1 November 1862, Southern Cross, Letter to the Editor
Sir,: - Allow me to inquire what possible motive can actuate the agent of the "powerful iron paddle steamer 'Tasmanian Maid.'" In "selling" the public as he has done lately, by advertising to sail first on Monday and then on Wednesday, and both times disappointing and greatly inconveniencing the people at Coromandel. We are getting on swimmingly here. The precious metal has been brought to light in several new spots both in the Driving Creek and the Main Creek. Not to be invidious, I shall merely mention the latest. In the former, an exceedingly rich leader has been struck by Johnson's party, and in the latter, Murphy's reef has turned out well, causing a rush in that quarter. A reef has also been struck by Hazlewood Jones's prospecting party, more in the direction of the Waiau ; and it is further rumoured that something very rich has been found about eight miles beyond. The "spurs" beyond Keven's have been for some time in process of prospecting, under Mr Scanlan, and it is said not without show of success. The new Court House and Brackenbury's Hotel are still on terra firma, but I should be sorry to aver that they will be so reported by your next correspondent. The Post Office, as you perhaps know, is in the former building, and I assure you it is an infliction to get letters or papers through that medium. Apart from our not getting them till they are stale and unprofitable, we have frequently to wade thither. An unfortunate, I saw, the other day, wading with his letters in his mouth (or rather holding them in that manner, and his trousers tucked under his arms, looked as if he was quite of my opinion. I am sure that you and the rest of the properly-minded public must think that the Government ought to do something in this matter, if only for the sake of decency, not mentioning duty. I am, &c., H. J. (Our correspondent should be told that the detention of the steamer was caused by a slight accident, which has since been remedied.- Ed.)
2 November 1862, Southern Cross, Coromandel Correspondent (from 31 Nov summary)
On Thursday last, a bucketful of rich specimens was taken out of No.3 quartz claim, on the Driving Creek. Since that, the claim has yielded every day, very remarkable stone. The size of the leader is very promising, and would give a good deal of quartz to any machine for crushing purposes. I hear that Mr Thomas Farrel of that claim, is in town to negotiate with a company the terms for the immediate erection of machinery. I cannot but repeat my opinion of the all-importance of instant action in this matter. It not only the loss of time, and waste of money consequently, that should be prevented by this measure, but is now being thrown away by the very diggers themselves. When a man strikes a rich leader, such as we have in the Driving Creek, he expects that every particle of that leader will be as shining with gold as the first patch. Now experience teaches the contrary, every leader, the very best of them, must vary in richness within the compass of six or eight feet or more. Half-ton-weights of stone, if procured, will probably yield very similar results. But the man who is picking our stone feels disappointed when, instead of growing still richer, an expectation quite natural to human nature, the stone seems poorer, it is thrown carelessly aside. Man likes to "show off" that way, the creek flood washes the rejected stone amongst rubbish and gravel, and thus much "valuable" material is wasted ' for who can expect that "the face" of every stone will show exactly what is in it. Besides, the casings, or their substitutes, the various forms of granite, etc., are here all impregnated with gold, these are now nearly hopelessly lost, as nothing but quartz can contain gold, in the opinion of most diggers. Who will now take the trouble of saving doubtful stuff, crushing will be very dear, so only the very best should be saved. That is the present position of matters. A little machine now erected in the Driving Creek would, by a few crushing's of poor-looking stuff, change this recklessness of waste to a very careful degree of parsimony in the stone-raiser, whereby the public in general would naturally be much benefited. So much for one point of our present wants. Another, almost equal in importance, is the regular steam communication with Auckland. Nothing but ocular demonstration, personally convictionary visits, on the part of the Auckland public to this terra incognita, is wanting to demolish the last remnant of apathetic scepticism in the ranks of the too wise and the too cautious. To promote this however, we must smooth the path to the dainty-footed citizen, to the fathers of families not permitted to risk the dangers of small crafts, to the speckless conscience of the brilliant boot-order, or " the take my life but spare my collar fraternity." Safety and comfort is offered to all these classes by the friendly 'Tasmanian Maid;' but that lady should time her visits to the gold-shops so that people may have time to look about them. When Mr Michael Wood's hulk will be at Coromandel, destined for a floating palace of accommodation and ease, it would be easy to perform two journeys in the same day, in the morning from Auckland, early, and in the afternoon from Coromandel. Two such days in the week would give ample time and scope for any project and calculation of timing one's business. We want thus only people to come, see, and be convinced, to rival the great Roman's success of his "veni vidi rici."
