Coromandel History

News 1862 May

6 May 1862 Southern Cross

We make the following extracts from the Report of Mr Turton, R. M. commissioner at Coromandel addressed to the Hon. The Secretary for Crown Lands, which show that Coromandel is a great success.

Coromandel May 1st 1862 :- Sir, I am happy to report that this district continues in a state of peace and that a portion of the digging population , say fifty or sixty, seem to be preparing their winter quarters for the sake of prospecting in the various gullies.  It is expected that others will follow their example, and thus give this part of the peninsular a real chance of being explored by skilful and persevering men.

It is quite correct that the large specimens or quartz, so recently reported in the local papers as having been shown in Auckland, were found in Coromandel, in the bed of the creeks and near the surface, but there are larger specimens still in the town which do not yet appear to have been seen by anybody.  Since the 30 oz and 40¼ oz specimens were taken away, a large stone of similar character was found by the same party.  This, I suppose is the one alluded to in the papers as weighing 11lbs.

These specimens are richly impregnated with the precious metal.  The other day I broke one of them and found it heavily laden with gold throughout, although but little was to be seen on the surface. All the diggers who have seen it exclaim with surprise that they have seen nothing like it before, except as a solid nugget.  And this appears to be the character of all the larger specimens hitherto obtained.  At least sixty per cent of gold must be the produce of these stones.

I am glad to report that Murphy and Co. are already crushing and washing out gold from their reef spur, at Kapanga, at the rate of 2½ oz to the ton.  In Australia, even with their heavy expense of carriage, &c., 1 oz per  ton is said to pay for working.

We hope that the deep sinkers will not be left without assistance at the present crisis, and we again appeal on their behalf if in vain to the Provincial Government, to the public.  The result of the deep sinkings will show whether or not we shall have alluvial diggings in addition to quartz crushing.  Of the latter we have no reason to doubt, seeing that the latest statistics of Victoria prove that with proper machinery 4½ dwts to the ton of quartz pay the crushing companies.  Messrs Murphy have not these perfect machines, therefore the gold-bearing quality of the reef they have struck, as shown by the result of their rude attempts, 2½ oz to the ton, is something beyond the average.  We commend the fore-going report of Mr Turton to careful consideration and recommend our friends in Auckland to stand by for a rush."

6 May 1862 Southern Cross / Otago Daily Times

Coromandel  A  Hoax.

We have been favoured with the view of a private letter received by a merchant in Dunedin, from a friend who went from here to the Coromandel.  It will be seen by the following, which is a true copy of a portion of the letter, that the whole thing is looked upon as a hoax by those who have visited the spot.  He says :-

"As I hear considerable excitement exists in Otago among the mining population, in consequence of some very flourishing accounts having been spread of the Coromandel diggings, no doubt by owners and captains of vessels wanting passengers, I think it may be necessary to put you on your guard.  That there are at present from 150 to 200 diggers at Coromandel is true.  They consist of, say 50 or 60 receiving government rations, as an inducement for them to properly prospect the district, but who are , as we are informed from private sources, recreating themselves, in some cases, by the manly game of quoits, in others, innocently passing the time with pitch and toss, all fours &c., &c., taking care, while the allowance continues, to report their firm belief in there being good diggings to the government.  About 40 were left there by the 'Phoenix' from Otago on her way to Auckland, the remainder are made up chiefly of people who come here from Otago, great numbers of whom having already tried it and become disgusted, would not stop to spend there what they made in other places, but have left for the other colonies.  This is certainly the dark side of the subject, still true, in spite of anything you may have heard hitherto at Otago.  My reason for giving you this lengthy account is, because I know parties in Dunedin have written to their friends here, requesting to be informed if there is any truth in the great accounts flying about there, and whether it would be advisable for them to break up their business to come here, at which, of course we laugh, and wish it were so.  I do now know whether you are anxious or not to know these particulars, I am however, certain it can do no harm, and therefore further apprise you, that if I had any hopes of these diggings going ahead I should commission you to buy and ship to me a quantity of diggers tools, such as steel picks, shovels &c., but under present circumstances I would not speculate.  I will let you know by the earliest opportunity, should any really favourable change take place."

