same extent of country ; and Mount Aitken, Sunbury, Bulla Bulla, Kororoit Creek, Elplunstone, and Castlemaine, one sheet each, including fifty-four miles. A still larger number of sheets are in an advanced state. Twenty-three are surveyed and awaiting publication, two are engraved, and seven are now being printed. Something like 2,900 square miles of the colony have thus been gone over by the geological surveyors, and the later results of their labours will ere long be added to those of which the public are already in possession. The published maps are pictures of beauty. The various rocks and soils are marked by distinct colours, and the contour of the ground, and forms of the mountains and hills are drawn with rigid fidelity. We have here portraits of every remarkable elevation, and not mere dark marks and radiating lines, such as are commonly employed to represent elevated masses of rock. The water courses are traced with equal care, and where they present any unusual feature, such as a cascade, the height of

298    THE G0LI> fields

the fall is measured and its form described. Caves in the rocks, novelties in the woods, and the localities of unique specimens presented to the museum, are noted with equal accuracy. The depth of the various rocks and soils is carefully recorded, wherever sinkings for gold, the formation of wells, cuttings for roads and railways, the excavation of tanks, or the action of rivers, have afforded the surveyors opportunities of measurement. Every discovery made in the course of the surveyors’ peregrinations is noted. Now we are told that the clay of a deposit is adapted for brickmaking; that the ironstone of one district contains sixty-five per cent., and of another sixty-seven per cent, of ore; that the shales are valuable ; that the basalt has given samples of obsidian; that the reefs have produced certain yields of gold from a measured tliickness of stone, and that the gold in them is associated with otler minerals. We who, in Melbourne, have looked on the gold-fields as far removed from us, are here reminded that long ago as much as thirty ounces of gold to the ton of quartz were obtained from a reef near Templestowe, which has been worked out, and in which antimony was found associated with the gold. We are also brought back to the forgotten fact that still nearer to Melbourne, not far from Eltham, a vein of quartz was worked in the old dear times of crushing, which was two feet in thickness, and gave an average of an ounce to the ton. What is doing with that reef now 1 It is never heard of, and yet a quartz-vein of two feet wide, giving so fair a yield of gold, would be a very valuable property in these days. It is hard to believe that such a bed of gold exists within eight miles of Melbourne, and yet that want exists in our midst in the families of able bodied men ! The reefs and gold-workings in the

drift have been investigated with great care. The angles and dips, the peculiar forms, and the minerals the former contain, and the sources, courses, and character of the latter, are all duly given I cannot but regret, therefore, that so little Is known by the public generally of these most valuable maps. By the miner they should be carefully studied. He cannot measure their importance to him at a glance. They are in themselves a cyclopedia of information. They tell him where he may sink with a fair prospect of success, and they mark out other localities where his pains would be wasted, however fair the surface indications might be. By their help he can discover the sources of leads, and while the workings mark their courses, so far as they have been followed up, the maps will assist him in his speculations as to where those leads go, and where they should be sought for. To the agricultural settler, the vine-grower, and others whose industries are affected by the peculiarities of the soil and its aspect, they are also important, supplying information that could only be obtained otherwise by expensive journeys and local inquiries. It is right that the public should know that they owe these maps to five of the public servants—Mr. Selwyn (the cliief of the staff), and Messrs. C. T. H. Aplin, J. H. F. Ulrich, N. Taylor, and R. Daintree, its working members ; while Professor M‘Coy has given his aid to complete the rare mass of scientific knowledge embraced in them.

If the public and the members of the Legislative Assembly, who meagrely provide supplies for the survey, know little of the maps themselves, they know still less of the amount of self-abnegation and devotion to science which is involved in their production. In the neigh bourhood of the Chinese camp at Guildford I made the

discovery of how they are prepared, and it seemed to me like lighting on an oasis in a desert. There, in a little hut, on a green knoll above a pool that at one time was full of limpid water, but now is a mass of sludge baked hard and yellow in the sun, two members of the staff have resided for a long time past, engaged upon the survey of a part of the Castlemaine district. I had the pleasure of visiting them, and from their stores of information, freely thrown open, I derived much assistance in my subsequent inquiries. Had these been the old times of the black art, my mysterious scientific friends might have been in great danger. There was, to be sure, no stuffed alligator over the door of the den of these philosophers, such as we see in old prints of laboratories of the alchy-mists who dabbled in black-letter lore for the art of transmuting metals. When they walked in the sunshine they still cast their shadows behind them, and therefore it was clear they had not had dealings with the Father of Lies. They were strange men, nevertheless, for they spent their days in the woods, or in rambling over barren hills and deserted valleys, doing nothing but chipping off bits of rocks, and measuring the depth of soils and making hieroglyphics in little note-books about things that nobody would buy, in language that no plain man could understand. They were not in search of pastoral country, they were not speculators in land, and they neither bought nor used. They were on the gold-fields, but they did not dig. They descended shafts, and they looked at the washdirt, but they searched curiously about for little odd bits of stone and clay, and were strangely indifferent to the gold the drift contained. They fossicked about old workings, but they looked for red fragments of rock or yellow pebbles, or bits of rough cement, of no value to any one, and they went con-

tentedly home with wallets full of trash as valueless as fairy gold. Surely these men were near of kin to my Lord Dundreary and partook of the lunacy of Sam ! Then, again, at night, if you peered curiously through the uncurtained glass into their cave of magic, you would see them busy in profitless pursuits. They were not casting up accounts, or scheming how to make money. All round the walls you would see huge tomes, ancient and modern, full of a peculiar literature—all about stones, and clays, and gems, and ores, and crystals ; and the shelves would be found covered with the strangest assortment of bits of stones, like road-metal, unsaleable, and by no means pretty to look at as ornaments. You would see one of them with his blow-pipe puffing a dirty-looking bit of clay, embedded in charcoal, into bright white bead resembling silver, or with strange applications of chemicals converting some ugly stone into bright colours of crimson and blue. On the other side of a fire which cheerfully blazed and crackled to keep out the cold of this starry winter night, his brother in magic would be found concentrating his attention on some little object, brightly exposed under a microscope of great power, and drawing out strange secrets Madame Nature had vainly attempted to hide from his curious eye. And then, when the flames of the blow-pipe and the light of the microscope were extinguished, and cabalistic figures had been drawn and calculated, they would uncover their fetish,—a wliite sheet, securely fastened to the only table in the room, and concealed during the day by an ordinary cloth, on which from time to time meals were spread, for these beings lived by food like any other men—as if no mystery was concealed beneath. Here, over this sheet, they would pore for hours together, till the night merged into the morn-

