Personal Recollections of Early Melbourne and Victoria Part 6

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"Go then forth, and fortune play upon Thy prosperous helm."

--2nd part Henry IV.

When I made my first Home trip, in 1847, I resolved to open, if I possibly could, German emigration to Port Phillip. Quite a number had already been settled, some from the earliest years, in South Australia, where their industry, frugality, sobriety, and general good conduct had made them excellent colonists. This favourable testimony was confirmed to me by correspondence on the subject with my late much-lamented friend, Alexander L. Elder, one of South Australia's earliest, most esteemed, and most successful colonists. My first step on arrival was to write to the "Commissioners of Emigration," an officiate since dispensed with, pointing out this South Australian success, and suggesting that a certain charge upon the Colonial Land Fund, authorized in special cases of emigrants--an aid of 18 pounds a head, I think--might be made applicable to German vinedressers emigrating to Port Phillip. In due course, I received a most cordial reply from the secretary, Mr.

(afterwards Sir) Stephen Walcot, to the effect that Lord Grey, then Colonial Secretary, highly approved of the project, and that the aid asked for would be forthcoming for properly qualified German vinedressers. Armed with this letter, I went to Hamburg with introductions to Messrs. John Caesar G.o.deffroy and Son, at that time the chief s.h.i.+powners of the city. They were evidently well disposed, and had been, I think, concerned in the previous out-flow to Adelaide, as they referred me to Mr. Edward Delius, of Bremen, who had been an agent in the work. My visit to Delius resulted in my proceeding at once to Silesia, where I got as far as Liegnitz, whose gilded or tin-covered minarets reminded me that I was approaching the fanciful or gorgeous East. Here I met a number of the peasantry, all eager to hear about Australia, friends of some of them being already there. Hearing that a Moravian headquarters was also there, I introduced myself, stating that I was a subject of, and personally acquainted with, their brother Moravian, Mr. La Trobe, our Superintendent. I found other La Trobes there, his relatives or namesakes. Several of the body spoke good English, and so I got fairly on with the peasantry, explaining as to the cla.s.s ent.i.tled to the a.s.sistance in emigrating, and that to vinedressers only would the aid apply, so as to enable the Messrs. G.o.deffroy to give them a free pa.s.sage. I left them with the understanding that they would make up a party and communicate with Delius.

About six months later I went again to Hamburg, this time to see the first party away. They were in a good deal of trouble, for most of them, in spite of all advice, had clung to old family lumber, things mostly quite unsuited to Australia, and the carriage-cost of which drained their narrow means at every stage. But, worst of all, the cholera was then raging in Hamburg, and it attacked several of the party during some few days, while they waited, under such shelter as they could improvise, until the s.h.i.+p could take them. Delius and I visited them, to cheer them with the near prospect of the suns.h.i.+ne and plenty of Australia.

A rather motley crew was this first German party landed at Melbourne. I fear they were not all vinedressers. But the difficulty was to get them to describe themselves as such, even when they were so. This was almost as hard upon them as for an Indian Brahmin to write himself down a low-caste Hindoo. Upon any pretence they would cla.s.s themselves as of some trade, and one, who doubtless expected great things from it, entered himself, to the serious damage of our case, as "Doctor of Philosophy." There was considerable difficulty and delay in getting the grant. Mr. La Trobe helped us as much as he conscientiously could. Of course, the said doctor had to be excluded, and others with him. But eventually a substantial sum was handed to the s.h.i.+ppers, sufficient to encourage them to continue the business.

Several expeditions, larger or smaller, followed. I have no record of their total. One of their great delights was the superabundance of fresh beef and mutton. Our ever-active colonist, Dr. Thomson, of Geelong, who took great interest in Germans, invited a party of them, just arrived, to Geelong, where he gave them a supper upon the gra.s.s around his pretty residence, killing and roasting a large fat sheep, and serving out chops, and all the rest of it, ad libitum. One man was noticed to have eaten a couple of pounds' weight right off, and no doubt he felt, in consequence, like the boy in "Punch", just as though his jacket were b.u.t.toned. My late esteemed friend, Mr. Otto Neuhauss, himself one of the emigrating throng, although not of the very first party, gave me, from his complete mastery of English, most material help in managing their affairs. I had afterwards the pleasant duty of recommending him to our first Colonial Secretary, Captain Lonsdale, for a Justices.h.i.+p of the Peace, to the great satisfaction and convenience of his co-emigrant countrymen. I am under much like obligation also to Mr. Brahe, who long acted, and I hope still acts, as a solicitor amongst the Germans.

