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1853.]

The Valley of the Turon.

635

in New South Wales. This, in fact, that from Sydney to Paramattawas the beginning of the western a mere track, or rather system of pastoral country, which was dis tracks diverging from each other covered about twenty-five years and uniting again, like the tracks of after the foundation of Sydney, and navigators on a chart. Whenever which now extends three hundred a driver thinks he can make a miles back from the coast-as far better course' by taking a new line, back, in short, as there is to be he does so, and at any rate he has found water. For about ten miles the advantage of escaping the ruts round Bathurst, the country is level of the old one. The worst roads plain, like the prairies of New Zea are those near the towns, where, land, but the general character of from the land on each side being the district is that of open forest, appropriated and enclosed, all the the trees standing about as far apart traffic is concentrated on one track, as in an English orchard. Both which is proportionably cut up. sleep and cattle like this sort of The road from Bathurst to the country, I am told, better than the Turon is at this season tolerably open plain; and it certainly has good; at least the ruts are not so great advantages in the supply of inevitable, though they are as deep wood and shelter. Bathurst is a little as those on the mountains. The town, of some 2000 inhabitants, with country is composed of low hills, with a church, a gaol, a court-house, and fertile valleys between them, which, a market-place, on the Macquarrie until the gold was discovered, were side. It has increased, of course, extensively cultivated, so as to make greatly in wealth and importance

the Bathurst district a comparatively since the gold discoveries, of which cheap and plentiful one, so far as it is the centre, but not in size; for farm produce was concerned. Within the same reason that Sydney does the last two years, however, the not increase-i.e., want of labour. consuming population has of course

I went to a very tolerable inn, to so far outrun the producing, one, which I had been recommended, and that the district draws largely for where I got, by dint of vigorous its supplies both on the Hunter pleading, a room to myself. At the River and on the port of Sydney. time I arrived, Bathurst was in a Late in the evening I arrived at state of great excitement, news the top of the hill overlooking the having just come in that the Turon village of Sofala, and looked down on was in a state of revolt, or nearly so, the celebrated valley of the Turon. against the new gold regulations; The hills which inclose it are high, and on the other hand, a detachment but not steep, covered with open of forty men, of the 11th regiment, forest; the bed of the river is, being daily expected from Sydney, as usual in Australia, 'a world to aid the civil

power-we passed it too wide for its shrunk' stream, exon the road in the night, bivouacking cept at rare intervals of flood ; its in the forest among the Blue Moun banks, the sides of the hills, and the tains. At Bathurst I hired a toler bed of almost every creek and waterable horse for 108. a-day; and I got course for miles round it, are now a mounted policeman, who happened cut up into diggings--that is, into to be returning to the Turon with round holes or pits, like the mouths despatches, to ride with me, and show of wells, varying in depth to an inme the way. Theride (of thirty miles) definite extent. These are the dry turned out pleasanterthan Iexpected. diggings.' The bed claims,' which There was

a regular Australian can only be worked in very dry “ hot wind,” which I found very weather, have a different appearoppressive, but it blew across the ance, the pits being much larger, road, so that we did not suffer much more like quarries, and being fitted from the dust, and after the first with a machinery of pumps and five or six miles we got into the pipes, to remove the water which is forest, where we enjoyed as much constantly flowing in. AH this is shade as an Australian forest gene observable at the first glance that rally gives-not much, indeed, but one gets from the top of the hill. still better than nothing. The road Overlooking the river is the village, is, like all Australian roads except a most strange and picturesque

VOL. XLVIII. NO, CCLXXXVIII.

