28 January 1862, Southern Cross
To the Editor of the Southern Cross
Sir, - We the undersigned diggers from Victoria wish to intimate to the public of Auckland, through your paper, the result of an interview which we had with the government this morning on the subject of the Coromandel gold fields.
We stated that in consequence or what we had seen in the Gazette, we had been induced to come down in large numbers from Otago, for the purpose of thoroughly prospecting the Coromandel district, and asked what protection the government were prepared to afford us in the event of our striking a payable gold field, the answer was, none. We also asked if any reward would be offered for the discovery of a payable gold field, and were told that a reward would no doubt be given by the provincial government if such were the case, but the general government had no such intention at present. We were rather surprised, but wish to make no comments, and leave it to the public to decide whether such a course of conduct is likely to be conducive to the public welfare. We are, sir, your obedient servants.
S. E. Austin, John Provis, John Johnson, John Garrod, Joseph Grumpe.
7th February 1862, Shipping Intelligence, Southern Cross
The 'Clutha' schooner, 150 tons, Captain Anderson, arrived here yesterday morning from Otago, which she left on the 15th inst. Experienced light, contrary, and southeast winds up to the 20th, when a fresh breeze from the south sprung up carrying the 'Clutha' to Cape Colville, which was made on the morning of the 23rd, (yesterday) and Auckland was fetched at 10.30am. The 'Clutha' 53 male steerage and 4 cabin passengers, William George, Alfred Edmonds, George Rout, Emily Rout. The steerage passengers are principally experienced diggers from Victoria, who are disposed to try their luck at the Coromandel ranges. - Ibid
7 February 1862 Southern Cross
Coromandel Gold-Fields. - We were shown yesterday some fine specimens of gold quartz dug on native land at the head of "Coolahan's" reef, by a party of Europeans who have been prospecting in this district. We likewise had an opportunity of examining the gold after the quartz had been passed through a crushing (Chilian) machine. It is of good average quality, and judging by the unbroken specimens of ore which we saw, the percentage of metal is very large. Our informant speaks very favourably of the district generally, but states that the most valuable fields are not, in his opinion, on the land in which permission to dig has been granted. The natives appear perfectly to understand the arrangements entered into, and keep a constant watch over the diggers, or rather prospectors, so as to be enabled to interfere immediately any valuable find is made. The chiefs Peter and Ari-te-kuri have shown themselves well affected towards the Europeans, but no secret is made by any of the natives as to their intentions, and it will be necessary therefore for the government to be prepared in any case of any difficulty, the more so as many strangers from the neighbouring colonies, not accustomed to New Zealand ideas on aboriginal questions, are about to try their luck at these diggings. As many as thirty went down on Monday, and we understand that about sixty experienced diggers principally from Melbourne arrived by the 'Clutha' from Otago yesterday. It will be too late to endeavour to make any arrangements, if a collision should unfortunately occur, and we trust that no time will be lost by the government in placing relations on a permanent and satisfactory footing.- Ibid.