9 May 1862  Southern Cross by G. F Von Tempsky

Sir,  There exists much discontent amongst the inhabitants of this latest of El Dorados, a discontent arising mainly from the contrast the reality around forms, apparently with the prismatic reflection of it in Editorial sheets.
The object of this letter is an attempt to show that this contrast is not so much produced by the real discrepancy between picture and original, as by an erroneous view both the matter-of-fact man and the original pen artist take for the real state of things here.
 In the first instance, this is neither the time or season to pronounce, as yet, a decided verdict on the capabilities of this auriferous tract of land.  The time of duration for the prospecting of it is altogether inadequate to the peculiar difficulties this country presents.  Excepting Gipps' Land in Victoria, Snowy River in New South Wales and the Sierra Nevada regions in California, no other gold country has such difficulties of exploration.  In Gipps' Land and Snowy Ricer these difficulties have been, in a great measure, the causes, as yet, of the unfavourable verdict on the same.  The Sierra Nevadaregions prospected since 1850 (myself one of the unsuccessful prospectors) have, within the last two years, yielded to persevering energy and time, with most splendid results.
Here the disadvantage of not getting a general view of the conformation of the forest-covered ground is counterbalanced by the advantages of an extensive sea-board, facilitating such general views and the important item of communications.  This alone will much shorten there time of exploration to come yet.
The season at which our puny efforts at prospecting have commenced is also unfavourable.  The driest season is needed in a land thus abounding in surface and spring water.
The main point of dissatisfaction with diggers, coming principally from Otago, is the absence of all those indications of "leads" to which they are accustomed.  "No bottom ! --only false bottoms -- to be got here"---is the universal cry.  Now, if their experience had extended over a little wider circle of geological phenomena, they would know that the laws which regulate the strata on which gold may be found defy as yet everything like system or classification, and that each country and its subdivisions has, and have, their own peculiarities.  Here, particularly at the diggings behind Mr. Ring's mill, gold and payable gold, is found as often in the top soil middle strata, as on the bottom, or it’s substitute. Of course, each such lead is supported by a stratum of clay of more or less tenacity and elasticity, or by a stratum of boulders, or quartz stones and pipe clay.  All formerly acquired theories are of little use here.  "To know," Newton says, "is to know that we know nothing."  Self-assurance, therefore, has to make way for careful examination.  Wash, therefore, oh, ye wise diggers of golden experiences !  Wash each layer of earth you go through, whenever  there is the slightest  appearance of a change in their nature.  Don't trouble your heads about "bottoms," and take the gold thankfully  wherever you get it.
In a country where such powerful volcanic and Neptunic agencies are still at work, each successive year, or era of their working, will add a new feature to the overwhelming chaos of past labours now coming all at once upon our astonished senses for an examination.  Will one month or two be enough for the cleverest geologist to unravel  the thread of action lying tangled before him?

Another sore point for new arrivals is the fact that, every one coming here wishing to get gold, has to prospect for himself.  There is, as yet, no ready-made gold-field here to jump into.  "So what is the use of coming here?"  That is certainly a very grand style of going the rounds of goldfields, but even for the most monied, hardly the most paying style.  If a few of the two hundred men at the Tiki now enjoying their "otium cum dignitatis," were to change that style for a little less "otium," and a little more "dig," they and the country would be much more satisfied with one another.

Any one having seen the specimens got from the creek at the Tiki, 4lb weight got by one party, heavy specimens, water-worn, and unalloyed,  must be incapable of ratiocination if he persists in doubting "the hopes" of this country.  A 14oz. Specimen, mostly all gold, 6oz., 1oz., and ½ oz, pieces,--have been got at the same creek by the few men who are not above dirtying their hands, or wetting their feet.  Here, where there are only three parties at work, ---one of six, one of tree, and one of two,-- two of three, whereof myself forms a member of one, have done well for the little time spent in prospecting.  The quartz reef here is also beginning to show symptoms of metallic life in it, which prognosticates a result well deserved by the energy and unflinching perseverance whereby Mr. Murphy's party has distinguished itself.

In short, every real effort made as yet towards the prospecting of this country has given good results.  As yet, this is not sufficient to make this a gold-field "de facto," but "de jure;" every man with eyes "in a head," is justified in maturing his plans for the coming event of a payable gold-field.--I am &c G. F Von Temsky Coromandel April 12, 1862  

9 May 1862 Southern Cross

We desire to draw attention to the letter from Mr Von Tempsky, which appears in another column.  The testimony borne to the auriferous wealth of Coromandel by that gentleman is most important.   He is a man of acknowledged ability, and of  great personal experience as a gold miner, and any statement coming from his pen should be received with attention.  We agree with Mr. Von Tempsky in the view he takes of the proximate future of Coromandel.  The prospecting difficulties of the country can only be overcome by united effort and perseverance, and the diggers at present in Coromandel never need expect to step into a ready-made gold-field in that district.  There is work before them, but there is also gold for the industrious man.  The success that has attended those who have laboured , and they are very few in comparison with those on the ground, proves the wealth that lies buried in the soil  Gold has been found, and will be found in Coromandel, in situations where scientifically speaking, there ought to have been no gold.  But it should be recollected that this is a volcanic country, and we have proof at no great distance, that the volcanic action has not quite ceased, it will, therefore, be apparent that the geological phenomena of gold countries not similarly influenced by volcanoes and earthquakes, cannot be taken as a guide for anything here.  There is plenty of gold in Coromandel for all who choose to work, there is an excess of timber, water-carriage is available at all points, and with a delightful climate and abundance of fresh water, we see no course for men grumbling who are anxious to test the matter for themselves.  But we are aware that the majority of the diggers decline prospecting the rush on their own account, they require aid,.  Well, it is a question with the people of Auckland whether they will subscribe to the support and payment of a working party, whose exertions shall be devoted to the development of a gold field.  We confess, on a careful review of a all the circumstances that suggest themselves to our mind, that we cannot advise this course.  We do no think, looking at the nature of the country, that very much more can be done by a few men in prospecting.  The cutting of tracks through the bush, and the construction of a landing place at Preece's Point, with a jetty perhaps at Mr. Beeson's, appear to us works which the Provincial Government might judiciously undertake, and which could be done at a trifling expense.  Access could then be had to the interior of the bush and across the range, while facilities would be given to land goods at low water for the supply of the mining population.  With tracks through the bush, the willing diggers could prospect on their own account, and fix on the locality that pleased them best.  But there is an expenditure with we would recommend, namely, that such men as those composing Mr Murphy's party be enabled to continue their exertions until the 'find' which they anticipate at no remote period, reward their exertions.  

