sioners are strongly advising the miners against running the risk of seeing the winter out. Pollock and his brother, the discoverers of Kiandra (who knowing this part of the country well), are of a like opinion. They tell me that the snows of winter fill the gullies to the depth of twenty or thirty feet, and one of them has himself waded through it three feet deep, in crossing some of the hills here to reach a place known as Lob's hole. They (the brothers Pollock) feel confident, however, that the whole country about here, over a radius of some twenty miles, is auriferous, and that next summer will witness the opening up of gold fields surpassing in richness any that have hitherto been revealed. In the meantime they candidly and honestly advise people to remain no longer than April in this spot, as, in addition to the severity of the season, they may find it a matter of impossibility to procure a sufficient supply of provisions. The government camp will close, I understand from Commissioner Lynch, in the beginning of next month, and notice to that effect has been giving to the diggers.
With such ample caution, it will be their own fault if, deceived by the present fine weather, they hang on here until they find themselves shut in by the snows of winter. For my own part, I think those will act wisely who take the advice giving by men who know the place, and who intend themselves to adopt the course, they recommend to others. So much for the weather, and the prospect which is before people who come up here at so late a period of the season.
"Well-to-do diggers are not generally very communicative, and I cannot, in consequence, report any individual cases of success. The nature of the workings proves, however, that some five or six hundred are making their "piles" rapidly. At the camp, on Friday afternoon, I handled a splendid nugget, 14 lb weight, which had just been found by a young man named Perry ( I think, of Parramatta). It was discovered in some surface diggings on the western side of the river, about a quarter of a mile from Commissioner's camp. It is of a brick-like shape, thickly studded with burnt quartz, And contains, I should think, 11 lb of gold. Another nugget which I inspected weighs 29ozs 13 dwts, and is of kidney shape containing about 3 ozs or 4 ozs of white quartz. Both these nuggets will leave by the next escort, which will be a heavy one in the opinion of the commissioners. I learn on pretty good authority that a man named Pearson (from Sydney) is making, in a bed claim, from 30 ozs to 60 ozs per day for the last three weeks. Other persons from Sydney and Adelong are also getting the gold from the river bed in large quantities. Some of the claims in the dry diggings are also paying well - at least such must be presumed from the fact of their being worked so vigorously. The sinking varies in the river from five to ten feet, and in the dry diggings from eight to twenty feet.
" The population here numbers, I should say, 3000, but is gradually decreasing, people who come up without means being unable to lose time in prospecting for new ground. The diggers are mostly camped in calico tents, on the hills near the timber, while the owners of bed-claims are located near the creek, without wood, and in a most unhealthy position. These latter pay from 10s. to £1 per load for their firing, which has to be carted about half-a-mile from the hills. The water is clear and good, but causes some persons to suffer dreadfully from griping on first using it. There are plenty of stores and butcheries on the ground, and supplies are obtainable at what what may be termed moderate prices.
"I append you the latest quotations: Flour, 10d. lb; bread, 2s.6d. per 2 lb loaf; mutton, fore quarter 5s, hind quarter 6s; ten 3s.6d. to 4s. 6d. per lb.;sugar 9d. to 1s; prospecting dishes, 10s., picks and shovels 10s. to 12s.each; strong boots, 25s. to 40s. per pair, cradles, scarce, £5 to £6.
In a subsequent letter, dated 14th March, he notes that flour was 9d. per lb.
On Sunday, the 11th March, many diggers started for a new place, about 9 miles on, south westerly, where it was said good surface diggings existed, yielding 2 dwts to the bucket. But in the letter of the 14th March he states that they returned disappointed, the spot proving failure. Another place was also talked of, some fourteen miles distant, southerly, but the diggers had not been able to find it, although some had been searching for it for two days. Men, however, were prospecting all around, over an area of seven or eight square miles; but whether they would discover anything payable before the snow set in was doubtful.
It appears that the diggers themselves were nearly all of opinion that Kiandra must be abandoned in April for the winter, and that the store-keepers were endeavouring to clear out all their stores in expectation of the place being then deserted. But some at least of the diggers intended to remain and brave the winter, and in some cases those persons had brought their wives and children with them. Their intention to do this was deprecated by the officials, and by all who knew the locality, as almost certain to lead to numerous deaths from exposure and cold. Between the writing of these two letters the correspondent notes that a heavy rain during one night had been followed by dense fogs and intense colds, and a strong cutting wind. The site for a township had been selected to be inhabited in the spring and many parties were anxious to select sites for houses.
The Rev. Mr. Druitt, of the Church of England, visited the diggings from Cooma on Sunday, the 11th March.