ing, drawing strange lines and curves, that as they gradually grew into completeness, assumed a singular likeness to the district in the centre of which they dwelt, with all its hills and valleys, its plains, and streams, and chains of waterholes, and with all its geological secrets proved and printed in the blackest ink. Thus, indeed, was the information embodied in the geological maps gathered together and reduced to form. These apparently misanthropical beings, who took their pleasure in the solitude of the woods and plains, were the surveyors, and from their single-hearted devotion to science we have gained almost all the knowledge we possess of the formation of the land we live in. It is to be hoped, for many reasons, that greater liberality on the part of Parliament, and, perhaps, an improvement of the arrangements of the Survey Department, will enable the geologists to expedite their labours, and place the public as early as possible in possession of a completed geological map of the colony.

Chapter XXIX.

MINERALS AND METALS OTHER THAN GOLD.

Mining for gold has hitherto occupied almost exclusively the attention of the miners of this colony. It is only of late that capitalists have begun to look for investments in other descriptions of mining, and the first fruits of this widening spirit of enterprise have yet to be reaped. My visit to the gold-fields has satisfied me that they present almost unlimited scope for the employment of capital and labour in descriptions of mining new to

the colony, and that in this direction we may look for a large development of mining industry, and means of employment for a very numerous body of workmen and labourers. In previous chapters I have alluded to those unexplored, or recently found, mineral deposits ; and I shall do no more here than gather together a few notes, to show the variety of the metals and minerals the colony is known to contain, and the variety of manufactures to the introduction of which they are gradually leading.

It is no longer matter of doubt that valuable seams of coal are found in the colony, and that ere long we shall be independent both of England and the neighbouring colonies, as regards our supplies of coal for household and steam purposes. Every day’s experience proves the value of the Cape Paterson field, and widens the area within which coal is found. Lignite, the brown coal of the geologists, which belongs to the tertiary period, is found at Corduroy, in the Ballarat district, under the basalt. It is supposed to be widely distributed, and has been found at a depth of 190 feet, not far from Yandoit. The geologists are of opinion that this material will be found under the Great Western Plains, which stretch from Dunolly towards the South Australian border. Lignite is used in place of coal for many purposes, and the chemists will probably obtain from it some of the products now derived from “ Boghead coal” in the chemical works at Bathgate and Glasgow, as well as a variety of pigments. Of building stone of all kinds, from granite to sandstone, there is no lack ; and there is no reason to suppose, broken though the beds of sandstone often are, that, when better means exist of bringing heavy material of that kind to market, we shall be driven to other colonies for fit stone for our

public buildings. The granites of the Beechworth district, indeed, are of peculiar interest and value. Many of them are of fine colours, and quite soft, consisting mostly of felspar, and pecularly adapted for interior decorations. Some of the felspathic porphyries will, no doubt, be used hereafter in the arts, and, for some few purposes, the singular indurated breccias of the Heath-cote district. Of limestone the deposits hitherto discovered, with two exceptions, have been limited in extent. They are, for the most part, freshwater deposits of no great size ; but as the finding of new and more important veins of this mineral would be of the highest importance in connexion with the known deposits of iron ore, it is probable that more attention will hereafter be given to the search for this stone. The exceptions are in the district of the Snowy River—unfortunately inaccessible at present, for want of roads or means of water conveyance—where two great fields of limestone rock exist, probably not less than fifty or sixty miles in extent. As the geological survey proceeds, we may be made acquainted with numerous beds of limestone, and of varieties with which we are at present unacquainted, so far as the products of this colony are concerned. Marble, or altered limestone, we already possess. It is found at Geelong, on the seashore; and since I commenced this series of letters a local company has been formed to work the quarry and prepare the produce for market, either in blocks for shipment or in a manufactured form. A band of the same material is known to traverse the country in a broken line from Lake Connewarre to Station Peak. Along the line, in all probability, good marbles, tinted by the oxide of iron, will hereafter be found. All round the coast there are beds of tertiary limestone, and of

clay containing septaria, which yields an admirable cement. This septaria has already received attention, and in the neighbourhood of Schnapper Point extensive kilns have been erected for the purpose of manufacturing hydraulic and other cements. Within a few weeks the manufactured article has been placed upon the market; and as the tests of its value are highly satisfactory, and as it can be supplied at a price far below that of the imported article, it is probable that cement will now disappear from our list of articles of import, and add one more item to the small but increasing number of our exports. Selenite, or sulphate of lime (or sparry gypsum), is found in the greatest abundance all over the pastoral country of the Wimmera, and the Yarri-ambiuck. Plaster-of-paris made from this description of limestone is in extensive use all the world over; and if the raw material could be sent to the seaboard, or the prepared article manufactured and carted down at a reasonable cost, a considerable trade in it might arise. Bad roads, long carriage, and excessive rates of freight, however, will for a long time shut out these interesting deposits from trade. Aluminous schists, or alum stone, abound at MTvor, and in various parts of the colony, including Blackwood and some parts of the Sandhurst district. They closely resemble the rocks from whence alum is manufactured in Britain, and undoubtedly they could be used for the same purpose here. At home the aluminous earths are derived mostly from rocks of the oolitic and tertiary ages, but there is ground for the supposition that our Silurian schists are capable of yielding alum at least as plentifully, and of as good quality, as the European rocks. They are often found in connexion with, or in the close vicinity of, sulphate of iron ; and from the latter (and from the