We write in this strain, because we believe in Coromandel.  We have no doubt of the existence of its auriferous quartz reefs, and although surface diggings have not been developed to any extent, we believe on the authority of Mr Turton, R. M. and Mr Von Tempsky that there is good reason for supposing that surfacing in the gullies will also pay.  But we do not desire to see the public funds needlessly wasted.  Justice should be done to the men already working to develop a gold-field, and facilities should likewise be given to others to explore the country, but we protest against a repetition on any scale of governmental interference with prospecting, which will as in the case of the £500 so recently expended, produce only dissatisfaction in the minds of non-participants, and lead to but little substantial results.  The reward of £2,000 for the discovery of a payable gold field ought in itself to be sufficient inducement.  We trust all the diggers at present in Coromandel will give it a fair trial.

9 May 1862 Southern Cross (written 29 April)

Notwithstanding the damper which the presence of a large number of men, who did nothing but grumble, produced in regard to Coromandel, the truth is gradually creeping to light.  Coromandel is a decided success.  The quartz reefs, judging from the specimens to hand on Friday and on previous occasions, contain, not a certain proportion of ounces to the ton, but of cwts.  We do not exaggerate.  The specimen brought up by Mr Simmons lately, and which we saw in his possession, sold for £60.  It contained very nearly 75 percent gold.  Mr Keven has exhibited for some days past, specimens taken up at different places, all extremely rich.  They were procured from parties now working in Coromandel.  One dish of specimens was supplied by Mr Von Tempsky, and although it is not so rich as those brought form the Tiki, from the sharp angular formation of the pieces, there can be no doubt the reef off which they were broken is not far distant.  This is close to where Mr Murphy's party are working; and we are confident that they also will yet be successful.

By the 'Eclair,' which arrived here on Friday night, several quartz nuggets were brought up, we believe by members of Turner's party, who have been working near Messrs. Roe and Shalders', at the Tiki.  We have seen three of the specimens.  One of them, about half the size of a man's fist, contains fully 75 per cent of pure gold.  Another, and larger specimen, is prettier, but not so heavy in proportion.  The gold and quartz seem in alternate layers; and it also shows, by its sharp edge, that it has been but little water-worn.  It contains over 50 per cent gold.  The smaller specimen is richly impregnated with the precious metal.  The precise spot on which this gold was picked up has been kept a secret by this party; but we believe they have a much larger quantity in their possession not yet brought into the market.  Doubtless, the men are anxious to make themselves safe before the influx of diggers (which detailed disclosures of the facts would bring here) should imperil their claim.

By the 'Eclair' another party, one of whom is Mr Schmidt, a German, came up on Friday from Coromandel.  They had smaller specimens in a bag, which was computed to contain from 23 to27 ounces of pure gold, but it has not been possible for us to ascertain the exact weight.  This gold was procured from somewhere near Messrs Ring's mill, but the finders plead ignorance of the country, and decline to indicate the spot.  From what we know of that locality, and the difficulties in the way of prospecting here, we do not blame these men.  The fact is established, however, beyond a doubt, as to the paying nature of the Coromandel diggings.  We only want a concentration of energy on the part of the diggers to ensure a marked success.  It should also be added, that the 30 oz specimen which was shown in the Bank of new Zealand, came from the same locality.

The arrival of these specimens caused quite a sensation in this city amongst the diggers who had left Coromandel in disgust without giving it a trial, or who were waiting until some rich find should be reported to save them the trouble of prospecting.  No doubt there will be a fresh "rush", on a small scale, from Auckland to Coromandel.

And now we come to another question, which we have already urged, namely, the desirability of cutting roads through the Peninsula to enable the men to prospect with ease, as well as the construction of a landing place at Preece's Point.  The Provincial Council are still in session, and as they are to be called on to sanction a loan for necessary expenses for the repair of public works and other purposes, why not include, say the sum of £1,000 or £1,500, for the purposes we have named.  There can be no doubt of the existence of a rich gold-field in Coromandel; we have the experience of the past, combined with the present facts, to justify us in this remark; then why not prepare for the event?  It will never do for the people of Auckland to rest on their oars until the flood-tide of prosperity leaves them high and dry on the mountain tops, like 'antediluvian boulders," while strangers step in and seep away the profit and trade from their grasp, as was the case with the old-fashioned Otago settlers.  We should prepare for the event; and we put the case thus fully before our provincial government and provincial councillors, with the view of producing something like a concord of ideas for the good of the entire community.  There must also be an increase to the police establishment, and should our anticipations be realised regarding the extent of the rush hither during the winter, this will be no inconsiderable item.  We must have an efficient detective corps, to pick out and remove from the province those "black and spotted sheep" who brought with them to Otago the ruffian practices of  highwaymen and bush-rangers.  The honest diggers must be protected, as well as the honest settlers.

While on this point, we will add an extract from a letter we received on Saturday, from Mr James Spink, one of Mr Watson's party.  After stating that his party "agreed very much with your own report of Coromandel," and taking exception to Mr Von Tempsky's letter, Mr Spink writes:-

"We have been here seven weeks, sinking on the boundary of Mr Preece's ground.  We are now stopped for want of rope, because we cannot get rope strong enough for our work.  We are down 95 feet, and no signs of bottom.  We have to drag the creek for our slabs, which is about 2½ miles off the hole.  When we get them we have to dress them ready for use, and have to carry them half the way, for the road is too bad for the bullock team.  We have got latterly a bucket of water to a bucket of dirt; and having worked night and day so long it is too hard to be forced to leave it for some one else to bottom.

I am very sorry to inform you that this is the last week of the provisions from the Government.  Circumstanced as we are it is impossible for us to go on; but if you could give the government a stir-up to do something we are willing to go on and do our best to find a paying gold-field, not for a few men, but for hundreds."