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place. It consists of one long and commissioner, to whom I had a letter wide street, and the houses are of introduction, and was very kindly built of weatherboard, bark, and received and welcomed by him. He canvas, the two latter predominating, told me he could not offer me a bed, and flour-barrels being the favourite as they were quite full, but asked materials for the chimneys, wherever me to dine with them, and recomthe houses were so lucky as to have mended me to an inn in the town, chimneys. Large staring placards, where he said I should find quiet and in every variety of character, an. tolerable accommodation. He told nounced the names and callings of me also that I found them literally in the various owners. Lodging-houses, a state of siege ; and that the day public-houses, and gold-buying esta before there had been a large armed blishments preponderate, of course. meeting, at which it was determined As I rode down the street, I was not to submit to the new regulations. surprised to see so many women and Three delegates were appointed, children; I had not thought the who went over to the commissioners' diggers were in the habit of bringing camp, informed the latter of the retheir families with them, or of settling solution arrived at, and further anso much as I found to be the case. nounced that they, the delegates, A large tent with a cross at one were then offenders against the law, end, was pointed out to me as the being resident without licences, and Episcopal Church,' and a smaller that they would not take out any. weatherboard building the Roman The commissioners, thus defied, de. catholic. The village was supposed termined to act with vigour. They to contain about 2000 people when arrested the delegates, tried them I was thereincluding the huts on the spot (as the act enables them scattered up and down the valley in to do), and fined them five pounds its immediate neighbourhood. each. The delegates blustered, said

Passing through this curious-look their friends would rescue them, ing place, half camp, half village, I and asked leave to send over to the followed my guide across the river meeting an account of their position. Turon, which was very low and The commissioners consented ; and narrow, and up the steep bank

op while the messenger was absent posite ; we threadedour way through put their camp in a posture of dea perfect labyrinth of pits and holes, fence. Their force consisted of about like a rabbit-burrow on a large scale, thirty-five mounted policemen, well most of them deserted, but some armed with carbines, pistols, and still in process of being worked, un sabres. They had had the huts and til we arrived at what is called the the stables loopholed; the men's commissioners' camp;' and certainly arms were loaded, and every one its appearance and accompaniments was at his post. In the mean time, corresponded with the military as great agitation prevailed at the sociations suggested by the name. meeting. Some professed a violent It was a little cantonment of bark anxiety to storm the camp and huts and tents, standing apart from rescue the prisoners ; it is even said the surrounding buildings, on an that a rush was actually made across eminence, in the middle of which the river for that purpose, and that there was a pretty large yard, sur they were only prevented by the rounded by open sheds, in which personal intervention and influence some thirty or forty horses were of a Wesleyan minister. Howerer, picketed. All about the canton. I suspect they were very glad of a ment troopers were lounging, re good excuse, and that they never gular monstached, soldierly-looking seriously entertained any idea of men, wearing a blue uniform, some fighting At any rate no fighting thing like our artillery, and armed took place, but the commissioners like light cavalry. Close by the had thought it right to send to enclosure I was met by a party of Bathurst for more force, as the malfour or five young men, in undress contents still loudly proclaimed their uniform, evidently of superior rank intention of not allowing defaulters to the others, whom my guide to be arrested on the river,' i.e., at pointed out to me as the commis. work. The delegates, I forgot to sioners.' I asked for the chief say, had their fines paid by sub

no

1853.]
Decrease in the produce of Gold.

637 scription, after it had been determining company—especially for an mined not to fight. This was, of English capitalist. I do not believe, course, a confession of defeat. I indeed, in the advisableness, under spent the evening with the commis any circumstances whatever, of cosioners, and after dinner was guided lonial investments, by persons not through the pitfalls of the diggers intending to reside in the colony to my inn, where, to my surprise, I where they have invested. I have got a bedroom to myself, and a been so repeatedly warned against tolerable bed, not more thickly them by men of large colonial expeopled than the one which I had perience, and so many instances in now become used to. The next corroboration of such warnings have morning I breakfasted at the camp,' come under my own knowledge, and spent the day in visiting the that I have doubt

the point. various diggings up and down the As a general rule you cannot trust river. The number of the diggers any one to look after property at had fallen off very largely of late, such a distance from the owner's partly on account of the new regu eye. There are exceptions, of course, Iations, but much more from the but so few as not to affect the argucomparative exhaustion of the Turon, ment. There was no quartz-crushing and the inviting accounts which had establishment at work when I was at reached them from the O and the Turon, though many have been Mount Alexander, in the neighbour talked of, and it is the opinion, I ing colony. There were still, how. think, of the best authorities with ever, at the time of my visit, about whom I have conversed, that there 2500 men at work in the district is no rock in New South Wales which surrounding Bathurst. I spoke to it will pay to crush upon a large scale. a great many of them, asked them The Turon (though still