I wonder whether this letter will share the fate of three predecessors, which have either been delayed or lost. Post Offices, generally are intended, I believe, for quicker dispatch and greater security of letters, here private opportunities seem the safest and quickest medium of communication.
1 November 1862 Southern Cross, Perseverance Gold Mining Company
The adjourned meeting of this Company was held on Monday afternoon, in the Governor Brown Hotel and was numerously and most respectably attended. Mr Osmund Lewis having been called to the chair, read the advertisement convening the meeting, and called upon Mr Brackenbury, who was present, to enter into an explanation of the projected business.
Mr Brackenbury then stated that on the Saturday previous he had called a meeting, and had at that time the intention of endeavouring to form a company to carry out the object to which, for some months past, he had devoted his time and attention, and in connection with which he had been put to a considerable expense. He had then found, however, that it was impossible to awaken the people of Auckland to a sense of their own interest, and to arouse them from that callous and apathetic feeling, which prevented them from developing the gold field which lay almost at their very doors. Whatever might have been his intention on Saturday last, a circumstance had since occurred which had caused him altogether to change his views, and he should not now press the formation of a company. The circumstance to which he alluded was the arrival of two enterprising men, well known by himself when commissioner on the Australian gold fields, and who had brought with them a complete and thoroughly efficient quartz crushing machine. This machine, he had been assured, would be in complete working order in two weeks time, and the quartz from the "Perseverance" and other reefs need, there fore, remain no longer uncrushed. He wished now to place it on record that the enterprise of Victoria had, in the action taken by these two men, shown what would be the sequel to the apathy and carelessness of those who had the game already in their hand ; and that the people in Auckland would have no one but themselves to blame, if, instead of feathering their own nests whilst they possessed the opportunity, they allowed strangers to step in and bear away the prize from them. He could warn them that the day would come when Coromandel would be acknowledged by all the colonies to be the richest quartz gold field in the world ; and they would then regret that they had not taken its earliest pioneers by the hand. ( A gentlemen present here asked Mr Brackenbury "whether he still intended to form a company?") Mr Brackenbury said, he would not withdraw his offer to the public, as it had been once made ; but would not press the matter ; nor did he think that with the feeling of apathy which he found to exist on the subject of the Coromandel gold field, that it would be practicable to form a company. If the public could see the advantage to themselves, they would come into the proposal ; and they had only to blame themselves if the other colonies reaped the benefit, and stepped into their inheritance.
In reply to a question of the Chairman, Mr Brackenbury stated that the machinery which had just been received in Auckland, would be capable of crushing 7 to 8 tons of quartz per day ; and that it would be worked by horse power.
The chairman said he would make a few remarks upon the main points put forth by Mr Brackenbury. In the first place he entirely endorsed his remarks respecting the apathy of the people of this city with regard to the auriferous character of the reefs of Coromandel. From all that he had experienced respecting them, he could say that that apathy was inexcusable, for he believed that if the gold bearing rocks of that locality be as skilfully worked as were those of Australia, they would be found to yield most profitable results. He found from the last yearly report of the Port Phillip Company, that the minimum yield of gold from the quartz of the Clunes Company was on an average 10dwts., 23gr., per ton, and their gross yield out of 16,018 tons crushed was 8,792ozs during that period, out of which they had paid a fair dividend to their shareholders. The cost per ton for crushing and amalgamating, exclusive of calcination, was about 9s. He has tested most of the quartz formations of Coromandel, and had found none to yield less than 17dwts., per ton of quartz. That was irrespective of the leaders, which were known to possess gold in considerable quantities. There would be difficulties to be encounted in the crushing and amalgamation process to secure the gold, but none that he would consider to be insurmountable. Experience would teach the miners the best mode of obtaining the precious metal from the matrix, but what they accomplish in Australia could be done here. The like amount of skill and science applied by us would secure results of a similar nature. He believed all the quartz would have to be calcined in order to free the gold from its rocky bed. There were at Coromandel two or three different kinds of auriferous quartz, one was the more common gold bearing description, and another was that of the sulphuret formation, which will be found in considerable extent at the lower stratum. To the latter a greater degree of heat will have to be applied in order to dispel the sulphur, when it will be found to yield gold in good paying quantities. The whole of the rocks of Coromandel were impregnates more or less iron in the form of sulphurets ; but generally speaking, they were always gold bearing. As soon as the machinery, now in the course of erection, was fully and effectually at work, he believed that results would be satisfactory to all concerned. He trusted that the present indifference to this important question would soon be dispelled, for it must be confessed that its success would have a beneficial influence upon all the inhabitants of this city.