But the grand prize for these Germans was the acquisition of land.

Accordingly Captain Stanley Carr (then on a visit with the German Prince of Schleswig-Holstein) and myself took up, in trust for such Germans as desired it, and had the means of payment, one of the square miles of surveyed land, as yet unapplied for, about twelve miles north of Melbourne, which was divided amongst them in lots as agreed upon. And there they are to this day, a thriving community. When, in company with Neuhauss, my wife and I visited them in 1857, just before finally quitting the colony, we found considerable progress in the form of a scattered village, with a little Lutheran church, and some show of gardening and cultivation. They seemed delighted to stick to their German speaking, and would not even try to speak English. One amusing feature in the scramble as to allotments was that each tried, in most cases, to get trees, stones, and rocks in preference to clear ground, as if so much additional wealth. The trees might have had value for firewood, but in the other items they had probably more than they bargained for. We secured the land for them at a pound an acre, and the fact of their being so largely settled upon it raised its value at once considerably. All the land thereabout has now risen to many times this first cost. Many more Germans have since, as I understand, settled upon other land.

The exact value of the German immigration to Australia may be to us a differing estimate, but I think we mostly give it a decided welcome.

Lord Grey, as I recollect, was attacked in Parliament by the political opposition for thus spending money on foreigners which might have better gone to our own dest.i.tute, etc., etc. And I myself was repeatedly so attacked, but always in a like merely political opposition way, when anything is let fly at an opponent that will serve the momentary purpose. In the heat of the O'Shana.s.sy contest for Melbourne, for instance, I was accused of having told the Silesian peasants that they were wanted to set an example of sobriety to the drunken Irish. But I easily escaped from that noose by the rejoinder that, if I did say anything of the kind, it must have been of my own countrymen, as an Irishman can never stand to a Highlander at whisky. The true point of the question is the denationalizing of our race, which is so seriously threatened, for example, by the import of Chinese. We know that something of French, Flemish, Dutch, and Danish-Norse, along with a leading dash of German, all grafted on the old British stock, have evolved the modern Englishman. Substantially, therefore, we are only reopening this useful manufacture, which was effectively begun for England fifteen centuries back.

THE GERMAN PRINCE.

"Come of a gentle, kind, and n.o.ble stock."

--Pericles.

One of the pleasant incidents to vary our social life was the arrival in 1850 of the young Prince of Schleswig-Holstein, to whom there occurred, during the German dynastic confusion that followed the revolutionary year 1848, an opportunity to see the world. Accompanied by his guardian, Captain Stanley Carr, he arrived by one of the Messrs. G.o.deffroy's s.h.i.+ps from Hamburg, having been swayed to some extent in selection of travel route by the fact of German emigration to Port Phillip having commenced the year before through the same firm. The Prince, who was then only of the age of nineteen, and of most amiable and ingenuous look, had that charm of the true politeness of his years, which left you the impression that he thought that everyone was to be preferred to himself. If unfortunate, in the chances of the struggle, in being dropped out of his princ.i.p.ality, he was afterwards compensated in another direction, for not only is his younger brother our Queen's son-in-law, but one of his daughters is to-day Empress of Germany. What a reminder are such changes of the swift pa.s.sing of time and of the crowd of portentous events in these quick-speeding years.

The Prince and his guardian landed, as it were, in my arms, by virtue both of introductions from the G.o.deffroys, and of my position as virtual parental head of the German flock which had begun to stream into Port Phillip. Unacquainted myself with the language, I was ably and untiringly helped, as I have said, by my late friend Mr. Neuhauss. The Prince took the thin disguise of Lieutenant Groenwald, but I never heard that name, except in Captain Carr's official intimation. We all called him the Prince, but he was equally courteous and una.s.suming whatever way we addressed him. It was quite touching to see the harmony that existed between ward and guardian, the one looking up to his sage Mentor with the trustful tractability of a child, the other reciprocating high regard out of the depths of that ultra-Tory sentiment with which long residence within German Court vicinities, and perhaps a natural turn of mind, had imbued him. We have been apprised of this still lingering German high sentiment by hearing at times of the late Emperor Frederick's habit, when Crown Prince, of calling the Princess "wife,"