iron pyrites contained in quartz) sulphuric acid will be manufactured when the colony has made some further advance in industrial enterprises. In some of. the quartz veins of the colony, such as the Wlup and Johnson Ileefs of Bendigo, those sulphurets absolutely abound in the stone. It is scarcely necessary to say that sulphuric acid is extensively used in dyeing and in manufactures. At present large quantities are manufactured at Newcastle, in New South Wales, and the importations to tliis colony are considerable. There are no good reasons why we should not manufacture it ourselves, and I am glad to notice that a manufactory for the purpose has been established in Melbourne, and is about to commence operations. Salt is already manufactured from the waters of Lake Boga and other salt lakes, and various chemicals might be produced from the combination of salts and acids, were this branch of labour followed up energetically. In its clays, also, the colony possesses a vast source of wealth, of which little use has hitherto been made. Fire-clay is found in more or less abundance over 3,000 square miles of territory occupied by the carboniferous rocks. It is usually composed much as follows :—Silica, 55 00 ; alumina, 30-00 ; oxide of iron, 2-00 ; magnesia, l’OO ; water, &c., 12-00—total, 100. When iron is in excess, the clay becomes unfit for lining furnaces, and for making crucibles and other similar purposes. Samples have been obtained, however, in which there is not a trace of iron, while the commoner kinds will be of extensive use in after times in the reduction of iron ores, the making of castings, &c. The kaolin of Bulla Bulla I have dealt with in a previous chapter. I have samples of one of the finest porcelain clays ever produced. It was obtained in the neighbourhood of Dunolly where it exists in considerable beds—

deposits from an ancient range of granitic mountains washed down centuries ago to the low but not unpicturesque belt of mountain to which the name of Mount Ugly (originally Hooghly) has been given. It was analyzed carefully in the department of the geological surveyor, and ascertained to be composed of three elements only, in the following proportions:—Silica, 45'478, alumina 40'880, water 13’669. The analyst remarks—“ It is a very pure silicate of alumina, 'or china clay, and quite equal in quality to the Devonshire Kaolin, after preparation. There is not the slightest trace of iron in it. If it can be procured in large quantities, and similar in quality, it could be cut out in blocks and sent to market without any further preparation.” Here, again, however, the question of carriage intervenes, and for a time mars a fair enterprise. That these Dunolly deposits of porcelain clay will hereafter become valuable, there is no doubt, if for exportation only; and one of the fairest of all fields presents itself there now for the settlement of the potter and the growth of a native type of ceramic ware. Here is a material such as China itself scarcely affords, and pure beyond anything known in England. We want but the skill of the artist at the potter’s wheel to fashion it into shape, and design and colour it, and surely that skill will yet be found ! To this field, the ingenuity of some of our Glunese visitors might be directed, and from their hands we might obtain china, matching if not surpassing the splendid pottery of China and Japan. Similar clays, coloured variously, however, are found in Sandhurst. In the same district, a magnesian clay has been found, and a small deposit of the same material has been reported by the Government geologists as existing near Guildford. In previous letters I have stated that valu-

able beds of slate exist in Bendigo, Heathcote, and Maldon districts.

Of the metals other than gold, and the rarer minerals, that are found on some of the gold-fields, I have made some mention. Already the silver veins of St. Arnaud have received considerable attention. Large tracts of land have been applied for on lease for the purpose of mining on the argentiferous reefs, and it has lately been stated that silver, in the state of an oxide, has been obtained there, as well as in the form of a chloro-bromide, in which it first attracted attention. Bismuth has also been obtained in the same district. The antimony mines of MTvor have attracted still greater attention since I visited them, and as the sulphuret of antimony exists in Whroo, in Maldon, and elsewhere, it is probable that a considerable export trade will hereafter be done in this mineral. Without entering on a controversy as to the value of this material with some of my critics, who are extremely alarmed lest capitalists should be betrayed into a losing speculation by my sanguine views on this matter, I may state that I have had placed in my hands account sales of the M'lvor sulphuret of antimony, sold in the London market, and that the price it brought there was 12l. 10s. per ton. It was not bought for the gold it contained—for an analysis showed that it contained none. When the liberal allowance of 31. per ton is made for carnage to Melbourne, '21. per ton freight from Hobson’s Bay to London (and the wool ships will carry it as dead weight for 8s. or 10s. per ton), and after all the usual charges and commissions are allowed, the sale left the ore worth 61. 15s. per ton at the shaft’s mouth, while the cost of raising it certainly did not exceed 10s. The same merchant’s advices stated that the sales of antimony in the London market had risen

from 200 tons per annum six years ago, to 1,200 tons in 1861, and that the demand was constantly on the increase. When speaking of this ore in a former chapter, I remarked that it consisted of an auriferous and a non-auriferous sulphuret of antimony. Mining for the latter will be profitable in itself, though the returns will be less easily realized than those of goldmining. Digging in a vein of auriferous antimony is precisely like quartz-mining, with this advantage to the former, that the whole of the material is valuable that in quartz-mining would be waste, and that the gold, in fact, is left as the free profit, all the expenses of the mine being covered by the less valuable product. Another industry may arise hereafter in the refining of nonauriferous ore of antimony. In its refined state it is sold in London at Is. 9d. per lb., and it has been disposed of in Melbourne at from 10s. to 18s. per lb. A sample of zinc has been obtained in the district of Daylesford, and one from the basalt, near Brunswick, was exhibited in the Victorian department of the Great Exhibition. Dr. Phipson, F.G.S., lecturing in London on the minerals in the Victorian department, remarked :— “ I am led to believe that when the furore of golddigging is past, valuable zinc mines will be discovered.” Samples of native copper have lately been obtained on the Dandenong range; and a lease of lands for mining for copper there is about to be applied for. A specimen of a mineral, said to be zinc and gold combined in quartz, was lately presented to me by a well-known metallurgist. I had it analyzed, when it was found to be wolfsburgite, or copper, antimony, and other metals combined with gold, and it exhibited a per centage of copper large enough to pay a profit if the vein of quartz containing it should be found to be large. I need not