We remarked that Mr Spink found fault with Mr Von Tempsky.  The substance of his complaint is that the public will possibly imagine that (Mr Von Tempsky and party) are the only men who prospected, whereas that is not the case.  The writer also states that Watson's party looked at the place where Mr Von Tempsky and party are at work, but did not wish to fix on a spot where the "colour," if not gold in paying quantities, had been long since discovered; but that they wished to explore the district, and develop the extent of the gold, if possible.

We believe Mr Von Tempsky had no wish to cast a slight on Mr Watson's party, to whose industry and intelligence we have already, and now bear willing testimony; but he had a right and so have all men who honestly worked, a right to complain that the government rations were served out to men at the Tiki who did not do anything to deserve it.  In the Southern Cross of the 22nd inst., which contained Mr Von Tempsky's able letter, we protested against any governmental interference with prospecting, other than cutting tracks through the bush, and the forming of landing-places.  To that opinion we still adhere; but we added, that "there is an expenditure which we would recommend, namely, that such men as those composing Mr Murphy's party, be enabled to continue their exertions, until the 'find' which they anticipate at no remote period rewards their exertions.  We repeat that sentence, because it is only just  to the men who have laboured so hard, and up to the present, as in the case of Murphy's, Watson's and we believe O'Hara's party, unsuccessfully.  The public of Auckland might readily supply the wants of these men for some time, seeing they will be such gainers by the development of a gold field in Coromandel.  The cost of food, rope, clothing, and utensils, for between 20 and 30 men would not be much for a few weeks; and a subscription could be easily entered on for that purpose.  We would be willing to take charge of the subscription list, and may mention that a gentleman in town has promised £5 towards such a fund.  We have placed the case, so far as we know it, before our fellow citizens, and it is for them to take action.  Meanwhile, we hope our provincial rulers will not be unmindful of the responsibility of their position at this crisis.

9 May 1862  Southern Cross (Written 1st of May)

"I am glad to tell you that Murphy's party No.1, are now crushing and washing out of their quartz spur at the rate of 2½oz to the ton.  The party are in excellent spirits, and expect it to turn out "rich".  As the facilities for working the reef are so great, and the yield of gold is extraordinary, at the start it promises fair.  But they must be supported a little time longer, as also Watson's and O'Hara's parties on the flat.  The ground and the truth must be thoroughly bottomed at once, and the question of a real gold field be for ever set at rest.  

Murphy's last drive from above the reef, now communicates with the tunnel below, giving them fresh air.  They have closed in the tunnel from the general public, and intend raising stuff up the tramway until they can manage a tramway through the former, which they will also have to widen.

There is more gold in Auckland than you know of.  The postmaster here, when he weighed the 30oz nugget, also weighed another for the same party which weighed 40¼oz troy.  They had also about 10oz more in small stuff.  The man in pursuit of Simmons, as he thought to Sydney, took a great boulder in his coat pocket, which he acknowledged to a man  against whose thigh it struck, to be "another of the sort." That must be the 11 1bs. spoken of , but which none of us have ever seen.  I don't think that Simmons should show himself here again, even to pay off his accounts, unless he be an adept in the art of defence, for the diggers will treat him roughly by all I hear.

"Your article on Coromandel of the 29th April was most appropriate."

We would recommend again the circumstances of the three parties named in the foregoing letter.  No doubt the government could make arrangements without employing a second Simmons; and we would suggest, by way of experiment, that Mr Beeson be requested to serve out the rations, leaving the Commissioner to see that the men worked.  The experiment may be worth trying.

16 May 1862, Southern Cross

The news from Coromandel being a nature calculated to create conflicting sentiments in the public mind at he end of last and beginning of the present week, I determined to verify the truth of the current rumours, if possible, by personal observation and inquiry, and if there were exaggerations, to correct them.  The condition of the working parties, on whose behalf the public had so liberally subscribed, also in part prompted this visit.  With these views, I proceeded to Coromandel in the cutter 'Thames,' on Monday last, and made the round of the diggings on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Tuesday was a very fine day, and accompanied by Mr Turton, R.M. and several gentlemen, including Mr. Heron, of Auckland, I proceeded to what is generally known as the Tiki encampment, but which is more properly called the Pukewhaou, this creek and the Matawa (also prospected with success), discharging themselves into the Tiki.  We passed through a native settlement at the Tiki on our way, and had an opportunity of observing the rude system of cultivation the Maoris practise.  A fertile alluvial flat was covered with dock and other noxious weeds, amidst which stumps of trees wee visible, no attempt apparently having been made to root them up; while seared and leafless trunks still stood erect, monuments of the scorching fire by which alone the Maoris sought to effect a clearance.  Here and there little patches of ground bore evidence of greater culture, and we saw a considerable quantity of maze exposed to atmospheric action.  The huts in which this singular people reside dotted the clearance, and from their limited size and internal arrangements, they cannot be conducive either to the physical or moral development of the race.  On the banks of the Tiki resides Ti Kaokao, son of Hopa, chief of the Ngatipoa, who live in this locality.  He is a young man of some ability and influence, and on our arrival we found him engaged, with two Maori youths o tender years, in the very juvenile sport of "pitch and toss."  An adult male slave, or Maori of the lowest class, was squatted on the ground, gravely looking on, while two women were engaged washing in the river, and others apparently in an agreeable bit of gossip, judging from their animated countenances as they sat and talked at a doorway near where their young chief was setting the example of unmanly indolence and trifling to his people.  My companion accosted the young chief, and told him it was wrong to play at pitch and toss, that it was unmanly, and that he should rather dig for gold or till his land.  Ti Kaokao shook his head :  "Dig no good," he replied; and coolly gathered up the coppers from the ground, which he counted with great care and replaced in his pocket.  Thus it may be seem in this single instance, how far the young Maori has degenerated from the original stock, for Ti Kaokao is the son of a chief but recently deceased, and who remembered Captain Cook's last visit to New Zealand, the Maoris of that day being without blemish, according to the report of the illustrious navigator, and who would have scorned the effeminacy we have just recorded.