18 February 1862, Southern Cross
The debate in the Provincial Council in reference to Coromandel, on Wednesday evening, the 12th inst., revived the interest on that subject. The council most properly voted the sum of £500 to aid the prospecting parties in their search for gold. The resolution proposed by Mr King was, in our opinion, also wisely adopted by the council. We have frequently stated that the arrangements entered into with the Coromandel natives were unsatisfactory and this feeling being participated in by the community deterred parties resident in Auckland from risking their time and money on what, in all likelihood, would turn out to be a fool's errand. The question, on this account, did not excite much notice, until a large number of Victorian diggers arrived from Otago to prospect. The matter was again opened by these men, who acting on the Gazette notification, went down to Coromandel, but meeting with many obstacles, they were induced to write to the Government on the subject. The matter was brought before the provincial council by the Superintendent, and a letter from Mr. Sewell to his honour was read, pressing immediate action. There is a curious sentence in that letter which we will quote. Mr. Sewell,writes:-
"Some discouragement exists among the Victorian miners who have recently gone down to that district on account of the reserve made by the natives (as stated in the published agreement) of a tract containing the quartz reef supposed to be rich in gold." In the agreement, dated November 2, 1861, which appeared in the Gazette, the chiefs and people whose names were attached "fully and truly consent to permit all Europeans who desire to prospect for gold on our land to search for and to seek for such gold within all our lands from Wiaua to Cape Colville, even unto the sea on the eastern and on the western shores thereof." There is no reservation here, neither indeed was any made according to Mr McLean, except native cultivations and burying places. But this paragraph also appears in Mr McLean's report:- "A tract of country near Koputauaki has been reserved, in compliance with the wish of the deceased chief Paora Te Putu, to the effect that this land shall be worked by the natives. Some of this chief's immediate relatives have, however, waived their previous objections in favour of parties wishing to prospect on their lands." Now this is the "reserve" to which Mr. Sewell refers; and our readers will hardly credit the fact, when we inform them that it is the entire property of the chief Paul in that neighbourhood and which is known to old residents in Auckland to be rich in gold. Almost immediately after landing, therefore, the prospectors find a block of auriferous land, containing 70 square miles, closed against them.
The necessity for extinguishing the native title over the whole district is imperative and as Paul has land in plenty elsewhere, little difficulty need be found in the matter if the authorities go the right way about it. The public ought also to know that Pauls name is not signed to the agreement, while he absolutely prohibits Europeans from prospecting. There are also objections raised against prospecting by two native proprietors on the Mercury Bay side. It is pretty evident, therefore that Mr Preece's reports, to which Mr. Fox referred in his letter to Mr McLean, of the 14th Oct. last, misled the Government as to the nature and extent of the concessions made by the natives. Mr Turton has since gone down, and we hope that means will at last be taken to act an independent and rational part in relation to Coromandel. We would be sorry to advocate anything unfair to the natives, but the facts we have stated prove that the Government, perhaps unwittingly, have induced diggers to go to Coromandel on unfair representations. About twenty diggers have since arrived from the South, and the difficulty will increase weekly.
21 February 1862, Southern Cross
A number of the Victorian diggers retuned from Coromandel yesterday, and the majority purpose going to Sydney by the 'Kate', which sails today. This is to be regretted, but we do not wonder at the result. The government did not circulate unvarnished facts in the Gazette, and the organ of the government, the New Zealander, has not yet published the whole truth regarding Coromandel. The statements in that journal on Wednesday would be ludicrous were they not mischievous in their tendency. It is stated that the Superintendent went down to Coromandel, and that a meeting of the miners was held, at which, doubtless, both his honour and Dr. Pollen made a fair display of persuasive eloquence, and promised to expend the £500 voted by the provincial council in purchasing mining tools and otherwise assisting the prospectors. But what is the men to prospect over? They can only go on the land which has been frequently explored by experienced diggers, and they are shut out from seventy square miles of the most likely land in the country. This fact does not appear in the New Zealander, but is true notwithstanding and will account for the admission, that there were at present not more than thirty of the Victorian diggers in Coromandel. It is a mockery to talk of the goldfields of Coromandel, while the country is virtually closed against us, and it is wrong for the Government to induce men to come to this place on the faith of official statements in which, as we have shown in a previous issue, most important facts have been suppressed.
