[Editor: This article, about the discovery of gold in Bendigo, was published in The Age (Melbourne, Vic.), 24 October 1890.]
The discovery of the Bendigo goldfield.
In the Victorian Legislative Assembly yesterday Mr. Bailes brought up the subjoined report of the select committee appointed to inquire into and report upon the claims of Henry Frencham, of Richmond, as discoverer of the Bendigo goldfield:—
1. Your committee have held seven meetings, and have taken the evidence of 23 witnesses, most of whom were pioneers on the Bendigo goldfield. Your committee have also received a large number of written communications bearing on the discovery of gold at Bendigo, some of which have been printed, and appear in the appendices.
2. As soon as the fact was made public that an inquiry was being held as to the discovery of gold at Bendigo, your committee received numerous letters from persons claiming to be either the actual discoverers of the gold field, or deserving of consideration in connection with the discovery. No less than 12 such claims, in addition to the claim of Henry Frencham, were submitted to your committee during the course of their proceedings from the following persons, viz.:— Frederick Fenton, Mrs. Margaret Kennedy, Patrick Peter Farrell, William Henry Johnson, Edward Pepperell, Henry Byass, William Sandbach (on behalf of William Johnson), William Steward, Robert Francis Walker, David Dunlop, John Paton (on behalf of William Steward and the widow of Christian Asquith), Mrs. John Barnett (widow of Christian Asquith’s son).
3. At this distance of time from the eventful discovery of gold at Bendigo it is scarcely to be wondered at that there should be great difficulty in ascertaining who was the actual discoverer, and after carefully considering the evidence and the documents submitted to them, your committee are of opinion that it would be most difficult, if not impossible, to decide that question now, but there is no doubt that Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs. Farrell had obtained gold before Henry Frencham arrived on the Bendigo Creek.
4. Your committee find that Henry Frencham’s claim to be the discoverer of gold at Bendigo has not been sustained, but that he was the first to report the discovery of payable gold at Bendigo to the Commissioner at Forest Creek.
5. Your committee have come to the determination that the first place at which gold was discovered on Bendigo was at what is now known as Golden-square, called by the station hands in 1851 “The Rock,” a point about 200 yards to the west of the junction of Golden Gully with the Bendigo Creek.
6. Your committee have also endeavored to ascertain from what source, and at what time, the name of “Bendigo” arose. The evidence given leads your committee to the opinion that the place was called “Bendigo” as far back as 1840, and that it was so called after an employé on that portion of the Ravenswood station which afterwards became known as “the Bendigo Goldfield.”
The report was received and ordered to be printed.
The Age (Melbourne, Vic.), 24 October 1890, p. 7
Also published in:
The Geelong Advertiser (Geelong, Vic.), 24 October 1890, p. 3 [abridged text]
The Bendigo Advertiser (Sandhurst
[Bendigo], Vic.), 24 October 1890, p. 2
The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic.), 25 October 1890, p. 796 (24th page of that issue)
The Brisbane Courier (Brisbane, Qld.), 30 October 1890, p. 6
The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld.), 8 November 1890, p. 890 (26th page of that issue)
Bailes = Alfred Shrapnell Bailes (1849-1928), hotel-keeper and politician; he was born in Baltonsborough (Somerset, England) in 1849, came to Australia circa 1852, was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Victoria (1886-1894, 1897-1907), and died in Hampton (Victoria) in 1928
See: 1) “Alfred Shrapnell Bailes”, Parliament of Victoria
2) “Alfred Shrapnell Bailes”, Wikipedia
employé = an archaic form of “employee”; plural: employés (employees)
Henry Frencham = (1816-1897), journalist and gold-miner; he was born in Wexford (Ireland) in 1816, came to Australia in 1840, and died in Richmond (Victoria) in 1897
See: 1) Donald S. Garden, “Frencham, Henry (1816–1897)”, Australian Dictionary of Biography
2) “Henry Frencham 1816”, Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO)
viz. = (Latin) an abbreviation of “videlicet” (a contraction of the Latin phrase “videre licet”), meaning “it is permitted to see” (the “z” derives from the z-shaped Latin shorthand symbol for “et”, as used in the Tironian shorthand style); in actual practice, “viz.” is used as a synonym for “in other words”, “namely”, “that is to say”, “to wit”, or “which is” (used when giving further details about something, or giving a list of specific examples or items)