The population on the diggings was decreasing, from the numbers returning disappointed, although so plentiful as the yield from the limited locality found to be so rich, that the commissioners estimated the daily production of gold at 500 ounces. Agents of the banks were buying at £3 11s, to £3 12s.per ounce; some parcels were bringing only £3 10s.
A good many persons of bad character were on the diggings, and robberies were frequently reported. Many of the thieves and gamblers were supposed to be from Melbourne, and were not known to the N.S.Wales police on the ground. Some Victoria policemen were required. Sly-grog shops were very numerous and very little concealment of their trade was attempted.
The Herald of Tuesday also publishes three letters (signed) from diggers to their friends in Sydney, giving the same general statements, and confirming that the payable ground was very limited, that many persons disappointed and that the weather was expected to be too severe in the winter for any one to live there.
The Goulburn papers report that similar warning letters had reached that town, but, nevertheless, the up-coaches were still crowded with intending diggers bound for the Snowy, and numerous drays, loaded with goods and stores, were on the road, by each of the accessible routes.
We have also been favoured with the perusal of two more letters, written by Maitlanders who had reached the Snowy. Both were dated 11 March: but as their contents merely corroborate the above report, it is unnecessary to quote them at length. The writer of one seems doubtful whether the winter is so bad there as reported.
To all this may be added the following, from the Herald of the 23rd inst. and our readers must form their own opinion of it:
Gundegai, Thursday 7.30 p.m.
"The escort has arrived. All doubts that did exist as to the yield of these diggings is now removed, for the escort has brought down from the Snowy River and Adelong 6359 ounces. The greater portion of this large amount is direct from the Snowy, which was augmented on arrival at Tumut by some small amount from Adelong, and that received at Tumut by private hands.
"The parties in charge of the escort report that a considerable amount still remained behind, which they were unable to bring, and I hear, on reliable authority, that the next will be considerably more than the present escort.
"The Chief Commissioner of Gold-fields and the Superintendent of Patrol passed through Gundagai on their return on Tuesday last.
"Flour is quoted on the diggings at £6 per bag.
"The increase in population still continues. Every one, without exception, that I have spoken to are determined
upon returning in the spring. The diggings may be compared to a large prospecting party. The lateness of the season prevents many from entering into anything with determination. Wages are still high, although numbers are there doing literally nothing. There is a very large quantity of gold still at the camp, which the escorts could not possibly bring, as they had not horses enough. There were three pack horses with escort fro Kiandra. It is reported that the banks are hard-up for money, but that there is plenty of gold.
" Two new rushes discovered, but a great effort made to keep it a secret till next spring. The Tumut rush nugget reported to you from the Goulburn Chronicle turns out a hoax. Sticking up is of very frequent occurrence, and there are numbers living by fraud, thieving, and rowdyism. The police are full of work, and have more than they can do. Mr. Assistant Commissioner Lynch was in command of the escort from Kiandra, with seven mounted troopers, well armed, and determined to stand by their commander like true Britons."
It is reported that here have been some important auriferous discoveries near the head waters of the Yarra. The discovery has been made by a man of the name of McDonald, who has applied to the Government for assistance to pursue his explorations. A sum of £30.000 has been appropriated by the Legislature for prospecting - to rewarding the discoverers of gold-fields - but it has not yet been decided how the money will be apportioned. A sum of £50,000 has also been voted for supplying water to the gold-fields: and the mining population are looking anxiously forward for the accomplishment of this desideratum.
JOURNAL OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY.
The month of March has been an important one in commercial circles. At one time a panic was threatened but fortunately the cloud blew over early in the month. The old-established house of W.M.Bell and Co. considered it necessary to call a meeting of their creditors. A balance-sheet was submitted showing liabilities to the amount of £43,000. A composition of 5s. in the pound was effected. Messrs. Rae, Dickson and Co., another old-established and respectable firm, have also been compelled to wind up their estate in trust, the deficiency of liabilities over assets being £19.783. After the arrival of the English mail on the 11th, it was announced that Messrs. Alex. Wilson, Nephew, and Co. had called their creditors together, their stoppage having been caused by the suspension at home of the firm of E.J.Wheeler and Co. the estate has been placed in the hands of trustees for adjustment. The liabilities are not heavy, and it is not believed that any loss will be sustained. The next day Messrs. Henrique Brotliers called their creditors together, and an offer made by them of 20s. in the pound, to be payable at a certain time, with interest, was unanimously accepted. The firm of A.King and Co., of Flinders-lane, have stopped payment for £2,000. Messrs. Symons and Perry, the auctioneers, addressed a circular to their creditors, and a meeting was held on the 24th. A statement of affairs was then submitted. This temporary stoppage arose out of the dissolution of the partnership. The estate was released by the creditors, on the partners each agreeing to pay the sum of £2500, in order to facilitate the