upon

, at the time about their earnings, prospects, &c. of my visit, producing a good deal Every one, without an exception, of gold, in consequence of the long spoke in a tone of discontent and drought permitting the 'bed-claims dissatisfaction; and many more, I to be worked, for the first time since doubt not, would go away if they the first discovery) has decidedly had not brought up their families, seen its best days; the cream of the and settled themselves. Still, in diggings has been skimmed. The consistent as it may appear, almost same, too, seems to be the case with every one admitted that he was respect to all the neighbouring lo‘making wages,' — which, in the calities where gold has been found, mouths of diggers, means earning Braidwood, Louisa Creek, Tamba108. a day, or 31. week, which I roora, Mudgee, &c. Nor have the find is in fact the estimated average discoveries made in this colony, product of each man at work, calcu. during the last twelve months, gone lated by comparing the number of near to compensating for the ex. licences with the amount of gold haustion of the old ones. The whole sent down by escort; and setting produce of New South Wales is not the unlicensed diggers against the one-half of what it was eighteen gold that is sent down in other ways. months ago. The colonists, who are

A good number of capitalists' extremely reluctant to confess this were working their claims by means exhaustion of their mines, say that of hired labour, and I found they the diminished production is entirely gave from 21. 10s. to 31. a week, for owing to the diminution of the digwork which, of course, was not so ging population, and that this last is hard or so long-continued, as if the owing to the fashionableness (they men were working for themselves. will not allow any real superiority) The employers, I need hardly say, of the Victoria gold-fields. The never, or almost never, make this

average earnings at Port Phillip, plan pay; most of them give it up however, have also decreased of late. after a short trial. There are one or The amountofgoldsent down from all two companies also at work, about the Australian diggings during Dewhose success I am not sanguine. I cember, 1852, and January, 1853, was cannot conceive any speculation more not much more than half what it had hazardous and unpromising than an been in October and November, and investment in an Australian gold this notwithstanding that the number

olen i

of diggers, or, at least, the popula. short period. In Mexico and Peru, tion of the colony, has rapidly in for example, no new mines have creased in the interval. In February, been discovered, for the last 300 March, and April last, the dimi. years, comparable, in richness, to nution has been slower; but each of those which were worked within a those months showed a steady though few years of the conquest. In South slight decrease, as compared with the Australia the most eager search has preceding one. It is, of course, failed to discover a second Burraimpossible to say what new dis Burra. And so I am inclined to coveries of gold may be made in think, (though, of course, I speak Australia, as there is a large extent with great diffidence,) it will be with of country apparently auriferous ; respect to gold in Australia. At any but, unless new diggings, equal in rate, when I find such a remarkable richness to Mount Alexander, Bal. phenomenon as a considerable delarat, and Bendigo, be discovered crease in the amount sent down, and from time to time, there can be no this decrease going on for five or doubt that the produce must gra six months steadily, notwithstanding dually but certainly and very consi. the discovery of many fresh dig. derably decline. Alluvial diggings gings, and a large increase in the are soon worked out, and I under

population, it is impossible for me stand, from good authority, that as to avoid a suspicion that the cream yet no appearance of gold mines, may have been already skimmed, such as are worked in Brazil, has and that no future year will see been exhibited in Australia. All 80 large a production of Australian gold countries have proved very rich gold as 1352. There is, howerer, for a few years after they are first one circumstance to be noticed as worked, and men who are well ac of some weight on the opposite quainted with the South American or encouraging side of the ques. mines tell me the latter must have tion. It is this — that in Cali. been, in their opinion, as rich as the fornia, where the gold-field has Australian diggings at first. Against been worked now for more than the probability of many rich locali four

years,

I believe that the proties being hereafter discovered there duction, or at least the export of is this to be said: for two years the each year, has been greater than whole population of Australia has that of the preceding one ; so that in been thinking of one subject only, that country either the increase of