remind the reader of the abundance of stream tin found in the Ovens district, but I may state that titaniferous ore has lately been obtained in tributaries of the Yarra, having their sources in the Dandenongs. Iron ores abound in all parts of the colony, both in the form of deposits, and in reefs similar to the veins of quartz. This ore is of all kinds and qualities, and must in time form a most important element of wealth to the colony, furnishing, as it will do, employment for large bodies of men in its conversion into metal, and that metal again into articles of merchandise. A specimen of chrome iron ore was also exhibited in the Victorian Department of the Exhibition, obtained, I believe, at the source of the Werribee. Plumbago has been found at or near Mount Blackwood ; and specimens of numerous minerals of less value, but of considerable interest and importance in an industrial sense, have been discovered from time to time. Black schorl, or tourmaline, has been found at Wilson’s Promontory, and in the granites of the Ovens district. Brown tourmaline has been observed in the neighbouring colony, and it is probable that both the blue and the brown tourmaline (valuable for optical purposes) will be got from the drifts of the schorly granites of the Ovens. Nephrite, or jade, is used by the aboriginals to make hatchets, and may be turned to account in the manufacture of ornaments by future artizans of the colony. Topazes, fit for optical purposes, have been found in the district of Ararat, and elsewhere ; and corundum has been found near Franklinford. Diamonds have been obtained at the Ovens and Jim Crow, and it is stated that several have been picked up on the sands of Portland, one of which was sold lately in Europe for £40. Dunolly has furnished some splendid blue topazes. In the Pyrenees, some fine beryls have been picked up, and

rubies, garnets, sapphires, and zircons—some of them of good colour and lustre, though small—have been got in the tin ore and black sand of the Ovens, Gipps Land, the Dandenongs, &c. Small rabies and sapphires have been picked up on the beach at Schnapper Point, and topazes in the gravel near Balaclava, in the suburbs of Melbourne. Amethysts are rare, and emeralds have not yet been discovered in the colony. Crystals of quartz abound in the Ovens, and jaspers of strangely variegated hues, and chalcedony and agates have been picked up on the Emerald diggings, in Dandenong.

In various directions, apart from mining, in the course of my tour, I found the ingenious at work. At Ballarat the distillation of pyroligneous acid from wood was attracting some little attention. At Sandhurst, Mr. Josephs, an analytical chemist, had patented a new method of preserving meat, and was devoting himself to the completion of plans by which the waste of material in boiling down cattle would be obviated. The numerous applications for grants of land for special industries, under the 47th clause of the Land Act of 1862, almost all of which apply to the gold-fields, show that in other directions the people are preparing for new occupations, and labours of a permanent and less capriciously-remunerated kind than gold-digging. Assuredly the conclusion to which I came was, that the sources of new industries were many and varied, and that to bring them into full operation, not time only, but a very large accession to the capital as well as the population of the colony would be required. Surveying the raw material so largely offered, it was impossible for me to suppose that the largest immigration for which we can hope would do more than- commence a work the end of which lies beyond centuries yet to come.

Chapter XXX.

MINING AND MINERS.

There may be some amongst us whose experience of the gold-fields dates back to a period before the discovery that veins of quartz are the matrix of gold, and who know what quartz-reefing is only by description. It is not probable, however, that there is in Victoria any colonist who has been on shore long enough to recover possession of his “ land legs,” whose curiosity has not made him acquainted with some alluvial field. The letter I am about to write, therefore, on mining and miners, is addressed to readers at a distance, to whom the terms in use amongst miners, and the various ways in which mining for gold is prosecuted, may have a speoial interest.

Gold-mining divides itself primarily into three kinds —alluvial, deep-sinking, and quartz ; and to the former only the term “ digging,” and to those whom it engages the name of “ digger,” can be applied. The earliest diggers followed the courses of streams from the auriferous hills through the valleys—here called gullies—into the larger creeks or flats, where the leads were lost, or, if found, extensive “ diggings” were developed, and towns of canvas and wood rapidly sprang up, to be pulled down and carted away again to some other new “ rush ”—hotels, theatres, billiard-saloons, dancing-halls, dairies, boardinghouses, &c., <fec., rising in a night, and disappearing again as rapidly as Jonah’s gourd. In these valleys the sinking varied from one or two to many feet, and to reach the washdirt containing the gold—composed of the debris of ancient quartz veins, slate and gravel—embedded

under accumulations of soil, the produce of the changes of centuries on the earth’s surface, holes were sunk in shape and size to suit the whim of the “digger,” or party of “ mates ” who sank it. The experienced European digger generally excavated a large round hole, like a well-hole, in which he had freedom to move his arms and legs in the use of his spade. The Chinese prefer a diminutive oval hole ; and some of the new chums,” to whom the adventure was entirely novel, “put down” round holes, the smallness of which is a marvel. The bottom, or bed rock, beyond which the digger knows he need not sink, is slate. A species of white pipe-clay or cement above, or mixed with the washdirt, is considered a promising symptom, and a clayey wash-dirt is preferred to gravel, as the clay has been more retentive of the gold. The hole “ bottomed ” on the wash-dirt, or the seat of gold reached by the means of drives from the bottom of the hole or shaft, the whole of the gravel-drift is carefully dug out, and drawn to the surface by means of a windlass and bucket, or bag. In some cases as much as nine or ten feet of washdirt has been found, and in others only a few inches, fining out to a thin thread, and then disappearing, as if it had been the by-wash of some ancient stream, or the limit of some storm overflow. The gold contained in this “ dirt ” is either scaly, that is to say, in fine thin small sheets, as if beaten by the hammers of the genii of the reefs, or “ shotty ”—a term applied to gold in small round pieces, as if the angles had been rubbed off in the passage down the -watercourses, and nuggets flat or round, but almost worn smooth by the action of the water in which it has been rolled. The washdirt once on the surface, the process of separating the precious metal from the valueless material in which it is hidden begins. If the quantity