and of asking, when looking for her, where his "wife" was--a transgression of court etiquette so appalling as well nigh to send the queried parties off into a fit. There was another amusing ill.u.s.tration from Captain Carr. He came to me once very considerably disconcerted by the report of a public meeting the day before, at which he, oblivious for the moment of the inevitable omnipresent English free press, had offered some remarks. The "Argus", under the undiscriminating democratic pen of Kerr, its editor, had reported that "Captain Stanley Carr had told the meeting that the King of Prussia had told him" so and so; whereas, as Carr sorrowfully complained, the proper expression should have been that "an exalted personage in Prussia had led him to understand" so and so. But, added my friend, with manifest comfort, the departure from propriety was so flagrant that, if the report did happen to reach the king's eyes, he would never believe it of him.

Both distinguished visitors honoured me and two of my sisters, who had by this time followed their brother to the land of promise, with a few days' residence at our cottage, with its garden so full of fruit, upon the Merri Creek. When so many other invitations pressed, we were in honour bound to this time-limitation. They were easily entertained with such few elegancies as we could then boast of. But we were bound also, even in mere good feeling to surrounding ambitious maidens, to get up a ball in the Prince's honour. I had my task in discriminating the comparative few of the fair hands that could possibly be placed in that of the guest, for even a prince could not dance for ever, so as to overtake all. On the Prince's part every successive hand was accepted with equal readiness, and every favoured maiden was duly encouraged, or discouraged, by faultlessly impartial courtesy.

BLACK THURSDAY.

"Whirlwinds of tempestuous fire."

--Milton.

The year 1851 had for us three memorable events: first, "Black Thursday," on 6th February; second, the elevation of Port Phillip district into the colony of Victoria, on 1st July; third, the discovery of gold, which was practically and substantially that of Ballarat, during the third week of September.

Black Thursday has been so much written about by others that I had best confine myself to my own experiences. I rode in to business, as usual, from my Merri Creek residence, 4 1/2 miles north of the city. The weather had been unusually dry for some days with the hot wind from the north-west, or the direction of what we called Sturt's Desert, where hot winds in summer, and almost as distinctly cold winds in midwinter, were manufactured for us. The heat had been increasing daily, and this, as we comforted ourselves, was surely the climax which was to bring the inevitable reversion of the southerly blast and the restoring rain, for it was felt as the hottest day in my recollection. In town we did not hear of much that day, although reports came from time to time of sinister-looking signs from the surrounding interior, whence an unusual haze or thick mist seemed to rise towards the cloudless sky. Some few, however, who were more active than others in their trading or gossiping movements, became aware in the afternoon, or perhaps were favoured with the news as a secret, that Dr. Thomson had ridden posthaste from Geelong to Alison and Knight, our early and leading millers and flour factors, to warn them that the whole country was in flames, with incalculable destruction of cereals and other products; whereupon the said firm at once raised the price of flour thirty per cent. The Doctor had certainly earned a good fee on that occasion, and we must hope that he got it.

I returned home as usual after the day's work. Nothing to alarm us had even made a near approach to Melbourne, as our trees were too park-like in their wide scatter, and our gra.s.s too much cropped off by hungry quadrupeds, to expose us to any danger. But feeling unusual oppression from the singularly close heat, for I was attired in woollen clothing, not greatly under the winter woollen standard, and which, by the way, serves to confirm that our dry Australian clime is not to be measured in effect, like most others, by mere height of the thermometer, I proceeded to indulge myself, for the first time in my life, I think, with a second "refresher" of my shower-bath. Next morning accounts began to pour in from all quarters of an awful havoc, in which, sad to say, life to no small extent was lost, as well as very much property.

There has never been, throughout Australia, either before or since, such a day as Victoria's Black Thursday, and most likely, or rather most certainly, it will never, to its frightful extent, occur again; for every year, with the spread of occupation, brings its step in the acc.u.mulation of protectives. Still these fires are a terrible and frequent evil, and even if the towns and settlements are safe, the destruction of the grand old forests is deplorable, and ere very many years will be, indeed, most sadly deplored. What between the unchecked clearances of the fires, and the unchecked clearances on the part of the colonists, I fear that those n.o.ble gum trees, the greatest and loftiest trees probably in the world, so graphically described by Mr. Froude in his recent Australian tour, will have but a poor chance. He describes also, with equal life, those dangerous forest fires, which are so especially frequent during the ever-recurring ordeals of drought, of which he had a fair sample at the time of his visit. Only think of eight miles of forest burnt in one fire which he witnessed, and such fires frequent occurrences!