But we must pass the Maori settlement, with its aspect of abject poverty and indolence in the heart of plenty, and wend our way up the Pukewhaou.  On the site of the former encampment chosen by the diggers arrived in force from Otago some weeks ago, there are now no tents remaining.  The trodden ground, bare of grass, in a paddock adjoining Mr. Douglas' house, would alone attest their presence, as did a store tent, pitched on their arrival, not remain.  But this tent, I was told, would also shortly be removed, so that nothing will remain of the "Tiki" encampment in a few days.  Further up the flats and close to the side of the ravine was a solitary tent, containing three men, who informed me that having travelled over the country for three weeks, they could not find gold in the district, and while admitting that gold had been found by Turner's party in the creek hard by, said it was useless looking , for there was no more.  I pointed out that the same party had picked up a specimen which they sold for £20, a short time after they began to sink for the quartz reef on the spot selected by them after forming their company : "Yes," they replied, that is all true; but no more gold will be found there!"  Of course it was out of the question to reason with men who had such infallible information, so we hastened to learn the opinions of those who had been more successful, for I believe that immediate success is, after all, the chief, if not the only, point looked to by most diggers.

After entering the heavily timbered ravine at the base of the range at the Pukewhaou, struck to the right, up the Watawa, which had been pretty well turned over by Turner's party in their first search.  There is a well worn  track, so that our progress was easy.  A considerable distance up this ravine, Turner's party, or more properly the Gold Quartz Mining Association No.1 are at work.  They selected the place for their operations at the point where they ceased to find quartz specimens in the stream, and on the same side, and near to the spot where their richest and most numerous specimens were obtained.  On last Monday week, the company having been established, the men commenced operations, cutting into the face of the hill and forming an aqueduct over the stream by covering it with heavy timber, branches of trees, and underwood, and placing the earth from their cutting on the top.  By this means a clearance was effected, and the men can work now with comfort; and besides, it will be easy for them to form a dam for washing purposes, water always being available.  After working but a very short time, the men obtained, near the surface, on the day of starting, a beautiful specimen of rotten quartz or sand-stone and gold, weighting 10oz. 3cwt. Mr Keven bought this specimen for £20; it is now in Auckland and will well repay inspection.  When I visited the company, they had driven a tunnel into the hill between 20 and 30 feet, and had struck a seam of stiff clay mixed with quartz.  This formation was becoming denser as they penetrated farther into the range.  A shaft will be sunk higher up the face of the hill; and when the reef has been struck, of which the men are sanguine, at a very early date, drives will be made to test and work it thoroughly.  Of this party I may add, that they have been in the country from the 29th January last.  For four weeks they prospected over the ranges, and for three weeks did not see the color.  They then found gold in the creeks, by sluicing, and less than 30 feet from their present tunnelling, they picked up a pretty specimen weighting 18oz 31cwt already noticed in this paper.  This party state that they are well pleased with their success hitherto.  The company consists of five working and five sleeping partners. On my return I met the members of Messrs. Watson's and O'Hara's parties at the Tiki, and had a conversation with them regarding their prospects and position.  It appears that Mr O'Hara and his mates after bottoming their shaft on Saturday, at a depth of over 70 feet, found the 'color' but did not "drive," stating that the formation of the bottom led them to conclude that no good could result from it.  Mr Watson, accompanied by Mr J. Rycroft, one of his party, came to town on Monday, to procure a supply of large buckets to bale out the water, with other requisites, which I believe he procured from the fund subscribed by the public, as there is no government fund to meet the demand.  The shaft is 120 feet deep, but owing to the labour required to keep it free from water, the men at last became exhausted and gave it up for a time.  They state that fifteen men will be required, five in a shift to work eight hours each, and thus keep the shaft well baled out.  I suggested the desirability of Watson's and O'hara's party amalgamating, and the men promised to consider the matter.  They looked on the proposal in a favourable light, but could not decide without having the opinion of all the members.  If they agree, this will meet the views of the subscribers, and also determine the practicability of alluvial sinkings in the flat between the Tiki and Kapanga.  When Watson's party were down 108 feet, they struck a drift, which was got through very nicely.  A second drift was struck at 120 feet, but as this gave them 60 buckets of water an hour the work has been suspended.  It will be seen that the difficulty in regard to drainage must naturally be very great, seeing that at present the water will find its way to the single sinking, whereas if one hundred shafts were sunk, the difficulty would be proportionately lessened.  The severe nature of the task these men have voluntarily undertaken will not, it is to be hoped, be without substantial profit, for should the paying nature of the deep sinking be proved there is room enough for 50,000 diggers on the flat for many years to come.

On Wednesday I visited "Keven's Reef," and the Kapanga diggings.  The day was drenching wet, and I found most of the diggers in their tents. Above the Messrs. Ring's mill there is now a little town of tents, among which is a store.  The fame of the "finds" on  Paul's land attracted the owners of these tents to this spot, and from the facts communicated to me, the voice of rumour has not greatly exaggerated the truth.  But, inasmuch as the Hon. Colonial Secretary, Mr Fox, is in Coromandel, endeavouring to bring the natives to some kind of terms for  working the auriferous but forbidden soil, I will not in any way impede his freedom of action by publishing statements which would inevitably precipitate a rush.  The news will keep for a few days, and in a very short time the result of Mr Fox's exertions will be known.