p

of dirt is very small and rich, or if a “ prospect ” is to be triecfto ascertain the probable yield, “ panning off” suffices. The stuff is placed in a round pan of block tin, with sufficient water to soften the clay or earth. The digger vigorously shakes the pan in a manner which permits the water to flow off as it becomes charged with clay or earth, and he refills it in the stream or dam of water without permitting any of the solid contents to escape. By slow degrees the whole of the earth and clay is washed away, the stones are removed by hand, bits of iron ore are attracted by a magnet drawn through and through the contents of the pan, and at last only the gold is left, shining bright on the bottom, scaly or shotty, and perhaps mixed with small rubies, sapphires, garnets, and zircons, and now and then a diamond. The contents are then secured in a match-box—the savings’ bank of the miner in the first days of the gold-fields— and the business of gold-selling tak's place on the Saturday half-holiday, when the spoil is divided among the party in the claim. After the pan, when the quantity of wash dirt is greater, comes the “ cradle,” so called from the rocking motion given to it to separate the gold from the stones and clay. This is a small instrument, capable of being rocked with one hand, while it is fed with water with the other. The top part, or hopper, is bottomed with iron, perforated with numerous holes. Into this the washdirt is placed, water is poured on from time to time, and a vigorous shaking speedily separates the gold and the smaller stones from the larger, the former falling down through the perforated plates, the clay and earth passing away on the water, and the gold and small stones falling upon an angled floor, furnished with cross-bars of wood, which catch and retain the gold. tVhen all the stuff that will pass through the

holes is washed down, ths hopper is lifted, the larger stones thrown out, and the supply of washdirt renewed. Thus the operation proceeds from morning till night, or the supply of washdirt runs out, when the gold is picked up from before the bars of wood, or washed off, as already described, orobtaiued from the quicksilver disposed in ripples in a species of cradle known as the “ quicksilver cradle,” by retorting the mercury in the usual maimer. Where the washdirt abounds in clay, it is “ puddled ” in a tub before being cradled.” This operation is simply working the clayey dirt in water, in a common tub, with a shovel, until the clay has been thoroughly dissolved, and the gold it contained loosened from it. Where the quantity of washdirt is too large to be passed through the cradle, the “ long tom ” comes into play. This is a long box, in two parts—an upper and a lower floor. It is placed at an angle, convenient to a river or dam, from whence a considerable stream of water can be pumped into it. At the lower end, the angle of the tom is reversed, and here an iron perforated plate is fixed. The washdirt is thrown on the head of the tom, water is pumped on, and one or two men stand by with long rake-like instruments, with which they shake up the dirt, the water sweeping away the finer particles of earth, the smaller stones, and the gold, down through the perforations, and washing away almost all but the gold, which is deposited before the bars placed across the lower floor of the long tom. On this floor the blankets are fixed, the fibres of the wool greatly contributing to the capture of the gold. The large stones are accumulated above the iron-plate, on the reversed angle of the tom, and as the washer removes them with a pronged shovel or fork, he keeps a sharp eye on them lest he should throw away a considerable nugget amongst the mass—

a mischance that has often happened. When the operations of the day are about to close, the lower floor of the tom is uncovered, the bars and blankets are carefully lifted and washed in buckets; the whole of the produce—gold, nodules of iron, crystal, and the heavier stones that have remained on the blankets,—is then transferred to the pan and carefully washed off. To the “ long tom ” the puddling mill succeeded, where the extent of washdirt is still larger, or the quantity of clay to be dissolved is in excess. The puddler’s mill is a very simple contrivance. He first secures a considerable supply of water on one side of the site he has selected, and a fall for it to pass away into a sludge channel on the other. He then digs a sort of ditch, in a circular form, about two feet deep, and three or four feet wide, and lines the sides and floor with closely-fitting wood. Into this chamber he fits a couple of teethed separators, like harrows, or horse-grubbers, and these he attaches to a shaft working on a pivot in the centre. He next builds a path all round for his horse, and having made a conduit for the water, which he pumps from the dam into the mill from time to time, on the one side, and a sluice on the other, by which he can regulate at his pleasure the discharge of the liquid mud, the mill is complete. The washdirt is then carted, and when several loads have been deposited in the mill, and a sufficiency of water pumped in, the horse is set on his melancholy walk round and round, and the separators, crossing again and again the heaps of dirt, soon tear them up and liquify the mud, wash the stones, and let the gold drop to the bottom of the mill. Thus the process goes on, perhaps for a week, when the water is let off, the larger refuse shovelled up and carted away, and the gold lifted from the bottom, or washed out from

the dirt by the long tom, the cradle, and the pan. Puddling is laborious work, both for man and horse. The puddler works from light till dark in the longest days, but he is seldom unsuccessful, and instances have been quoted in which his industry has been largely rewarded. This, then, is the manner in which the gold •is obtained from such alluvial fields as Forest Creek and Kangaroo Flat, and by which some enormous “piles,” —as fortunes of fair amount are designated by the diggers,—have been accumulated by hard-working and saving miners, and by which good wages can still be •earned on the older alluvial gold-fields of Victoria in the eleventh year after their discovery. Those who prosecute it are known by various distinguishing appellatives. The fossicker ” is one who wanders about old •diggings, armed with a knife and pan, and who seldom sinks or drives, but “ fossicks ” or searches about the old heaps of dirt, or in the bottoms of deserted shafts and ■drives, keen-eyed after unobserved gold With his knife he picks out shining particles of the precious metal, and with his pan washes out gold from imperfectly puddled dirt, too hastily dealt with by the original owner of the hole. To this class we owe some famous discoveries, such as the 300 oz. nugget described in one of my letters upon the Sandhurst district. The “hatter” is a solitary man who disdains the company of mates,” and with his own tub and cradle works for his own hand wherever his fancy leads him. He affects shallow ground, and often on such fields as Bendigo Flat he finds a little yellow harvest in digging out old walls between old claims, and grubbing up bits of washdirt that have escaped attention, or in the golden days of that famous field were regarded as too poor to repay the trouble of washing. The ordinary digger ” works in

pariies, the numbers of which vary according to the depth or difficulty of the ground, or the extent of the claim which they desire to hold, the ground which a party can take up depending on the number of miners’ rights represented in it, and the bye-laws of the district. The “ puddler ” I have already sketched. The “ shepherd ” is one who marks off a claim on the supposed site of a lead or reef, and watches it while another party are bottoming,” doing only the minimum of work requisite to secure his right to the ground, and who only proceeds to sink when his neighbour is successful, abandoning his claim without a trial if those near him should prove “ duffers ”—that is to say, unfurni-hed with gold. The tunneller ” follows his branch of the business by driving under the basalt, in districts such as Dayles-ford and Guildford, propping the ground above him, where necessary, and sweeping out the washdirt bodily in waggons set upon rails—much as the limestone rocks of Kyle and Garrick are worked. The “sluicer” is only to be found in the Ovens district, and in the valleys of the Dividing Range stretching eastwards along the northern boundary of Gipps Land. It is his business to cut long races for water-supply from the rivers, and then to wash down before him the auriferous hills, after the manner of mining in California, 'i he “ pad-docker ” is another class of the alluvial diggers. The system was introduced by the Chinese, and is followed by them almost exclusively, as it involves an amount of labour and patient perseverance which few European diggers can bring themselves to undergo. It consists simply of removing the whole of the superincumbent soil, digging out the washdirt down to the bed-rock in the open face of day, and then carrying back the earth and refilling the paddock. A party of Chinamen will

