John H. W. Pettit letters to his family in England, illustrated with sketches by the writer, 1852-1868 - Page 43

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enough here nobody takes any notice of appearance  -  What with my rough long beard & dirty appearance, I pass very well for what is termed an 'Old Chum" i.e. an old digger  -  Our tent is situated nearby at the farther part of the diggings from Melb. [Melbourne] -  going towards Melb. from here.  We should pass thro' [through] a space of 1/2 doz. Miles  -  all  [?] up to many parts { a great dist.ce [distance] on both sides  -  lined the whole way with tent stores.  etc. etc.  Our immediate locality is called Campbells flat.  We are [?] off for both water & Wood - two very steep hills { rocky [?] trees are on both sides of us, & ranges of good Mountains running in all directions which may be seen in the Distance from these hills  - beyond [?] 'Bryers Creek' diggings but the whole way you will see t[?] of diggings  -  prospecting parties  -  new soil lying in little  patches on the grass round holes  -  the country all round the Mnt. as far as the eye can reach is woody  -  the illustrations in [indecipherable] 'London News' convey a very good idea of the character of the country in many parts  -  the Creek runs just below us  -  at least it runs in the winter time  -  just now it is but a number of water holes, or ponds  -  if we want wood for firing or any such purpose  -  good or bad, large or small  -  making free with whatever the country produces  -  it seemed strange to me at first, when lopping a fine lofty tree  -  I could hardly help turning my head round to see if I was observed  - almost questioning within myself the right I had to do so  -  fancy cutting down a large tree to get a small piece from the top  -  just partaking what you might want leaving the rest to rot  -  the trees are mostly lofty  -  the principal part of the foliage is at the top. Will now give you a slight sketch of Gold digging [?] [Mark 1?]  -  
One or two, as the case may be take a look round to select his spot  - taking a pick to shovel with him  -  each man {if by himself} is allowed to make a claim of a 8ft sq. [8 feet square]  -  wherever he pleases, provided he does not interfere with the ground belonging to [word crossed out] any one else  - 16 ftsq. is the largest size space that is allowed to be worked no matter the number that forms the party  -  suppose a party to have made his claim which is done by putting down a deposit the soil beyond which [?] any one else can claim  -  it is usual however to make the claim and sink a moderate sized hole in the centre  -  some prefer them oblong others round.  The first hole I was employed upon was with Robt. [Robert] for a partner.  It was about 10ft long, by abt. [about] 6ft 6 wide, sinking which down about 6ft. the soil on the edges from ours & the surround:  holes being 2 or 3 ft high, it was as high as we could justly hitch up.  We left a ledge of about ½ size of hole  -  sinking the other portion down, [crossed out] one picking up throwing it up, going down about 7 or 8 ft.  We came onto what is called the bottom or the rock where the gold is usually deposited  - the soil in which the gold is found is called washing stuff  - our washg. stuff in this case, was dark clay, piper clay to the rotten slate rocks, all which was carefully picked and sent up in buckets, picking out, scrapg [scraping] with a knife all the deposit in the corregated [?] rugged bottom  - this is carried down to the creek, placed in large [?] full of water puddled  - that is stirred & tossed about until the clay moves with the water - this is done several times until the stones are left clean with both sand grit etc. of course remains -  the water being poured off

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