A Lady's Visit To The Gold Diggings Of Australia In 1852-53 By Mrs Charles (Ellen) Clacy




















































































































 - A Lady's Visit to the Gold Diggings of Australia in 1852-53

by Mrs Charles (Ellen) Clacy



CONTENTS


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A Lady's Visit To The Gold Diggings Of Australia In 1852-53

By Mrs Charles (Ellen) Clacy

CONTENTS

Chapter I. INTRODUCTORY REMARKS Chapter II. THE VOYAGE OUT Chapter III. STAY IN MELBOURNE Chapter IV. CAMPING UP - MELBOURNE TO THE BLACK FOREST Chapter V. CAMPING UP - BLACK FOREST TO EAGLE HAWK GULLY Chapter VI. THE DIGGINGS Chapter VII. EAGLE HAWK GULLY Chapter VIII. AN ADVENTURE Chapter IX. HARRIETTE WALTERS Chapter X. IRONBARK GULLY Chapter XI. FOREST CREEK Chapter XII. RETURN TO MELBOURNE Chapter XIII. BALLARAT Chapter XIV. NEW SOUTH WALES Chapter XV. SOUTH AUSTRALIA Chapter XVI. MELBOURNE AGAIN Chapter XVII. HOMEWARD BOUND Chapter XVIII. CONCLUSION APPENDIX. WHO SHOULD EMIGRATE?

Chapter I.

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

It may be deemed presumptuous that one of my age and sex should venture to give to the public an account of personal adventures in a land which has so often been descanted upon by other and abler pens; but when I reflect on the many mothers, wives, and sisters in England, whose hearts are ever longing for information respecting the dangers and privations to which their relatives at the antipodes are exposed, I cannot but hope that the presumption of my undertaking may be pardoned in consideration of the pleasure which an accurate description of some of the Australian Gold Fields may perhaps afford to many; and although the time of my residence in the colonies was short, I had the advantage (not only in Melbourne, but whilst in the bush) of constant intercourse with many experienced diggers and old colonists - thus having every facility for acquiring information respecting Victoria and the other colonies.

It was in the beginning of April, 185-, that the excitement occasioned by the published accounts of the Victoria "Diggings," induced my brother to fling aside his Homer and Euclid for the various "Guides" printed for the benefit of the intending gold-seeker, or to ponder over the shipping columns of the daily papers. The love of adventure must be contagious, for three weeks after (so rapid were our preparations) found myself accompanying him to those auriferous regions. The following pages will give an accurate detail of my adventures there - in a lack of the marvellous will consist their principal faults but not even to please would I venture to turn uninteresting truth into agreeable fiction. Of the few statistics which occur, I may safely say, as of the more personal portions, that they are strictly true.

Chapter II.

THE VOYAGE OUT

Everything was ready - boxes packed, tinned, and corded; farewells taken, and ourselves whirling down by rail to Gravesend - too much excited - too full of the future to experience that sickening of the heart, that desolation of the feelings, which usually accompanies an expatriation, however voluntary, from the dearly loved shores of one's native land. Although in the cloudy month of April, the sun shone brightly on the masts of our bonny bark, which lay in full sight of the windows of the "Old Falcon," where we had taken up our temporary quarters. The sea was very rough, but as we were anxious to get on board without farther delay, we entrusted our valuable lives in a four-oared boat, despite the dismal prognostications of our worthy host. A pleasant row that was, at one moment covered over with salt-water - the next riding on the top of a wave, ten times the size of our frail conveyance - then came a sudden concussion - in veering our rudder smashed into a smaller boat, which immediately filled and sank, and our rowers disheartened at this mishap would go no farther. The return was still rougher - my face smarted dreadfully from the cutting splashes of the salt-water; they contrived, however, to land us safely at the "Old Falcon," though in a most pitiable plight; charging only a sovereign for this delightful trip - very moderate, considering the number of salt-water baths they had given us gratis. In the evening a second trial proved more successful, and we reached our vessel safely.

A first night on board ship has in it something very strange, and the first awakening in the morning is still more so. To find oneself in a space of some six feet by eight, instead of a good-sized room, and lying in a cot, scarce wide enough to turn round in, as a substitute for a four-post bedstead, reminds you in no very agreeable manner that you have exchanged the comforts of Old England for the "roughing it" of a sea life. The first sound that awoke me was the "cheerily" song of the sailors, as the anchor was heaved - not again, we trusted, to be lowered till our eyes should rest on the waters of Port Philip. And then the cry of "raise tacks and sheets" (which I, in nautical ignorance, interpreted "hay-stacks and sheep") sent many a sluggard from their berths to bid a last farewell to the banks of the Thames.

In the afternoon we parted company with our steam-tug, and next morning, whilst off the Isle of Wight, our pilot also took his departure. Sea-sickness now became the fashion, but, as I cannot speak from experience of its sensations, I shall altogether decline the subject. On Friday, the 30th, we sighted Stark Point; and as the last speck of English land faded away in the distance, an intense feeling of misery crept over me, as I reflected that perchance I had left those most dear to return to them no more. But I forget; a description of private feelings is, to uninterested readers, only so much twaddle, besides being more egotistical than even an account of personal adventures could extenuate; so, with the exception of a few extracts from my "log," I shall jump at once from the English Channel to the more exciting shores of Victoria.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 5, lat. 45 degrees 57 minutes N., long. 11 degrees 45 minutes W. - Whilst off the Bay of Biscay, for the first time I had the pleasure of seeing the phosphoric light in the water, and the effect was indeed too beautiful to describe.

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