*' set In ” in this manner to strip the soil from an extent of ground which would scarcely be credited by those who have not seen them at work, and will carry the soil in buckets suspended from a bamboo pole placed across their shoulders with an endurance of toil even a navvy would envy. As many as thirty or forty will thus labour together in one party, some digging, some pumping, some bailing with an ingenious swing of the bucket, some scraping up the wash-dirt, some washing-up, and some refilling the excavation, but all patient and silent if the returns are poor, and merry and chattering if the adventure is a golden one.

The second description of mining for gold to which I have alluded, is deep-sinking. It is a form of golddigging which requires co operation on a large scale, and is seen in its perfection at Ballarat, and at the liocky 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 known as “ furnishers,” who are now disappearing from the older fields. They furnished the machinery, or portions of it, receiving in exchange a certain interest in the company, and hence their name.

Quartz-mining is carried on much as copper and tin mining is conducted in Cornwall, and iron-mining and coal-getting in Wales. It is becoming one of the great

interests of the colony, and will be hereafter to Victoria what coal-mining is to England. “ Reefing,’’ as it is called is followed both by small parties of miners, and by large companies. If the vein is a surface one, it is opened up much as a quarry is opened ; but as in by far the greatest number of cases the reefs are thin, irregular in form, and seldom perpendicular, the workings vary with the changes of the vein. As a general rule, the quartz is followed and picked out bodily from between the walls of slate or sandstone, the rock being kept in its position by the introduction of masses of heavy timber, or by bodies of the stone. Where these are rich, however, nothing is left, and it often happens that the immense weight of the leaning rock snaps the heaviest timber, and the walls of the mine come together. The larger companies make their shafts and drives, and mine their stone, precisely as the colliers of England do. Bags made of ox-hide are used to raise the quartz to the surface, and after the stone has been calcined in opened kilns when it contains arsenic in large quantities, it is carried to the quartz-crushing mill, where the separation of the gold takes place. Whether the stone is crushed for small parties of miners, or for the company itself, the process is the same. In a previous chapter I have described various systems followed to save the gold in the stone, and in what follows I shall sketch one of the most effective of those systems. In a quartz-mill the stone is reduced almost as fine as flour, by means of stamps, such as are employed to reduce the tin ores of Cornwall. They are arranged in batteries of four, five, and six heads, driven by steam, the stamps being lifted by means of discs on a cam, so arranged as to make the stamps revolve. They work in iron boxes, with false moveable bottoms, the stone passing in on one side by a slide—fed by the weight of

the stone, or by a feeder, whose ear detects, by the peculiar sound of the blow, when more quartz must be thrown in. On the other side of the box is fixed an iron grating, perforated with about one hundred and eighty holes to the square inch, and through this grating the crushed quartz is thrown on a ripple table, spread out in front, over which the whole of the crushed material passes, carried down by warm water let into the stnmp'-boxes, and in which the quartz is reduced. In the stamp-boxes a small quantity of mercury is placed, and in grooves in the ripple-tables more quicksilver lies, into which the gold drops as it passes, such as escapes passing over silvered copper-plates between the ripples, and being caught by the mercury on them. Abundance of quartz having been brought up, the work commences, and proceeds night and day, the men employed succeeding each other in shifts of twelve hours, and a battery of twelve head of stamps reducing from one hundred and fifty to two hundred tons of stone per week, according to the hardness of the material and the weight of the stamps The stone all passed through the mill, washing off takes place, and, if the crushing is for a party of miners, one or more of their number usually remains in the mill during the whole process of reduction and washing, sometimes making his bed on the cover of the ripple-tables, that no quicksilver may be removed for sake oi the gold contained in it. The stamp-box opened, the false bottoms are removed and washed in a bucket, and the mercury and fragments of quartz carefully lifted out with small scoops. The ripples are cleaned of their quicksilver in the same way, and the copper-plates carefully washed down. The whole of the mercury having thus been collected and washed out from the quartz taken from the stamp box, it is either retorted at once, or

the amalgam ” is taken from it only. By the latter method, the quicksilver is lifted in some pounds’ weight at a time, and placed in a clean porous chamois leather cloth. The ball it forms is squeezed with a muscular hand, and the thin fluid oozes in small white beads through the skin, falling into a bucket placed below. More quicksilver is added from time to time, and squeezed, until the whole has passed through, leaving in the cloth a heavy white mass, called the amalgam,” varying in size according to the quantity and richness of the stone crushed. The “ amalgam ” is the gold coated and mixed with quicksilver, and contains more or less of the precious metal, according as the gold is “ fine ” or “ coarse ”—that is, minutely disseminated through the stone, or occurring in it in large pieces or in small “ nuggets ” or masses. The amalgam is then covered in the retort, which is placed in a good charcoal fire, and the mouth of the pipe led into water. A few minutes of the heat suffices to drive the mercury from the gold in the form of a vapour, which passes through the pipe and is condensed in the water, leaving the red gold in the retort in a discoloured, strange-looking mass, which an easy process afterwards refines into the yellow gold so eagerly sought after in civilized life. There is nothing more to do but carry it to the scales. Purchasers are ready on all hands, some of the mills readily giving from ¿£3 17s. Gd. to £3 18s. 6d. per ounce for all the gold obtained from the stone they crush. The whole process is extremely interesting to a stranger, whose ears are not deafened by the heavy monotonous beat of the stamps, and who can watch with unshaken nerves the action of the hungry iron giants, whose cravings for more food are insatiable. There is no prettier picture to be foul d on the gold-fields than a neatly-arranged

quartz-mill, nestled by its sheets of water, under the shelter of the evergreen forest, with its white steam escaping, and evidences of life and labour around it. Numerous as these mills are, they must largely increase before the wants of the miners are satisfied, and all the known auriferous reefs of the colony are made to contribute to the annual yield of gold. There is in this direction an opening for capital to an unlimited extent, and of employment for tens of thousands of miners and labourers. No immigration we are ever likely to see can exhaust it. No prediction can be ventured of the extent to which the production of gold may be carried by it in years to come, or place a limit on the continuation of that yield. The alluvial land, hundreds of miles of which are still unopened, may be exhausted; but our quartz mines promise to furnish to Victoria as lasting a source of wealth as the tin mines of Cornwall have been to England.

