Hints to gold prospectors [13 October 1856]

[Editor: An article in which a gold digger’s experiences are given. Published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 October 1856.]

Hints to gold prospectors.

We have great pleasure in being enabled to publish the following interesting communication from “A late Digger,” in reference to the auriferous resources of a large extent of the New England and Clarence Districts:—

In the winter of 1853 a party of experienced diggers from the Rocky prospected the country between Armidale, Grafton, and Tenterfield. As the result of their trip was never made public, I forward a few memoranda, furnished by one of the party, hoping they maybe of use to future prospectors. It will be perceived that over all the space prospected, comprising an area of nearly 10,000 square miles, few places were tried without finding gold more or less, but the places indicated as being specially worthy the attention of diggers are Nimboi, Boundary Creek, on the Clarence; and Chandler’s Creek, Rogerson’s Table Land, and Glen Elgin, in New England.

We commenced prospecting on Tilbuster and Cameron’s Creeks, but they are now so well known that I think it unnecessary to say anything about them. We then proceeded to Rock Vale (Mr. M’Lennan’s), where we found a few specks, but nothing to encourage us to prospect closely.

In Chandler’s Creek, on Mr. Hall’s station, we got a prospect which would have tempted us to remain and sink, had we not been anxious to go on to Clode’s Creek, concerning which we had heard favourable reports. In a crevice about a mile above the Armidale road, we found a piece of gold about the size of half a split pea, besides some smaller specks. I think this creek and its tributaries well worthy the attention of prospectors. From Hall’s station to the Snowy Mountains we found nothing, although the country seems likely — resembling the Rocky. On the eastern side of the Snowy the country changes, and is not the least like a gold country till near Blaxland’s River, where it again changes. This river, and the upper part of Clode’s Creek, we prospected without any success. In the lower part of the latter creek, and other creeks falling into the Nimboi River (the Mitchell), down as far as the junction of Ross’s River, gold occurs in small quantities. In a creek which falls into the river about four miles below Nimboi — Boundary Creek — we got a prospect according to which we thought a man might make about 5s. per day by washing the loose drift. In the gullies falling into the head of this creek and Clode’s Creek, gold of a nuggety description has been got. If the Grafton people would bestir themselves, and give encouragement to some of the return Rocky diggers, I think it probable that a payable gold-field would be found within 30 miles of their township.

All the way up Ross’s River (the Boyd) fine specks are to be found, but owing to a flood we were unable to prospect it, and as our provisions were getting scarce we pushed on to Newton-Boyd (on the Mann), we again tried, without success. We then proceeded to Glen Elgin, where we got encouraging prospects. In some crevices at the first cataract we got eight ounces in four days, and on the ranges near it we found coarse specks like pin-heads. The gold here is similar to that found on the Rocky, but in general coarser. Red and blue stones or crystals are also more abundant than on the Rocky.

After trying and finding specks in all the creeks between Glen Elgin and Morven (12 miles), we crossed the main range — here called “The Magistrates” — to the western waters. In Bolivia Creek we found nothing, but in the Mole River and Dundee Creek (branches of the Severn) we got a few specks, as also in Shannon Vale, on the eastern side of the range.

On a small piece of table land between Rogerson’s and Hall’s (Mount Mitchell station), where the waters fall into a deep gulch behind Mr. Rawson’s, we got a prospect which would have encouraged us to remain and sink, but having been nearly six months out from Armidale, we were getting tired of it, so proceeded on to Mount Mitchell and Oban. We got gold at both of the latter places, but at the time did not think either of them would turn out a workable field.

The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, NSW), 13 October 1856, p. 3

[Editor: Corrected “wtthout any” to “without any”.]

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