In answer to a question from the Chairman, Mr Brackenbury stated, that the claim was twice as large as any other upon the reef, or indeed, in Coromandel ; that he had been to considerable expense the past four months, and had raised some 50 tons of quartz ready for the machine. This quartz had been tested by the sub-commissioner, Mr Turner, in the presence of the Resident Magistrate and Chief Commissioner, Mr Turton ; and had yielded a large result, variously estimated at from 3 to 20 ounces per ton. Mr Woodin, who was in the room, had been present at this experiment.
Mr Woodin said he could bear testimony to Mr Brackenbury's statement. Some 10 lbs. of quartz in which no gold could be seen with a glass, had been crushed, and the yield had been at the rate, he should say of about 3 to 4 ounces to the ton. With regard to the quantity of quartz raised by Mr Brackenbury's men, he should say that here was quite 70 tons; and he believed that the quantity would yield a large return of gold. The shares were offered at a low price (£25 each), and the public by taking them would benefit both themselves and the province.
The Chairman made a few further remarks on the expense of crushing and amalgamating in Victoria, in which he sought to show that the expense and difficulty need be no greater here than there, 9s 6d. per ton was the cost of crushing and amalgamating there. It might be a little dearer here at first, but competition would soon regulate the charges.
A vote of thanks having been then passed to the Chairman, and several shares having been taken up, Mr Brackenbury stated that in the event of the new machine proving the richness of the reef, he would most certainly at the time stated in the advertisement, 10th November, exercise the right of withdrawing the offer, which he now felt bound to leave open to the public.
3 November 1862 Southern Cross, Coromandel Correspondent (31st November summary)
No. 18 has just again yielded some of its extraordinary quartz, a dishful of alluring specimens, worth about £150.
Kelly and Co., next to them, continue equally prosperous.
3 November 1862 Southern Cross, Translation of G. Grey letter dated June 9th 1862
Friend Matutauera, - Salutations. I have heard of your going to Hauraki, you, your armed men, and other inhabitants of Waikato, I refer to the meetings at Kirepehi, Hauraki and Waihou. I have heard the speeches in reference to the gold at Coromandel and to Paul's land, about driving away the Europeans, who are searching for gold (I repeat it), I have heard all these speeches.
This is one of the speeches I have heard about the land where the gold is being sought - "The birds of the air are flocking to drink the water of that place, let Tokatea be a dwelling for the vermin."
Now these are two acts which are condemned by the law ; it is wrong to raise and train soldiers, and to visit that land with those armed men. This is contrary to law, and those who do so shall be punished at the proper time ; the deeds done by the persons you call soldiers are done by your orders.
This is the second error, the words you interfered to speak in reference to the inhabitants of Coromandel, to Taraia, to Hira, to Piria, your urging them at those meetings to drive away the white men.
These acts are contrary to law and the persons doing so are trampling on the law and shall be punished.
My friend this is a foolish system you are pursing, nevertheless the law is strong, although my long suffering and my gentleness is great, those acts are not forgotten, they are all noted in my book. From you friend, G. Grey, Governor. Ngaruawahia, September 19th, 1862, printed at the Hokiori.
5 November 1862 Southern Cross, Letter to the Editor
Sir, - I am a shareholder in a company which has men working at Coromandel. We took a claim up alongside of another whose pegs were down, and commenced work, which we were obliged to keep four men on to keep the ground. The sub-commissioner was frequently applied for to come and survey the claim and mark the proper boundary, which was delayed till last week; meantime we were forced to work the claim, and did so, as any one would suppose on our own ground; but when Mr Turner did come he finds the men in the next claim had taken short ground, and he takes off ours to make up their quantity, and on this very ground is our work which cost us eighty pounds. It may be quite right to give the first men there their full claim, but the boundaries should have been settled at once and not us been compelled to work the ground and then find, through the mistake of our neighbour, that the ground was not ours. The confusion caused is the same as if farms were not surveyed, and a man cultivated at guess-work as to which was his ground. If the claim had been measured off when the commissioner was applied to this difficulty would not have occurred. What is Mr Turton and Mr Turner there for?