Chaptkr XXXI.

CONCLUSION.

It was my intention to reply in detail in this, my last letter on the gold-fields, to such hostile criticisms as my communications have provoked. When I review the various objections that have been raised to my statements and views, however, I find they reduce themselves to such small proportions and unimportance as scarcely to call for answer. Some of them I have already sufficiently noticed, and a word or two will suffice for the remainder. It was not my purpose to write the history of any go'd-field, with strict regard to the order in

which lead after lead, and reef after reef, was found, or to index the progress of discovery after the manner of the author of the House that Jack Built. My wish was to present as graphic a picture of the various gold-fields I visited as space permitted, avoiding the prolixity that close observance to dates and unnecessary details would have led me into. Suffering no local jealousies to colour my impressions, 1 believe my sketch of Ballarat was as fair as that of Sandhurst. A t Geelong, I have been accused of “enthusiasm.” I should have thought myself unworthy of my mission, if, after seeing what I have seen, I could have doubted the future of the colony. I have found gold-field after gold-field still unexhausted, and miles upon milts of aurif. rous land still untouched in every mining district; I have seen, wherever I have gone, the raw materials of new industries in great variety and abundance ; and I should have betrayed the trust reposed in me if I kept my eyes fixed on the ground, and failed to lift my mind to the things that are yet to be. I acquit the gentlemen whom I met on the gold-fields from exhibiting a wish to “ cram” me, or bias my views. Their stores of information where freely thrown open, and where verification was required it was easily obtained. A stray speculator did now and then turn up, who had a little game of his own to make. But the creature was easily recognized, and as easily avoided. None of my figures have been challenged, and I may adduce the fact to prove that I have not suffered myself to be betrayed, either by my own enthusiasm, or the strong imaginations of others. It is true that one or two of the journals have dissented fiom my estimate of the value of the recent discoveries of antimony in the district of MTvor. To discuss that question again, however, would be labour lost. My proposition is sim-

pie enough, and I am content lo await the verdict of time upon it. It is this : that our sulphurets of antimony are richer than those of Borneo ; that our mines are as well-situated with regard to the European market ; that when it is known to the manufacturers of Sheffield and Birmingham that very large supplies of antimony can be assured to them, at a price and of a quality which give the article the characteristics of a new material, we shall see it come extensively into use as a substitute for lead and zinc, which are much dearer ; and that thus a market can be created which may become of considerable importance to this colony. Beyond this I have not gone, and nothing has yet been adduced by those who differ from my views to shake my confidence in my opinion.

I shall now proceed to summarize briefly the results of my observations on the gold-fields. The older diggings where chosen for examination, because there the condition of the miner could be best ascertained ; their prospects would best assure us as to the future, if they were hopeful; and there only could the causes of the failure of so many of the public companies formed to mine quartz, or wash the alluvial on a large scale, be investigated. If, in the eleventh year after the discovery of gold in Victoria, those fields were still found unexhausted, and capable of supporting a large population— if they offered fair prospects of remunerative labour for years to come—it would only be necessary to glance over the map of the colony, and trace the wide range of lands over which new gold-fields have lately been discovered, to become convinced of the permanency of the resources of the colony, and its desirability ns a place of settlement, not only for those who are already in it, but for the many whom we are inviting to come

amongst us and share its fortunes. On the first of the subjects that engaged my attention — the condition of the miner—I returned with satisfactory impressions. I found the necessaries of life everywhere abundant and cheap ; while the wages of hired Europeans nowhere fell below 50s. per week, and rose higher, according to the skill of the individual, or the more trying nature of the work he performed. It was impossible to ascertain the average earnings of miners working in their own claims, whether in alluvial or quartz ; but I found that nowhere would men, untrammelled by family ties, consent to work for “ a living,’’ or “ tucker,” as they term it. Whenever a claim fallsbelow “ wages” it is abandoned, and thus such fields as Burnt Creek have been given up long before their treasures have been exhausted, the attractions of new rushes drawing away almost the entire population of such a digging as that alluded to for the chances of those brilliant “ finds” which sometimes turn up in new ground. I found the symptoms of permanent settlement, however, increasing on the oldest gold-fields. Families were springing up round the diggers, and in the houses which they have built, and the gardens they have cultivated, there was a measure of comfort which it was pleasant to see. The current rate of wages may be accepted as giving some evidence of the minimum earnings of those who work their own claims, and the comparative comfort it procures for those who husband their means with common prudence and forethought may be estimated when the sum is compared with the wages of labouring men and mechanics at home, and it is remembered that the difference in price of the necessaries of life is not disadvantageous to the colony, while the digger pays no rent and no rates of any kind beyond his annual fee of ¿£1 for his miner’s right. Why so many

public companies bave failed to realize the expectations formed regarding them was easy to ascertain. Some few were audacious swindles in the beginning, but many oihers fell into ruin, or drag on in a hard struggle for life, through the grossest mismanagement from first to last. It is impossible to overstate the ignorance and folly exhibited in the conduct of many of these companies, or the frightful cupidity that marked their course. Scarcely one of them would have failed to realize some at least of the expectations of those who embarked their money in them, had common prudence been shown. There are brilliant examples to be found of what spirited, intelligent, and honest management may do ; and what has been done at Clunes and Ballarat may be accomplished in every other mining district of the colony. Capital can find in all of them abundant sources of profitable investment, under good management, and there is no limit to the extent to which it may be successfully employed, whether on a large or a small scale, on the quartz-reefs.