I visited Mr Murphy's party.  They were in good spirits, although their wooden hut had been burned to the ground the previous day, destroying almost everything they possessed.  Fortunately some diggers were near the place, and saved a few articles, or they would have been burnt out completely.  As it was their loss has been considerable : Mr Murphy has had the title deeds to a property in another colony consumed.  From this party I learned that they had tunnelled 60 feet farther into the hill than at the date of my former visit, and sunk three shafts, depth of 40 feet, and it was driven a considerable distance.  Finding that they could not strike the reef, and that they suffered from foul air, they sunk the fifth shaft; but as it was on Paul's land the natives on last Saturday caused them to remove their windlass and fly and give over working there.  Mr Murphy intends sinking the third shaft near the boundary, 100 feet deep, and then driving, and if the reef is not struck, so as to thoroughly test it, he will go elsewhere in the vicinity, for he is convinced of the golden wealth of Coromandel.  It is a promising prospect that has been got in the last hole, and the party regret being put to the trouble of tunnelling through  the hill.  There has been a little gold found, but the statement in the Aucklander of Monday, that 130 ounces of gold had been obtained by Mr Murphy's party, in one bucketful of stuff, is wholly imaginative.  There is no foundation whatever for the statement.

As I already stated, parties have made incursions on Paul's land, not without profit; but this is illegal, and such produce should not be reported.  But gold is known to many now in Coromandel  to exist in large quantities; not a few have obtained it in plenty, and it is contrary to all human experience to suppose that such a district should be allowed to remain locked up to please about thirty souls, who have hundreds of thousands of acres elsewhere, and who will never make any profitable use of any part of them.  But this I may mention, that Mr Moriarty has discovered a rich quartz reef running through the lands of the two chiefs, Paul and Peter.  It is richer in Paul's (or is supposed to be richer), and it might not be amiss, if the natives will neither sell, lease, nor accept a license fee for permission to work Paul's ground, for Mr Moriarty to sink a shaft on the exact boundary, and thus test the gold-bearing nature of the stone as near the El Dorado as may be done with impunity.  This is merely a suggestion for the parties concerned, acting on which would, in all likelihood, prove beneficial, by showing how Peter derived a revenue from his land, from participation in which the other owners deprived themselves by their stubborn selfishness.

But perhaps the most important fact in relation to the Coromandel gold fields is the discovery of a gold bearing quartz reef on government land, and which has been distinctly traced for four miles on our own territory, before it passes due north into Paul's land.  Mr Keven, of Auckland, from former experiments, was of opinion that a quartz reef of a gold bearing nature would be found in the low range terminating in Kapanga point, close to the creek of that name, and nearly opposite Mr Beeson's.  Accordingly, accompanied by Mr Wooden, and a party of miners, he went down to Coromandel, and pointed out the place.  For a fortnight the country was carefully prospected, and the discovery was made, that the quartz reef first detected by Mr Keven ran due north and south, dipping below the sea level at Kapanga flat, and re-appearing in the little Island terminal of Preece's point, where its existence was practically demonstrated.  On the north it was traced in a line over European land, through the Wynyardton township and Bellville, and on to Paul's land at a distance of not over 400 yards from where Messrs. Murphy's party ware working.  50 feet from the crown of the hill the spur was discovered, and 30 feet below the point where the reef was detected cropping out, a tunnel has been driven into the range by two men who began their work on Thursday week.  The tunnel is now about 10 feet.  When six feet in a leader was struck, dipping to the eastward and at the end of the next foot of tunnelling the quartz became more plentiful.  A small portion, about ½-lb weight was crushed in Mr Keven's mill, and yielded a number of small specs of gold.  Thus at first, the gold bearing nature of the quartz was proved, and the party decided to name it "Keven's Reef."

On Wednesday, when I arrived in company with another gentleman, one of the miners was busy endeavouring to displace a block of quartz in the bottom of the drive, and broke off a considerable piece, which he further reduced with his pick.  On examination gold was distinctly visible to the naked eye.  One specimen especially was very good; and on submitting the pieces to a magnifier, the percentage of gold was seen to be very considerable.  Before I left the Kapanga I was told that subsequent operations only more decidedly proved the richness of the reef.  In addition to this the same party (Messer’s Keven and Wooden) has discovered a gold bearing quartz reef in Peter's land.  A shaft 35 feet deep was also sunk last week by two of their party on a little elevation above the creek near Mr Paget's.  This has been closed for the present, and the efforts of the party will be concentrated elsewhere.

The Hon. Mr Fox, attended by Mr C. O. Davis, native interpreter, and Mr Turton, R. M., the commissioner, has held several meetings with the natives, but they refuse to sell. A messenger has been sent up the Thames for Manai, and on his arrival the matter will be finally settled.  His honor the Superintendent is with the Colonial Secretary in Coromandel.  The more experienced diggers intimate their intention of remaining.