4 March 1862 Southern Cross
Yesterday Messrs Thomas McConnell and John Foley waited on us with a sample of gold from Coromandel, which they procured in two days, with their companions, numbering in all seven persons. These men have been offered £9 for the gold. The gold is of the same character as that frequently exhibited in this city from Coromandel, and the diggers give it as their opinion that they have succeeded in striking a paying lead. The statement made by Messrs. McConnell and Foley was to this effect. They went to the Waiau, about four miles inland, from Messrs. Ring's mill and prepared to sluice on land belonging to a European named Moore. Having bought timber and made sluicing boxes, they set to work on the creek down which the timber is floated to Roe and Shalder's mill. The sluice and dam was washed away the first day owing to the dam being let off above to float down the timber. Again the dam was constructed, the sluicing boxes fixed, and sluicing was resumed the second day; but again the freshet from the upper dam carried away the sluicing boxes and dam of the miners, who gave up the attempt to work the lead, with the result we have already stated.
McConnell is an Australian digger of considerable experience. He has also worked four years at the Nelson diggings, and has been at Otago. Foley and the rest of the party are Victorian diggers. They state that the natives refused to allow them to prospect on likely spots; but that they made their way across the ranges to Mercury Bay, and on their way discovered traces of gold wherever they tried, but not in paying quantities. They were not allowed to make a trial of the quartz reefs. These men purpose trying the Hunua district, where quartz has recently been discovered They state they are willing to prospect the country thoroughly for £1 per week each and expenses paid and allege that the Victorian diggers never will consent to carry provisions through the New Zealand bush, and that this is a serious difficulty in the way of opening the Coromandel district. These men likewise declare that it would be quite possible to cut a bullock dray track across the ranges to Mercury Bay, and thus enable diggers to procure food and other supplies on the line, without the toil of carrying it themselves over a rugged country and which of necessity must practically close it.
As this party has demonstrated that paying wages may be made on European land in Coromandel, we hope steps will be taken to open it as soon as possible with roads of some kind. The obstructions raised by the natives are great enough , but we have it in our power to remove or greatly lessen those of a physical character on those districts which we possess. This is a subject deserving the attention of the Provincial council, which will, we hope, take the initiative, by passing a resolution expressing a willingness to vote the necessary funds to open up the district, by the formation of dray roads, and the establishment of food depots. By these means it is possible to fix a large mining population on European territory and then no doubt the natives will see it to be their advantage to throw open the reserve blocks and become partakers of the wealth of the district.
4 March 1862, Southern Cross, The Auckland Gold Fields
We have elsewhere reported the success that attended a party of seven diggers at Coromandel, while sluicing for two days, and likewise the practical observations of the men who waited on us. These will be read with very considerable interest at the present time, when such necessity exists for developing the auriferous wealth of Auckland Province. Wellington has entered on the race in a spirited manner, so has Nelson with every prospect for success and a rumour was rife in Napier before the 'Traveller's Bride' left for Auckland, that quartz had been discovered towards the north of the Province. The news from Otago leads us to anticipate a large increase to our mining population, and therefore no plan should be left untried to prospect the country as well as possible, before their arrival, so as to direct them to the best locations.
A party of 12 diggers will go to the Karaka district in company of Mr Francis White, on Monday and we hope the Provincial Executive will devote part of the £500 originally voted for Coromandel towards paying their expenses. They purpose remaining there two months, and have expressed themselves satisfied with the character of the quartz fetched from Karaka. It is probable that this party or possibly another body of men may also go the Manukau ranges while the recent extensive quartz discoveries in the Hunua will undoubtedly attract prospecting parties to that easy and accessible country.
7 March 1862 Southern Cross, Shipping Intelligence
The 'Robert and Betsy' arrived at Auckland from Otago, via Wellington, on Monday evening last, after an unusually long passage of 32 days. The Wellington Independent of the 7th has the following relating to this craft:- "She put into this harbour yesterday forenoon for supplies, having run out of bread and water. She sailed from Otago on the 23rd ult., and has experienced extremely boisterous weather. She has 48 miners on board who are proceeding to the Coromandel diggings to try their luck. Large numbers of persons were still pouring into Otago from the Australian Colonies, and numbers are leaving. The weather has been very rough on the diggings, and had considerably impeded the operations of the miners." - "Southern Cross," February 28.