Let us in time take warning by the example of the States and Canada, where, in and around the more settled parts, the magnificent primeval forest has entirely disappeared, alike from areas still unused as from those brought into use. When I travelled by rail from Montreal to Toronto, during the British a.s.sociation's Session at the former in 1884, a very large part of the way was through the monotonous and utterly wearisome scene of a second growth of miscellaneous small trees and underwood that had succeeded to the grand original. We were told of one small town which had become famous by its good taste or good fortune in having preserved in its midst one of the ancient monarchs. Well, what could be done to preserve Australian forests? We must not deprive the people of the use of these forests, for there they are for the purpose, as part of the country's wealth, and in quant.i.ty enough for all, discreetly dealt with. I would parcel out the forests, into great clumps, marking off adequate pa.s.sages between each, and only permitting for the present the latter to be dealt with. With the gradual clearing of these intervals, the reserved portions, and the colony generally, might be freed, in great measure, from the risk of fires.

EARLY VICTORIA, FROM 1851.

"Gold! gold! gold!

Bright and yellow, hard and cold."

--Hood.

I am drawing near the end of what may be fairly considered as "Early Melbourne and Victoria." Indeed, I might be challenged in going beyond the memorable 1851, a year which ushers such momentous new features into the colony. But considerably more than a generation has since pa.s.sed; and, writing as I do for those who occupy to-day the old scene, I may plead as my excuse their own view of the subject; for already they regard the time I have come to as the real beginning of early Victoria, while the dim distances preceding are to them a kind of age before the deluge, which ordinary memories fail to fathom. In keeping to personal recollections I cannot, at the worst, be very protracted, for I quitted public life in 1853, and regretfully, under the calls of business, the colony itself four years later. I must confine myself to some few recollections of the former brief but busy period--1851-3--of which, in its multifarious rush of political and general business, I might say in the well-known words of the Roman poet, which have survived my cla.s.sic rust "quorum pars magna fui," provided I were allowed to greatly abate, or rather perhaps, in becoming modesty, altogether to delete, the third factor of Virgil's sentence.

The goldfields came upon us with almost the suddenness of the changes of dreamland. We had had a slight graduation by the news, in the May preceding, from the sister colony, of a shepherd on Dr. Kerr's station, near Bathurst, having come upon a round hundredweight of nearly pure gold. This luck, I presume, was mainly the result of the habit most of us had begun to acquire of keeping our eyes upon the ground beneath us, in consequence of Hargreaves, on his return from California about this time, having predicted gold, and subsequently fulfilled his prophecy by was.h.i.+ng out some of the precious metal in the Bathurst vicinities.

Pa.s.sing over trifling intermediate finds of gold, as at Anderson's Creek in August, Ballarat came suddenly upon us.

The news reached town, I think, on 21st September. A week later a small knot of us merchants, who had offices on the east side of the Market-square--including our next door neighbours, Messrs. Watson and Wight--were discussing what was to come of it all; for while part of our employees were off to visit the diggings on leave, the rest threatened to follow--leave or no leave. The situation had a certain convenience in the fact that almost all business was for the time at an end, excepting that of buying up spades and shovels, pitchers and pannikins, and anything to answer for a cradle.

Instead of rising with the gold, houses and lands in Melbourne actually fell, and considerably too, in the first confusion, when mult.i.tudes were selling off or letting at anything they could get, in order to be off to the diggings. There came, however, a rapid recovery a few months after.

My friend Mr. Henry Miller, sitting next me in the Legislature, told me one day that two owners of cottages, to whom he had lent 80 pounds each, upon their respective security, had begged him six months ago to take over the said property in payment, and let them be off at once to the common goal of the day; that he had charitably done so, and that he had just resold these houses for 1,000 pounds each.

When the tide began its upward turn, a Mr. O'Farrell, a quiet unpretending house agent and rent collector (one of whose sons afterwards came to so bad an end), made promptly a large fortune by buying up leases or fee-simples, and in an incredibly short time re-disposing of them at a great advance.

EARLY BALLARAT.

"All that glisters is not gold."

--Merchant of Venice.

Let me begin upon early Ballarat by stating, what many may now have forgotten, namely, that the original and native name was Balaarat, or Ballaarat, which was the p.r.o.nunciation then, and for some years after.