I am yours, &c. An Auckland Shareholder, Auckland 4th Dec, 1862
5 November 1862 Southern Cross, Coromandel Correspondent (31st November summary)
We are told now that Auckland believes in Coromandel, indeed some visitors maintain that there is a sort of underground furore brewing in favour or Coromandel, all hail then to its advent above ground, when outspoken, the public voice shall vote our efforts here, a success. Convince us of this appreciation, and the work will speed, electrified by the actions of sympathy, but remember, what Demosthenes enjoined as essential to convictionary rhetoric, "action action!!!" It is right to take time in thinking before you act, you have all used that privilege to examine our elements of probable success, but once that thought takes the form of a conclusion, then "act" at once, strike, while the substance comes hot and malleable from the forge fire of mental research, strike, and I will blow the bellows.
The peculiar action now required is one that might be termed a negative one, so far at least as "putting one's hands into one's pockets" is indicative of passive intentions, yet this is the very thing required, only that hand must not linger too long, jingling mournfully the dear contents of pocket, but quickly return to light with gold, with the seedlings for the grand harvest.
"Buy up machinery," of a light, portable nature, set it up anywhere near us, and he who really shall do so, will be envied yet by hundreds, who saw the force of the argument in favour of success, but would not venture to act. Diggers always go by the directions of impulse, the man they take a liking to they will favour blindly, and he who first benefits them, by early enterprise, they look upon as their friend. Such would be the exact position of the man who first erects a crushing concern in our neighbourhood. Look at the two brothers Wood, the diggers here would now do anything for them.
Of course, people may readily say that it is much easier to advise other people to invest than to invest oneself. But when one had one all that lies in one's power, under the conviction of having invested rightly, I think one may be justified to invite others to take part in the same work. Moreover, I think that, as yet nearly all my prophecies about Coromandel have turned out correct ; it is not vanity prompting this statement, it is a sincere wish to further a good cause, therefore, I may venture to call for fellow labourers in this field of promise, and while I am talking about prophecies, I will just conclude this with a most daring ? and that is: - "There will be found three distinct lines of main reefs, between the east side of the Main Creek, and the west side of the Driving Creek. The first will be the one where Mr Murphy has struck quartz and gold already, a line running from the eastern extreme of Coolahan's gully, south to Tokatea, in its northern extreme. The second will slant athwart the Driving Creek, at No 3 creek claim, in Mr Erick Hausson's claim, and the third, will run along the western extreme of No. 15 and 16, forming with the second the outside reef parallels, between which the tissue of our golden leaders rests."
Every one in town seems to look upon the commencement of work, of the Keven's reef machinery, as "the test" for Coromandel. Important as that company's work is, through the Auckland capital invested in it, yet its failure or success will bear but little on the general future of our mining community ; we must look further north for those larger results that will lift Coromandel above all other quartz-reefing countries, and bring on that general rush of quartz-miners which alone can develop the extensive area of our auriferous regions. The progress of erection of the afore-named machinery is so slow, that I trust many smaller machines will have attested already our quartz wealth, when the larger establishments will commence only. I believe that good results will be obtained by Keven's Reef Company and claims adjoining ; but the delay incident to large works, in a new place without resources, will be detrimental to their and all our interests.
Come, gentleman, show your mettle ; that metal, the muscle and sinew of war and peace, which, with a long pull, and a strong pull, and a pull together, must leave the purse to fill the coffers, yet scattering broadcast blessings in its transit, from one abode of safety to the other.
This afternoon another valuable lot of stone was taken out of No. 13 ; this, and yesterday's lot, exceed even their previous finds in the proportions of gold and stone. Solid clusters of gold crystals, sit in and round, the stone facings in thick clusters.
More specimens have been found in the Driving Creek.
