John H. W. Pettit letters to his family in England, illustrated with sketches by the writer, 1852-1868 - Page 368

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you come to a saddle range, Immediately after coming upon this saddle hill, you see the Razor Back Ridge, as it is called here.  This formation consists of burnt slate, but  the gullies proceeding from it are more or less auriferous. Good gold will probably be found here.  Passing the Razor Back you descend into a rough flat, which you traverse for about a mile and a half, and then reach another leading range which will take you to the Roy or Arrow River.  This river is very deep, but you can ford it in places at two feet deep.  To arrive at Fox's claim you must cross it.   I found there fifty tents, and perhaps two hundred and fifty people.  They were all contented with the results and prospects.  I can give no general idea of the gold obtained, as people would not tell.  The answer was, 'I am satisfied.'  I do not think it was very rich, but good.  It is a very large river or creek, and the gold is in the banks.  Rees, the squatter, charged three pounds twelve shillings for a sheep, and 'kill it yourself'.  The sheep average about fifty pounds weight each.  Butler, a storekeeper, had packed up flour which he said at three shillings per pound.  Provisions are almost impossible to obtain.  Learning that Fox and his mate had started for the Dunstan, I started back at once to place you in receipt of this information, according to my agreement.  I do not wish my name to be known.  There is plenty of ground there, and any amount of likely looking places.  I return at once."
The effect of this news here has been just what might have been expected.  It has led to another rush to Otago, but not so large as on some former occasions.  The results have not, in any case, been equal to the expectations formed, and this weakens confidence in these reported
Some heavy deposits have lately beeb struck at the Great Extended Company's works, Balaarat [Ballarat], including several nuggets of solid gold, one of which weighed one hundred and twenty nine ounces.
The gold mining statistics for the month of October last have just been issued by the Mining Department. From them we learn that during that month the total population of the goldfields was 236,561, of whom 104,106 are set down as being actual miners.  Of these, 79, 951  are said to be Europeans, and 24,155 Chinese.  63,593 Europeans and 24,127 Chinese are reported to have been engaged in alluvial, and 16,358 Europeans and 28 Chinese, in quartz mining.  The population is thus distributed through the mining districts: - Ararat, 30,559, of whom 17,345 are miners; Castlemaine, 44,397 of whom 15,055 are miners; Maryborough 43,485, of whom 22,545 are miners;Sandhurst,  28,787, of whom 11,158 are miners; Beechworth, 30,420, of whom 20,730 are miners; and Ballaarat [Ballarat], 58,913, of whom 17,263 are miners.  The estimated area of ground actually mined upon is 620½ square miles; and the approximate value of all the plant used in mining operations is calculated at L1,446,759.  The value of the mining plant upon the several goldfields is as follows:- Ararat, L83,085; Castlemaine, L262,228; Maryborough, L194,446; Sandhurst, :268,000; Beechworth, :133,900; and Ballaarat [Ballarat] L305,100.  In alluvial mining there are engaged 326 steam engines, with an aggregate horse-power of 5294; 4017 puddling machines, 532 whims and pulleys, 237 whips, 163 horse pumps, 464 sluices and toms, 192 water wheels, 24 hydraulic hoses, and 2 derricks.  In quartz mining, there are employed 464 steam engines of 8127 horse-power, 74 crushing machines, 201 whims and pulleys, 23 water wheels, 3 derricks, and 33 whips.