20 May 1862 Southern Cross

On Saturday H.M.S. gunboat 'Caroline,' Marks, master, arrived in this harbour from Coromandel, having on board the Hon. Colonial Secretary, and his honor the Superintendent.  They have not been able to come to any terms with the natives regarding the acquisition of Paul's land; but from the tenor of the latest conversation they had with the natives, there is reason to hope that a lease of the land may be secured. We have been informed that Mr Fox will return on Friday next, when he hopes to meet the chiefs Taraia and Te Hiri for whom the 'Gleam,' in charge of Mr Beeson, had been sent up the Thames.  We sincerely hope that Mr Fox may be successful.  He has already offered rather beyond what he prudently ought to have proposed, namely, to pay a license fee of 10s per man for a month, to allow the diggers to go freely on the land.  The result of this would be the demonstration of the almost fabulous richness of the soil, and should the Maoris refuse to extend the permission beyond the month, the Government would find it difficult to remove the diggers, as in fairness they would be bound to do.  Let us have it by lease or purchase, or let us have it permanently opened by payment of a digger's license; but let us not further embroil matters by creating fresh difficulties from a temporary arrangement.

The news from Coromandel by the 'Thames,' Captain Farrell, on Monday, was to the effect that the diggers were taking slips on the forbidden ground, and making "by moonlight," far more than wages.  There is every prospect of this turning out one of the richest gold-fields on record if the diggers are permitted to work freely where they please.  Those who had a fortnight's prospecting on the creeks, made pretty heavy piles; and more than one of them have stated to us that there was permanent work for hundreds in the creeks without touching the reefs.  As a consequence of the washing being done at night, much of the smaller specimens are lost.

The operations at No.1 quartz company, Matawa, are proceeding steadily.  Several fine specimens are still in Mr Turner's possession, which his party took from the creek near their drive for the reef.  The deep sinkers are at a stand-still at present.  Murphy's party are repairing their losses from the late fire; and the miners at Keven's reef are working steadily.  Quartz crushing machinery has been ordered on account of this latter company.

We hope soon to be in a position to announce the opening of the entire peninsula.  Whether the government to it or not, the communications now being made from the diggers tot heir friends in Australia and Otago will settle the question in a few months.  There are only "thirty men, six old women, and four children" having a claim to this large territory; and it is out of the question to think that the progress of a country would be permanently retarded to please them, seeing that they will not make any use of the district themselves.  They are neither producers nor consumers, but drag out a wretched existence in the most indolent and filthy manner.  Let them be paid for their land, at a liberal rate, but let it be opened at all hazards.

When on this subject, we would suggest the licensing of some house on the main land. It would put an end to the illicit traffic in spirits now carried on, an be a boon to visitors and residents.

21 May 1862 Southern Cross

Kapanga Assault:- At the Kapanga diggings a man named John Anderson, who was one of the party so successful on Paul's land, committed an unprovoked assault on a fellow digger named Moriarty, who was at the time taking his dinner in his tent.  Moriarty, although much the more powerful man instead of taking the law into his own hands, lodged a complaint with Mr Turton, R. M. who committed Anderson to jail for one month.  He was brought up to Auckland in the 'Thames' last Monday, in charge of police constable Hastings, and lodged in jail.  Anderson had been drinking for some time in Auckland, on the proceeds of his gold, and doubtless his conduct may in part be traced to this cause.

24 May 1862 Southern Cross, Coromandel Correspondent

I am sorry to say that O'Hara's party has been broken up in consequence of the disagreements I mentioned in my last.  I consider that it will be a great loss to the province at large, as they were a set of experienced diggers.  Farmer's party are hard at work, but it will take weeks, if not months, before any good results can be obtained.  Watson has enlarged his party, and will recommence the shaft today.  Should they strike gold at once, we shall at once have alluvial diggings of some extent.  Murphy’s' party and others at Mr Ring's are hard at work.  Wooden, Otto, and Keven are about to work a reef on Government land at Kapanga, in which they have found gold.  The same reef crops out on Mr Preece's land, it then crosses the harbour and runs up the coast for miles, and is no doubt very rich.

The greater part of the diggers are now congregated at Mr Ring's, to see what the present negotiations of the Government will do to throw open Paul's land.  The Government have done all in their power, but I fear in vain.  The medium between them and the natives (Mr C. O. Davis) is not to be trusted.  When Mr Fox assembled the natives at Kapanga on Saturday, the 10th, the natives told C. O. D. that he had locked the box, and now he wished it to appear that it was his desire to open it.  From this we may judge that he has a hidden meaning in what he says.  Mr Davis wrote a letter to the Thames natives a few days ago, in which he says, "The fish that is in the sea, if allowed to land, will make a shag's stinking house."  Now, the meaning which he intends to convey by that figure is soon caught by the natives, which is this :- "Do not open your land, or you will lose it, for, as when a flock of shags take possession of a rock, all land-birds leave it, as they cannot endure the stench."

I believe that nothing but a good rush, or the allowance of the direct purchase, will now accomplish the object.

24 May 1862 Southern Cross, Extract of private letter

"Messer’s. Fox and Williamson have been here lately, but for all the good they have accomplished, so far as I can gather, they might just as well have stopped away.  Mr Fox's voice may be 'sweet,' but the Maoris do not appear to be inclined to listen to the voice of the charmer.  The solution of the difficulty appears to me to be farther off than ever.  The natives seem to have an idea that the pakehas are getting gold, by a process which they term robbery.  They are not far wrong in conjecturing that Paul's country is auriferous.  Three nights ago, a man went by moonlight and got a sack of dirt, from which he took 1½ lbs of gold.  In proportion as the natives see the government eager to obtain possession of the land, they will not part with it, and the general opinion here is that they will never give it up peaceably.  If the land is thrown open, there will, no doubt, be a tremendous rush, and those who are on the ground, and have made preparations for it, will reap the benefits, and golden ones too.