8 November 1862 Southern Cross, Native Matters (from 31st Nov summary)
We have been informed that a difficulty, which may lead to hostilities between the Cabbage Tee Bay natives and a section of the Thames natives, has arisen. Some time ago the Cabbage Tree Bay natives became possessed of the cutter 'Margaret,' valued at £800. They placed her under the command of a young chief named Hatapaka, who made a trip up the Thames. A native woman, wife of William Riki, was a passenger on the down trip, and Hatapaka was accused of having committed himself in some way with her. The Thames natives determined to have utu for the injury done them ; and invited the owners of the 'Margaret' to send her up for grain. This was done, but Hatapaka did not go. The Thames natives seized the "Margaret' and beached her, keeping an armed guard, night and day, to prevent her being removed by force. They demanded £800 in cash for the injury done, on account of Riki's wife, or else they declared they would keep the vessel. We understand that £400 have been offered, but this sum has been refused. A new pah has been constructed on the Thames, and strongly fortified, at Waikawau, the boundary of the king's territory on that side.
Diphtheria appears to be raging at Port Jackson, round Cape Colville. A short time since a chief, his two sons, and other members of his family (seven in all), died of diphtheria. Within a few weeks no fewer than twenty, old and young, were carried off by the same disease, at Manaia ; and the native assessor at Coromandel, has in consequence prohibited any of the Manaia natives travelling through Coromandel, for fear of having this scourge introduced among his people. We hope the Government will take steps to send skilled medical practitioners among these poor people, who must otherwise die off without the slightest chance of recovery. A short time ago we called attention to the want of medical advice among the Hokianga natives, with what result we cannot state ; but we do trust that the pressing necessities of these people, who are suffering from the ravages of a fatal and infectious disease, will not be overlooked. Professional assistance may easily be had, and cost should not be allowed to interfere with the instincts of humanity and the duties incumbent on a Christian Government.
9 November 1862 Southern Cross, Coromandel Correspondent (from Nov 31st summary)
Our visitors are increasing with every trip of the steamer, the impression of our prospects, carried away by them to town, is generally most satisfactory ; and though everybody is still sighing for a well defined reef "on the Driving Creek," yet everybody understands now better how well based are our hopes of such discovery. Thus the confidence in our mining operations is materially increased by what "can" be seen by a visit - but let me tell visitors that there are some things which "cannot" be seen by every one. It would seem but natural that our diggers should be anxious to show all their success to gain the full confidence of capitalists, but there exists nevertheless an eradicable propensity to secretiveness in diggers, which no logic, however sound, can alter. Did any one, for example, see the "one hundred weight of first-class specimens" which now is in the possession of a company in our neighbourhood? Bring a crushing machine here, and you will bring out some very wonderful affairs now "planted" probably in out of the way nooks and corners.
A shaft in No.5 quartz claim (the claim formerly managed by Mr Daniel Leahy), has "struck it very rich" on the boundary next to Messrs Kelly and Bowman, and Messrs Gibson, McCabe, and others. That corner seems to be just a nest of glittering leaders, getting richer and richer as the depth is increased. The longing cry of "crush me, oh, crush me" of Mr Keven's quartz mountain, echoes strongly in that corner of the Driving Creek. Will no heart have pity upon the poor quartz, overburdened with its weight of gold?
Whatever of Mr Keven's machinery has been put up, has been well put up. Considering the number of men engaged on the work, there has certainly been no work or skill lost in the management of the affair ; but in such condition? Retarding all other operations in consequence. There is now a fine array of quartz ready for crushing, on that shore reef line ; and once the stampers thundering at Kapanga, startling Maoris, and Maori dogs, the grand success of the companies engaged on that reef line will be "un fait accompli." Still stands the court-house in its grand solitude of waters, looking proudly at its water-reflected image, full of majesty and mud - nothing has trespassed yet, or broken in upon the potent spell of its lake scenery. The solitary "lord of all that he surveys," the castellan of this enchanted isle, still struggles manfully against the elements arrayed against him : succour has he none ; his cry of a boat, a boat, echoes unheard, unanswered by those who have put him into this post of honour and danger, this almost "forlorn hope." We therefore petition the philanthropic society of Auckland, that, as boats are not forthcoming, to send to him and to us, a supply of life buoys and mud-hooks, also silver medals for the numerous heroes, who shall save life. Cordials restorative, and cords extractive will be largely needed as well, and humanity will have a noble field for its most exalted exertions of philanthropy in the struggles incident to expeditions to courts of justice, and offices of postal service.