Business is dull, but there are many things to contribute to that just now.  The year is closing, and fresh engagements are deferred for the present.  Preparations for harvest rather in abeyance than in a state of active preparation. Although large, the returns of gold from New Zealand are not equal in number of people who make their way thither, and much of the advantage we should otherwise reap in that direction is consequently lost.  There has also been slight run on one of our Banks during the month.
The Bank referred to is the Colonial Bank of Australasia, a strictly local institution.  What led to this run, it is not easy to state with any degree of certainty. Mr. O'Shanassy, the Chief secretary, is Governor of this Bank, and political hostility to the management has been given as one of the reasons,  if not, indeed, as the only one. But few accept that as the real cause of the run.  The late failure of the Provident Institute has made people more than ordinarily sensitive on the subject of the Banks.  That institution had made large advances to the Brighton Railway Company on very inadequate security, not al all marketable.  The Colonial Bank had also made large advances to the suburban Railway Company, and its balance sheets for some time past were such as to beget an uneasy feeling, in some quarters, of a desire to over-trade.  But there was  no need for a run, as was shown by the event. All claims against the Bank were promptly and honourably met, and the run did not last more than a day and a half.  Of course, he other Banks would have assisted to any reasonable extent, if that had been required.  But fortunately it was not and all is now going on as before.  The Bank has, however, made a fresh call on its shareholders.  And this affair, taken altogether, has been one of the hindrances to trade during the month.
We have also had several large fires on the goldfields and elsewhere, with a great destruction of property, and not a few calls on the various Insurance Companies to cover losses, which may have had something to do with it.  At Inglewood, the centre of one of our large goldfields, property was destroyed on the 3rd and 4th inst. to the value of nearly L100,000.  At Talbot, another of our goldfield towns, at or about the same time, there was a like destruction of property to the value of L12,000 or L14,000.  There have also been other fires in various parts of the colony during the month of lesser magnitude.  This, in fact, the season for fires, and they always more or less interfere with trade.  The losses so far to the Insurance Companies have been less that under similar circumstances on former occasions.The pressure arising from the failure of the Provident Institute still remains.  It is still in the Insolvent Court, and disclosures are being made from time to time of gross mismanagement, but that does not benefit the depositors or share-holders.  What they want is their money, or so much of it as can be saved from the general wreck, and the realisation of their wished in this respect is delayed by these proceedings.  But a Bill is before Parliament to provide for the winding-up of the estate much more readily and cheaply than can be done by means of the Insolvent Court, and this, it is hoped, will be pleased before the House rises for the Christmas holidays.
The following vessels have arrived from British and Foreign ports since our last: Nov. 15. - Aldivalloch, from Foo Chow Foo; Shalimar, from Liverpool; Alfred, from London.  16 - Joseph Holmes, from Calcutta; Matilda, from Liverpool.
20 - Santiago, from New York.  23 - Bosphorus, from Rangoon. 24 - Victoria, from Boston.  28 - Konninklyk Nederlandesche, from Rotterdam.  29 - Marie et Nelie, from Foo Chow Foo; Lady Ann, from Manila; Governor General Dvan Twist, from Rotterdam;  Heloise, from San Francisco.  Dec. 1. - Autocrat, from Boston.  4 - Henrietta Brewis, from Calcutta. 8 - Mary Scott, from Ilo Ilo; Princeza, from Mauritius. 10 - Alhambra from Southampton; Lansdowne from London.
The following vessels have sailed during the same period: - No. 13. - E,A.Bright, for London. 16 - Omar Pasha for London. 17 - True Briton, for London.  23 - Mary Fry, for Manilla; Donald McKay, for Liverpool;  Linda, for Batagoda 25. Gernal Michaelis, for Batavia;  Thomas Blythe, for Guam.  28. - Madras, R.M.S.S. for Point de Galle, 29 - Ecliptic, for Mauritius;  Lightning, for London.  Dec. 1. - Wilhelmine, for Mauritius; Greyhound, fo Point de Galle.  Dec.2. - Prince of Wales for London. 5. - Dudel, for Calcutta; Decena, for Batavia.  6. - King of Algeria, for Point de Galle.  10. Boanerges, for Hong Kong.


Nothing has been heard of Stuart, the South Australian explorer.  He has been absent with his party longer than was expected, nearly twelve months, and some anxiety is beginning to be felt concerning them.  But Mr. Stuart is not only an old explorer, but an old bushman, and is not, therefore likely to have rushed into unforeseen difficulties.  He may have crossed the continent, and at this moment be looking for a vessel to pick him and his party up on the other side.  At any rate, no news, in such a case, is good news.
Landsborough, the Queensland explorer, had a salver and an exceedingly handsome and appropriate service of plate  presented to him in Melbourne, on the 12th of November.  It bore the following Inscription: -  "To William Landsborough, Esq., Commander of the Expedition from Carpentaria in search of Burke and Wills, this salver and the accompanying pieces of plate are presented by numerous friends and admirers in Victoria, to express their appreciation of the courage and skill with which he successfully crossed this continent and opened up a vast territory,j won from the desert for Australian enterprise and for civilisation.  Melbourne, 12th November, 1862".   The presentation took place in the Exhibition Building, and His Excellency Sir Henry Barkly addressed Mr. Landsborough thus on the occasion: - " I have been deputed, Mr. Landsborough, by my co-subscribers to present to you the accompanying service of plate, in testimony of our high appreciation of the courage and skill displayed by you as as leader of the expedition despatched [dispatched]  under the joint auspices of the Governments of Queensland and of Victoria to the Gulf of Carpentaria; in search of these illustrious yet ill-fated explorers.  Burke and Wills.  Long before you were fortunately elected to fill that arduous post, by so competent a judge as Mr. Gregory, the Surveyor-General of Queensland, you had acquired reputation in that colony as a skilful and experienced bushman.  You had been engaged, in fact, ever since 1853 in seeking fresh pasturage, and had, with the scanty means places at your disposal by private enterprise, penetrated into well grassed and well watered regions bordering on those which you were afterwards destined, in the course of that expedition, to traverse. How admirably, after such training


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