Newspapers and journals: The Sydney Morning Herald, 1851


THE DIGGINGS.-You have lately received so much intelligence from various correspondents respecting the gold diggings, that I fear yourselves, as well as the public, must be almost tired of the subject, the more particularly as the accounts, taken altogether, must convince the most sceptical that digging hard, and enduring very great privations, will ensure to comparatively speaking, but few persons, a reward adequate to the sacrifices they are in most cases called upon to make. As, however, the subject is one of considerable interest, not only to this colony, but I may also say to the world at large, I shall still continue to trouble you from time to time with such little items of intelligence as my rather circumscribed opportunities of observation afford me. From the Ophir diggings, I find the people have been gradually melting away, like snow acted upon by the powerful rays of the sun, and I am very doubtful whether three hundred licenses will be taken out by diggers actually working there for the present month of July. I am informed by a credible witness who left there on Thursday, that the number on the creek certainly does not exceed from one thousand to twelve hundred. Every day small parties are leaving for Bathurst, and others are crossing the Macquarie for the Turon, which locality they can reach in about fifteen miles over a rugged and mountainous country, hardly passable for a horseman. The incoming stream to Ophir has almost entirely ceased-in fact, my informant did not meet one party on the road during the whole of the day occupied by him in travelling into Bathurst. The water has subsided considerably since my last, but mining operations in the bed of the creek are still virtually suspended, the diggings being almost entirely confined to the banks. Parties are now working for nearly four miles up the Lewis' Ponds Creek, but I have not heard with what success.

Had they met with any extraordinary good luck, the is little doubt but that it would very speedily nave been blazoned abroad. There are a great many on the Creek who are working very hard without having enough to eat, and of course the greater portion of them will disappear by degrees. Flour has been purchased at the mines from diggers about to return, at twenty shillings, and biscuits at twelve shillings per one hundred pounds.

During the last week Campbell's party of four, after working four weeks, brought in gold which realised £141. Evans's party of four, after five weeks' work, obtained gold to the amount of £95 12s., the greater portion of which was sold in Bathurst. John Gumbleton, saddler, from Sydney, with three others in the party, all industrious, willing, and able young men. obtained one ounce fifteen pennyweights after sixteen days' hard work. He is an intelligent young man, and tells me he is satisfied that not more than ten persons out of every hundred are doing well. Mr. Smith, optician, from Sydney, who passed through Bathurst a few days since on his road to Ophir, writes to a friend in Bathurst, stating he has got into a good hole. The most singular specimen of gold intermingled with quartz, which has come under my notice, was one brought in by Mr. Mulvey, last week. It was a piece weighing perhaps a pound, being about the size of a duck egg, and had been broken apparently off another piece. The quartz was of a muddy light red colour, and the gold appeared on the fractured side to run in very minute threads and small dust all through the stone.

On the exterior surface the gold might be seen in a few places rising in low flat protuberances, which leads me to believe that there was one or more bulkier threads or veins running through the quartz from one protuberane to the other. It was estimated that there might be about three ounces of gold altogether, and Mr Mulvey assured me that £7 10s. was offered to him for it at Ophir. No piece in which the gold was so thoroughly intermixed with the stone has been seen by me before; in fact, it almost appeared as if the quartz and gold had been in a state of fusion together, and had afterwards hardened into a solid mass. The person who first discovered it, saw one of the little golden protuberances, and thinking it was a small nugget, tried to pick it up with his: finger and thumb, but finding it resisted his efforts, had recourse to his pick. Another specimen obtained bv Mr. Gumbleton, is a very small piece of crystallized quartz, forming one end of a prism, with minute flakes of gold right through the centre. It is his intention to have it cut, polished, and set in a ring.

Sydney Morning Herald
2 Jul 1851

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