[Editor: This article was published in the “Local intelligence” section of Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (Sydney, NSW), 3 May 1851.]
“Our” gold diggings.
— A fitting retribution is awaiting those who, lured by the exaggerated announcements of the facilities and advantages held out to gold seekers in the inhospitable and death-fraught regions of California, flocked in shoals from Australia’s equally fortune-favored shores, to struggle for possession of the glittering treasure, amidst privations and sufferings of which no adequate description has ever been suffered to appear in the interested press of that extraordinary country.
It is now ascertained beyond question that GOLD ABOUNDS IN THIS CONTINENT! — to what extent we have yet to learn. Of the fact there is undeniable proof; and the Government is so satisfied of the reality of the brilliant prospect dawning upon our beautiful country, that it has already in contemplation the expediency of at once issuing licenses for the disembowelling of the precious metal from its hiding places.
The following may be relied upon as an authentic statement of the circumstances which led to the development of the invaluable secret:—
A Mr Hargraves, of Brisbane Water, who had emigrated to California, returned to this country in the early part of the present year, convinced, from his observations of the geological formation, and general features of the American El Dorada, that gold must exist in several districts of this Colony. Imbued with this conviction, he immediately on his return commenced a systematic research in the quarters he deemed most favorable, and on the 12th February last, procured substantial confirmation of his opinion. He then placed himself in communication with the Government, which, while admitting the discoverer’s claim for consideration, declined making any definite promise until the probable extent and value of the gold field had been more clearly and conclusively established.
The interesting question is now in course of solution by Mr Hargraves, in connection with Mr Stutchbury the Geological Surveyor, and the report of these gentlemen will be eagerly looked for. It is certain, however, that three men, with very indifferent machinery at command, in three days exhumed gold to the value of £2 4s. 8d. each per diem: one of them securing a piece weighing upwards of two ounces. Far be it from us unduly to excite the public mind, but private communications having confirmed to our satisfaction the reality of the discovery, we deem it right to give it unreserved publicity.
Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (Sydney, NSW), 3 May 1851, p. 2
diem = (Latin) day
El Dorada = (commonly spelt “El Dorado”) (Spanish) “the gilded one”; a place of abundant wealth (especially of gold) or great opportunity; this was a reference to a wealthy gold-laden land or city that was believed to be located somewhere in South America; “the gilded one” (someone covered in gold) was originally a reference to a South American tribal chief who, as an initiation rite, covered himself with gold dust and dove into a lake
Hargraves = Edward Hargraves (1816-1891), gold-seeker, was born in Gosport (Hampshire, England) in 1816, he came to Australia in 1832, went to the Californian goldfields in 1849-1850, returned to Australia in January 1851, and died in Sydney in 1891; he was widely regarded as the first discoverer of a payable goldfield; he publicly claimed the discovery of the Ophir goldfields in 1851
See: 1) Bruce Mitchell, “Hargraves, Edward Hammond (1816–1891)”, Australian Dictionary of Biography
2) “Edward Hargraves”, Wikipedia
shoal = a school of fish, a large number of fish; a large number of sea animals (of the same type)
[Editor: Changed “placed him-himself” to “placed himself”.]
[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]