But our English way is to put the emphasis on the first part of a polysyllabic word. I have long remarked this practice, comparing it with that of races of inferior, or more or less barbarous condition, who, as in countless other examples in Australia, and still more strikingly in New Zealand, and generally, I think, over the world, lay the emphasis on or towards the end of the word. What does it mean? I arrived at my solution. The emphatic ending best preserves the whole word. The barbarous, with few ideas, give surpa.s.sing importance to words; while the civilized, under the crowd of ideas, disregard words except as mere vehicles, and traverse them easiest by the early emphasis, to say nothing of dropping the after part entirely when troublesomely long. The Turanian, or lowest cla.s.s of language, as Professor Max Muller tells us, preserves its root-words for ever, tacking one to another, but never losing the full sound of each; while all sorts of word "jerry mandering"

liberties go on in the highest cla.s.s. I ventured to propound my theory to my linguistic friend, Mr. Hyde Clarke; but he found so many divergencies in Latin and Greek and Hebrew, and what not, that I was driven to a partial reconstruction. It was the busy as well as civilized race that scamped the words. The Greeks and Romans--that portion of them that made society or the public opinion, and that consequently governed the language--abhorred the vulgar hurry of business life, and thus gave their words a better chance of unmutilated life. I have not yet been driven out of this final theory.

With hardly anything else to do, it was as hardly possible to resist a visit, with nearly everybody else, to Ballarat. So I appeared there on the 3rd October, and, as senior member for Melbourne in the colony's first Parliament, and first President of the recently established Chamber of Commerce, I was, of course, "a man in authority." So, mounting a gum-tree stump, as the only available chair or pulpit, I harangued the diggers, first upon the grand fortunes that had overtaken the colony, and next upon their sadly wasteful ways with the little stream that ran through the Ballarat valley. I fear I did not much impress my hearers on the latter point, for everyone did what was most for his immediate needs, whether or not he thus sacrificed his neighbour below him. Next I was conducted to Gold Point, which was just developing its quality in the "blue clay," which had been struck at no great depth below the surface. I was let down into a big hole, the early parent of shaft-sinking, given a spade, and directed to apply it to a place where a digger's quick eye had detected one speck of gold. There was probably, he said, a string of gold behind it. And so it proved, for out of about a pound weight of matrix which I removed on the corner of the spade, I picked out 7 s.h.i.+llings and 6 pence worth of gold.

Then I retired from the crowd and the incessant noise of cradles, and ascending from the valley to the high level plain, I came upon a small lake, whose waters glittered peacefully in the warm suns.h.i.+ne of a bright spring day. A tiny streamlet was still running from the lake, and trickling down the small semi-precipice towards the main rivulet, now sadly muddy, which I had just left. So near was this edge to the lake that I increased the stream by deepening its bed with my foot; but I repented of this waste, and restored the block, because the approaching summer must be thought for, and this natural reservoir was by no means deep. I waded into the pleasantly and invitingly cool water, but had promptly to retreat from swarms of leeches which attacked my feet. The scene was striking. Although the hum of busy humanity arose from beneath, not an object was visible on the higher level, as I glanced around to the far west and north, excepting the country's indigenous features. There was not a human being, not even a sheep in sight. Around this spot has since arisen the city of Ballarat, with fifty thousand people, with streets, buildings, inst.i.tutions, business (including an extra busy Stock Exchange), equal to those of, at least, twice its population at Home; while the lovely lake of that time has long been fringed with residences and gardens, and its waters been the scene of the regattas and other diversions of the leisure of the prosperous citizens.

As I rode back on my horse to town--for Cobb and Co. had not yet established their leather-hung stage drags, for which, in the impossibility of others upon the unmade roads, we had reason to be thankful--I mused over all I had seen, and long ere reaching home had concluded that 10,000 pounds a day was being taken out of Ballarat.

Sundays excepted, that meant a product at the rate of over three millions a year, into which, as one of its export items, the young colony was already "precipitated" from a total export product of only a trifle above a million the year before. No one was prepared to credit such a statement. Indeed, unbelief on the point was prevalent until well on into 1852, when Bendigo had been added to Ballarat, and when Melbourne was seen to be full of gold, which the newly-inst.i.tuted "gold broker" was already practised, with critical eye as to quality, in weighing out by the hundred or the thousand ounces, and which diggers by hundreds were carrying away in their pockets, in most cases entirely unrecorded, to Tasmania, Sydney, and Adelaide. There was hardly any Customs record at the first, and only a very partial one for a while after, until the diggers ceased thus to carry off the gold, upon finding that the rival brokers gave them fair and full value. The yield of 1852 was estimated at no less than fifteen millions.