I found on the older gold-fields much that was reassuring. It is true that the yield of gold is less now than it was some years ago. The richest gold-fields yet known were discovered almost simultaneously, and soon after the first proclamation of the auriferous character of i he soil of Victoria. They were wonderfully productive, and instances are recorded in which the miners, apprehensive of a fall in the value of the precious metal from a glut of the market—so large to them seemed the supplies in their hands—hastened down to Melbourne, and sold their gold for little more than half its value, shrewdly suspecting that they had ruined the Israelitish purchasers by the transaction. Gold is won now by greater labour, and the supply is maintained to a large

extent by the produce of the deep leads and quartz-reefs. It is not likely, therefore, to diminish much in future years, if it does not increase as capital is invested in machinery, and reefs and leads are worked more systematically by public companies, and not by the capricious labour of the individual miner. I found the old worked and reworked ground still affording sustenance, and an occasional priz ’, to those who clung to it. I found reefing extending, and a general conviction that the passage of the Drainage Bill had cleared the way for the resumption of labour on lines of important reefs where work had long been suspended. Day by day discoveries were taking place of more auriferous quartz, and improvements were being made in machinery and appliances for saving gold which gave value to poor reefs previously thought worthless, and thus added immeasurable quantities of stone to the amount reducible with a profit in the quartz mills. Field was adding to field ground previously thought not golden, and the bounds of the auriferous land were everywhere encroaching with rapid strides on that previously supposed to be purely pastoral or agricultural. Deep under the bluestone in Talbot, Ararat, Faylesford, Guildford, Tavadale, and other localities — in lands on which the shepherd smoked his pipe in peace, unsuspicious of the presence of gold under his feet, even after the experience of half a score of years of a gold country —I found the miner following up runs of gold, in the beds of ancient rivers and brooks, and perplexed only by the extent of the prospect opened up to him by this discovery, showing as it did that surface indications were here utterly at fault, and that under every basalt-covered plain or valley in the colony the miner of centuries yet to come may find work to do. But I found

on the older gold-fields the elements of other industries than gold-mining. They possess the raw materials— with the exception of coal—for more than all the industries known to Britain depending on a supply of minerals. What these are I have already fully described, and I need not repeat the tale. When I add to those considerations the knowledge that the gold-workings are extending far beyond the bounds of the old fields, and that the geologist and the mineralogist have yet to commence their labours on many of those old fields, and in all these new ones, I own I am profoundly impressed with the magnitude of our resources. I have barely alluded in my sketches to the large and important portion of the colony embraced in the Ovens district. I am well aware that it is one of the most important divisions of the colony, and that when its reefs are better developed, and it is made more accessible by roads and railways, it will contribute very largely to the yield of gold. As an alluvial district it is far from exhausted, and reefing has barely made a commencement. Its tin ores have created a special industry in it, and the extent to which this description of mining may be followed in our own Cornwall is as yet beyond conjecture. In Gipps Land, again, we see a new mining district putting forth pretensions of rivalry with the best of the older fields. The Jordan claims to be a smaller Bendigo, and so rapid is the progress of the prospector, that gold-field after gold-field, on both slopes of the Dividing Range, are added with surprising rapidity to the long list of which we are already in possession. The area of Gipps Land is equal to that central portion of the colony which embraces all the older gold-fields, and it is necessary to keep that fact in mind to appreciate the full significance of the discoveries now in progress there. The picture grows

in breadth and importance, and its colours warm, the more it is dwelt upon. I will only add that nearly 600 square miles of land are mined upon, that 1,302 auriferous quartz-reefs are marked upon the mining maps, and that the approximate value of the existing mining plant is a million and a half sterling. These figures are the results of ten years of labour, and in them there is a world of matter.

I have already recorded the conclusions at which I have arrived as to the requirements of the gold-fields. Water-supply is the most pressing necessity of some of them. Capital is almost everywhere wanted to develope mines, and supply crushing machinery. Primitive attempts to provide the latter in some districts exhibit the urgency of the case. Co-operative efforts would do much where individual labour fails ; and a vast increase of the population by immigration might take place wiihout affecting the labour market in the slightest degree, if extensive investments of capital were made simultaneously. Money and men—these are the main requirements of the gold-fields. Much, however, is within the power of the Government and Parliament. Amended laws, a politically headed and extensively enlarged mining department, the abolition of the existing local legislatures and the substitution of an annual council, the codification of the laws and bye-laws, and the adoption of one general code of mining regulations, would go far to encourage mining industry into a healthy de. velopment.

The attention the gold-fields have received lately has already had a beneficial influence. I notice with some pleasure a renewal of confidence in mining companies, the extension of mining enterprise in other directions than gold-working, and the organization of prospecting

parties in promising localities where a spirit of despondency had been induced by slow returns from costly adventures. These are the first results of an unprejudiced inquiry into the state and prospects of the goldfields, and I am free to confess my firm belief that the more the native resources of the colony are investigated, the more firm will that confidence become. If these letters should have the effect of stimulating inquiiy, The Argus will have no reason to regret the mission on which I have been engaged ; for the better our resources are known the more .attractive will the colony become. And with the hope that my exposition of the wants of the gold fields may procure for them some of the amendments of the laws and regulations affecting them, and of the system by which their affairs are regulated, I conclude a labour of love in my mission to the Gold-Fields.

fPihon and MacKinnon, Printer's, CoUins-strcct East, Melbourne.’
















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1

Among the earliest discoverers of gold-fields in Victoria.

2

Since this letter was published in the Argus (August, 1862), gold has been got in these claims.

3

Since this letter was published in the Argus numerous leases have been applied for by Melbourne and local capitalists, for the purpose of mining for silver.

4

Since this sentence was written, another patch of golden quartz has been discovered in the stone of this reef.

5

Convicts.

6

The works have since been burned down.

7

Since this chapter was written, the erection of new machinery has been commenced by the owners of the reef.

8

This has been done.

t It has since been found that this reported discovery was the result of a practical joke.

9

Mr. Ireland has since introduced a bill to amend the act which bears his name.