24 May 1862 Southern Cross

From Coromandel we have news of the failure of the Government negotiations for purchasing or leasing the native territory.  The 'Caroline' gunboat returned yesterday evening with the Hon. Colonial Secretary on board from his fruitless mission.

A meeting was held, we have been informed, last Wednesday, at which Mr Fox told the natives that he was willing to keep any promise the Government had made, and purchase the land or lease it from them on the terms to be agreed on.  The offer of £10,000 was renewed, and rejected.  The natives expressed themselves willing to lease provided they were supplied with arms and ammunition.  To this cool proposal the Colonial Secretary replied that in the use of firearms and ammunition no exception could be made in their favour that as Europeans were prohibited the use of arms, so must the natives.  Thereupon the affair  was off.  They would not lease on any other  terms, and stood upon their tribal right to do nothing at all with the land.

The natives were given to understand that this was the last proposal  the Government would make for purchasing or leasing the district, and were further informed that in case of a "rush" they would not be protected from the encroachments of the diggers.  Owing to the bad advice which the natives have received for years past, however, they pay no attention to what the gentlemen who conduct the affairs of this colony advise them to do for their own good.  What the result of all this may be we do not know, at present we do know that one of the richest gold districts in the world is closed because a few aboriginal natives refuse either to sell or lease, although unheard of sums of money, in similar cases are offered for their acceptance by the Government.  They fail to discharge, or become liable to the discharge of any of the duties of landed proprietors, nay, even of occupiers, and yet claim the most extended privileges, and are or are not British subjects as it suits their own immediate interests.

There was a plentiful distribution of flour, sugar and tobacco to the natives who have shown a disposition to meet the views of the government.  These recipients of public rations expressed regret that Paul's land was not opened, and deplored that it was not in their power to influence their refractory brethren.  It may be that the Maori values a musket at this day as a more precious treasure than a thousand acres, for in no other light can we view their demand, seeing that there are only thirty men to be armed, and that the reserved block is 70,000 acres.

On Friday night last a native runanga was held, at which Mr C. O. Davis attended, and after much speech-making, one object of which, we have been told, was to get a certificate of character from the Maories on behalf of Mr Davis to be used against the Printers and Publishers of the Daily Southern Cross, in the threatened action for libel, an unjust charge was also made against a British resident there in connexion with the matter, for the consequences of which we hope Mr Davis will be held responsible.  We ask the government are these the services for which they are paying Mr C. O. Davis £300 a year?  It was stated that Coromandel would be obtained if this gentleman was again taken into the Government service, that he was all-powerful with the natives and such like expressions, but the sequel has proved otherwise, and we suppose, for state purposes, the Government will continue to pay him his salary while he goes about ferreting evidence in a libel action against this journal.

But we have not done with this matter.  Mr Davis has thrown down the gauntlet, we accept his challenge and we are determined not to let the subject be talked to death in a hole-and-corner Maori runanga, where any statement may be made to the detriment of private character without affording the accused an opportunity of replying.

29 May 1862 Southern Cross, Coromandel Correspondent (written 29-31st May)

Kapanga Diggings:- Some excitement has latterly invaded our quiet neighbourhood; first, a rumour of a find of 53 ounces floated about as successful and unsuccessful bait for the credulous and incredulous.  Scarcely, however, had this first effect subsided, when a report, based upon strong circumstantial evidence, of a find of 83 ounces, set our digging community all agog. What enhanced doubly the charm of mystery in this matter, was the fact that this find had been come at on "forbidden ground," from across the boundary, guarded as yet successfully by the wrathful spirit of a departed native chief.

The accumulated suspicion point at three men, working here by themselves, who, however, stoutly disclaim any complicity with this stroke of luck.  Unfortunately for them, that compound of unheard-of-credulity and incredulity, termed minographically "digger," has now turned its incredulous side against all asseverations of these men; and, right or wrong, the fame of the find sticks to them.

Although in this latitude the "grano salis" wherewith reports should be taken and swallowed elsewhere, has here to be increased to a bushel of saline alterative (as a fair equipoise to the bushels of lies constantly in the market) yet there remains now no doubt that 83 ounces of gold-bearing quartz specimens have been found here, on Paul's land, and by the same mysterious party of No.3.

This first luscious bite out of the forbidden apple, made of course, many a mouth water.  Four new tents appeared here as by magic agency, one fine day; and some prowling and scowling was instantly instigated.  The new-comers complain, however, as yet of bad luck; whereas I don't wonder, as the nature of that creek is essentially "patchy;" seeing that at "each freshet," (particularly one laden with timber) the entire surface of the creek is changed, and carried about by the water power, in some instances sweeping the creek to the very bed rock.

What the effect of a few more finds like this will be on the public, is hard to define in its extent; equally so the exasperation of the natives, should information reach them.  It is a great pity that by this time arrangements more favourable to enterprise have not been made by the government; delay will only complicate and endanger any safe solution of this vexed question.  At any moment a general rush from the adjacent colonies may take place, and what are the preparations of the authorities to meet at once such an emergency?

If soft words won't do to treat with Lydia, try hard cash : golden showers have before now wrought wonders on ladies of quite as classical a name.  The enchantress must be made to yield up the golden key of Coromandel before "the crowd" comes and thunders at the gate.  And it needs but a glance at that forbidden ground, to see the promise " of wealth shut up there;"  the creek where the mysterious three are working is literally "seamed" with spurs of quartz reefs.  So that even if the digger should fail to find there an extraordinary El Dorado, the quartz reefer will meet there with stone such as has been little seen before.

 

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