How the diggers, utterly inexperienced as they mostly then were, came so suddenly upon such surpa.s.singly rich drifts has never been, to my mind at least, satisfactorily explained, unless the case be summarily affiliated to those possibilities of throwing "sixes" in dozen successions, and such like. In no one year, since 1852, have the Victorian goldfields, although comparatively the most productive, yielded even a near approach to fifteen millions.

MOUNT ALEXANDER AND BENDIGO.

"Our fortune lies upon this jump."

--Antony and Cleopatra.

The following year, about the same pleasant spring season, I made out a second goldfields visit, in company with my late friend, Mr. W.M. Bell, senior partner of the early firm of Bells and Buchanan. This time I went further inland, and in the more northerly direction of Mount Alexander and Bendigo, as considerable regions around were then loosely called, and which are now represented respectively by the large munic.i.p.alities of Castlemaine and Sandhurst. Vast changes had taken place in the colony since my Ballarat visit. There had been, in the first place, arrivals in mult.i.tudes, first from the surrounding colonies, and then from Home, and, in a lesser influx, from the Cape, America, and parts of Europe.

The tide of such threatening dimensions from China was later on. The roads, such as they were, were crowded with pa.s.sengers; and with traffic, chiefly in flour, to the starving diggers, the carriage of which to Bendigo ran up to 100 pounds a ton. Indeed, such was the cost of carriage that some of us estimated that a single year's total would equal the cost of making a railway. Of course the railway, draining the labour market, could only itself have been at proportionate cost.

Nevertheless, Mr. Trenchard, a Melbourne solicitor, projected "The Melbourne, Mount Alexander and Murray River Railway," an enterprise which, after some months' flutter of chequered life, expired for want of support from the over-busy colonists, who had other far more immediately pressing needs and chances for their money.

The "gold escort" had been established by this time, with an armed guard, which at times included "native police," a force which had been the best, if not the only, success as yet in our "civilizing" efforts with the aborigines. The art of digging had greatly advanced since my Ballarat visit. At Bendigo I inspected the "White Hills," where there was already regular shaft-sinking to depths approaching 100 feet. The White Hills were so-called from a large ejection, piled up in white mounds of a light-coloured thick bed of the auriferous drifts, in which unprecedented quant.i.ties of gold had been found. Descending one of the shafts, I was shown the chief source of this gold, namely, a thin seam of small quartz grit, hardly two inches in thickness, and of the white quartz hue, excepting the lowest half inch, which was browned with iron.

This lowest half inch had almost all the gold, and the very lowest part of it, where the iron-brown darkened almost to black, was literally crowded with gold particles. The diggers now always looked for the most gold where the quartz drift showed most of iron browning. Mr. Selwyn had not yet explained to us our Australian gold features and those gold "constants" of Murchison, which had to sustain so severe a shaking in Australia. I sc.r.a.ped out gold grains with my nails, and a good many with a knife within a minute. When I told the claim owners, that here was unlimited gold, and asked what they intended to do with it all, they pointed to the superinc.u.mbent ma.s.s of white stuff, which was either absolutely sterile, or, what was practically the same, had insufficient gold to pay even a run through the wash when ejected. The case seemed not unlike that of the thin seams of flint nodules (say nuggets) which characterize the thick chalk strata of South England, within which most or all the silicious matter of the entire bed has been somehow brought together. I understood that this remarkable gold seam gave out not long after, and that, thereupon, the marvellous yield of Bendigo was seriously diminished.

As we approached this already great and busy goldfield, when the hum of its business life was just breaking upon our ears, but without any other disturbing intrusion to interfere with the universally indigenous scene, a large kangaroo--the "old man," or largest species--started up amongst the gum-tree underwood a little ahead of us, and bounded away in magnificent style. But a day or two afterwards, as we were leaving Bendigo, another feature of the colony, not indigenous and by no means so pleasant was brought up to our minds to their considerable discomfort for the moment. We were just clear of goldfields sounds and company, and involved in the utter solitude of the primeval bush, when we espied a party approaching us on the road. They numbered five, all on horseback.

Personal Recollections of Early Melbourne and Victoria Part 6

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