po. that is, gold; the whole efforts of pulation, or the discovery of new dig. everybody, governments as well as gings, or improved methods of work. individuals, have been directed ing, or all these causes together, have towards its acquisition; scientific hitherto counteracted the tendency expeditions have been sent out in on which I have insisted above. every direction; private explorers, Nothing, I believe, has yet been accustomed to the business, have discovered in the shape of maprospected' every promising lo chinery equal in efficiency to the cality, so that I say—not, of course, simple instruments which each man, that no further discoveries of gold or at most each gang of three will be made, (for new ones are or four men, can procure and work made every month or so,) but—that for themselves-namely, for the dry the chance of discovering rich gold diggings the pickaxe, the shovel, fields diminishes, as time rolls on, and the cradle; and for the bed. and as population advances, in a claims,' a pump called a “long-Tom,' constantly accelerated ratio. Any in addition. Nor do I see any proconceivable period may elapse before bability of superior machinery being the first discovery of precious metals presently required, for the Aus. in a country, because they may be tralian gold is apparently found under the very feet of the popula always near the surface, and in tion without being even thought rock that is easily worked, while of; but experience, so far as I know, the habits of the people and the shows that, after the first discovery, high rate of labourers' wages make all the paying, or, at least, all the combination under the orders of a very rich mines, are ascertained and capitalist irksome to them and unworked, within a comparatively profitable to him. I am not suffi.

1833.]

Supply of Labour in Australia.

633

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ciently acquainted with the state of a diminution of the necessity for society and of the country in the immigration, and of the chances of mining provinces of South America immigrants finding employment. It to be able to draw a comparison will be a long time, even if the prowith them, but we must not forget duction of the gold-field should fall that there are now very few places off rapidly and largely, before immiwhere gold digging or gold-mining gration can overtake the demands pays, and that, except in Australia which the capital already created and California, they are all places and in course of creation is prowhere labour is cheap or compulsory, ducing, and will produce still more as for example, Brazil, Russia, and extensively if there be the slightest Carolina. Is there not reason to appearance of a fall in the present suppose that in these two excep exorbitant rate of wages. There tional localities also the time will are vast sums actually lying idle, soon come when gold-digging will which nothing but the want of not be found more profitable than labour prevents from being invested, it is found elsewhere? However, and every day adds to their amount. after all, our speculations have one The only business in which labour element of uncertainty im can be procured with tolerable ease portant as to deprive us of much is fortunately the one which is confidence in making them, because most important both to the colony all depends on the chance of new and to England—I mean sheepdiscoveries, which no one knows farming; the reason of which is, anything about. Upon the ques that anybody, almost, will do for tion, naturally often asked, whether shepherds, - what the Australians the Californian or the Australian call crawlers,' men who cannot or gold-fields are the richer, there will not do hard work.

very various opinions. My little practice teaches them all that own, which has not been formed is necessary, and the labour is without at least much inquiry, is nothing. Many have left off that though there are undoubtedly shepherding to go to the gold-fields, greater prizes, in the shape of large but have very soon returned, disnuggets, to be obtained in Aus gusted with the hard work; and as tralia, yet the average earnings of to road-making, or any other sort the Californian diggers are on the of labour (especially task - work), whole larger, and complete failures which involves control and regumuch more rare. In the mean time, larity, a shepherd will not look it is curious that the demand for at it. labour and the inconveniences of But to return to Sofala.

I every kind which result from it, called on the Anglican clergyman, have decidedly increased within the but did not find him at home; then last six months of which we have I looked in at his school (the only accounts, although probably 150,000 one in the place), where I found people have been added to the about sixty children-boys and girls labouring population, while the ---taught by a man with one leg, who gold-fields were less productive in told me he had taken to teaching May, than they were in November, about twelve months before, in conlast. Of course the reason of this

sequence of having been disqualified apparent paradox is that the creation

for digging by the loss of his leg of so much fresh capital has set in from an accident in one of the holes. motion all sorts of enterprises and The clergyman got the school-room employments, which have more than built, and provides the books. The absorbed the whole immigration. pecuniary remuneration of the masThere is not so powerful an attrac ter is derived from the fees paid by tion to the diggings themselves as the children. last year, but every other kind of I heard from the commissioners business has increased so largely, that there were plenty of kangaroos that labourers are more wanted and in the neighbourhood of Sotala, and more highly paid than ever. This as I expressed a strong desire to see point must be always kept in mind a hunt, they promised to get a man by those who are speculating on the who had good dogs in the town, to probability of a fall in wages, with show me

Accordingly, the

one.

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