The schooner 'Salcombe Castle,' Captain James, arrived on Saturday evening from Otago, after a run of 14 days. Capt. James brought a number of diggers.-Ibid.
10 March 1862 Southern Cross Monthly Shipping
(Inwards) on the 10th, 'Benjamin Heape' barque, 261 tons, Moore from Melbourne. Passengers, Mrs Jefferys, Mr and Mrs Cole and 2 children, Messers. Von Tempsky, Brennan and Robinson.
(Outwards Coastal) 'Avenger' 32 tons, Trayte for Otago via Coromandel with 30,000 feet timber to be shipped at Coromandel.
(Outwards Coastal) ' Rita' 192 tons, R. Firth, with 140,000ft Kauri timber and passengers, L. DeGyssie, W. Cominat, N. Hutchinson, Mr and Mrs King, Cook, J Elwood, J. Wood,
14 March 1862 Shipping Intelligence, Southern Cross
(Inwards) arrived 14 March, 'Lapwing' 35 tons, Rattray, from Otago, with cargo and passengers, J McCowan, W. J. Clemnts, H. Case, A. Comley, J. Robinson, J. Mooney, J. Dickson, R. Bartlett, A. Florance, H. Healey, T. Rutter, T. Taylor, J. Otter, C. Hewitt, T. Thorpe, J. Wallis, W. Allen, T. Johns, B. Gilmer.
18 March 1862, Letters to the Editor, Southern Cross
Sir, - We were rather surprised to see a lengthy epistle in the New Zealander of Saturday, in reference to the information given by us to you. The writer, albeit leader of "Prospecting Party, No.1" has gone far out of his way to call in question the fact that what gold we brought up from Coromandel was obtained in two days digging. We again affirm that we were not above two days in obtaining the gold, although we were of course, for several days occupied with preparations, such as damming the creek and by the opening of dams were twice completely washed away bringing down the logs. Hoping that payable ground may speedily be discovered at Coromandel and also that "Lawrence Murphy" and mates will content themselves with looking after "number one" and let more hardworking men alone.
We remain, &c, Henry Corbyd, Daniel Young.Auckland March 16th.
21 March 1862 Shipping Intelligence, Southern Cross
H. M. S. 'Fawn', 17 guns, Commander Cator, steamed down the Waitemata for Coromandel, on Tuesday last, having his Excellency the Governor on board.
21 March 1862 Shipping Intelligence, Southern Cross
(Outwards), 21 March 1862, 'Benjamin Heape', barque, 261 tons, C. Moore for Melbourne, in ballast. Passengers, Mr and Mrs Rahilly, G. Lester, W. Hansard, R. Masters, J. Hares, H. Frederick, S. and L. Jason, P. Kelly, W. Roberts, J. Foley, S. Hepper, W. B. Barnes, H. Masters, A. Yates, J. Teesdale, S. Cole, A. Lazarus, J. Chaplin, J. Kelly, W. Thorpe, W. Corbett, J. Couch, G. Steward, J Bradrook, H. Mathews.
28 March 1862 Southern Cross
We extract the following semi-official article from the New Zealander of last Wednesday:-
His Excellency the Governor has returned from Coromandel where he has been personally engaged in the difficulties which have hitherto stood in the way of the exploration of certain portions of the district by the prospecting parties. We understand although no purchase has been effected an arrangement which will throw open Paul's land is almost completed.
A meeting of diggers had been held at the Tiki on the 15th instant, at which the following provisional regulations were agreed upon:-
Assented to, on behalf of the General Government. Signed H. H. Turton, R.M. Commissioner of Crown Lands, Chairman. Forty-six signatures.
There has been of late a considerable addition to the numbers of diggers, and the demands upon the government bounty have proportionately increased. We have heard that unless either the citizens of Auckland or the government come forward with further contributions the work of prospecting at Coromandel must speedily flag, unless in the meantime some great find should give it impetus.