13 November 1862 Southern Cross, Coromandel Correspondent (from 31st Nov summary)
How is Coromandel getting on? That is at present the standard question of Auckland men of business, of all grades. Gratifying as this manifestation of interest is to all of us, the latter would be enhanced somewhat if therein the "standard" of interest did not culminate also. Now, is this as it ought to be, in a commercial community? The importance of information on the subject is self-evident from the all-pervading curiosity on that head. Then why not extend the enquiry, and see for one's self how Coromandel is getting on? The path has been smoothed now for such enquiry. It cannot possibly be that the "expense" of the thing can stand in the way of a man able to earn or make money. Then why are the numbers of visitors so limited in proportion to the numbers deeply interested in our future? We ask no one to invest without satisfying himself on "the grounds" we have for certainty of success ; but when even the first step thereto, personal observation, is not ventured on, then must the public faith in Coromandel be on a low scale indeed. I believe that up to very lately the very existence of gold has been doubted by many, and the samples brought to town have incurred the suspicion of "instruments of a dodge." All the available wit and satirical propensities of Auckland or Australian celebrities, find Coromandel yet an inexhaustible field for pungent and effective "bon mots," or comic songs. This is comic enough certainly, to see people joked out of a momentary ray of foresight of their most vital interests ; not that there is any harm in fun playing round and lighting up a serious subject, for good parody often brings out the true value of the original ; but when people have not fully understood yet the serious importance of established facts, then fun should fan rather than blow out the flickering efforts at enterprise. Where could there be found worthier subjects for poking fun at, than those stay at homes that cannot be poked up into action ; those worshippers of sixpence trembling between the desire of doubling the deity, and the fear of losing it. Launch forth your shafts at the latter ye immortal bards of the southern hemisphere ; ye caustic followers of Therisites.
There is now within the reach of the Auckland public, a chance of an investment which people would fight for to possess themselves of, if it had no connection with , "Coromandel", and was not going begging in Auckland. This is the purchase of Messrs. Lysnar and Osmund Lewis's quartz-crushing machine. The plans are on sight and the arrangements are perfect ; the expense almost trifling compared to the immediate returns following its moment of completion. The whole character of the machine, its portable nature, its simple principles of action, fit it remarkable well for our wants up country. The combination of a "stamping" and a "rolling" action applied in this machine will be the very thing wanted for the light nature of our gold, which requires the highest degree of pulverisation to prevent loss, a loss unavoidable when either one or the other action is alone, applied in crushing. The whole amalgamation process will thus be very perfect. Will not one enter the lists for a hundred pounds and odd?
16 November 1862 Southern Cross, Coromandel Correspondent (from Nov summary)
Fairer and fairer looks the horizon or our future, with the brightening summer brightens ever prospect of our undertakings here. Mr Murphy's reef has now been ascertained to be of "five feet thickness," at the inconsiderable depth of thirty feet ; that claim, therefore, alone is now able to keep a decent sized machine going. In the Driving Creek, Mr Eric Hausson's claim has turned out again a batch of splendid stone ; in No.5 quartz claim, the shaft close on Messrs Kelly and Gibson's boundary, has yielded also most astonishing quartz ; No.16 creek claim, and No.6 quartz claim are getting loads of specimens from a leader of two feet of solid stone, and all this wealth is lying idle to our general detriment, for want of a bit of push in our Auckland friends. If that six-headed stamper is now put up, it will hardly meet our requirements, while people have been waiting for a sufficiency of quartz to ensure work for one machine ; that supply has outgrown already the capabilities of the first provision for it, and if much more time is wasted, all the available means of machinery within our reach in Auckland now, will not meet the demand for crushing, and much capital, therefore, will have to lie idle again. Mr Osmund Lewis and Mr Lysnar's machine must be at once set on foot ; the Chilian mill, now on view in Mr Stannus Jones's premises, is very much wanted as well, and even the machine, in the possession of an Australian quartz miner, lately come form Melbourne will find plenty of work, if all of them are set to work at the same time. We hope that the late visit of Samuel Cochrane, and Captain Daldy, will induce people to come out of their shell and touch the "reality" of our requirements and securities, a reality that has been waiting only too long for a tardy appreciation, yet is it not too late to make up for lost time. Crowd into the steamer all ye merry men, and come and feast your eyes on what has been considered "humbug" by you up to this. I engage you will open your eyes at last, and see (if such thing can ever be seen) your own blindness to your most vital interests.
The public would do well to regulate, by a unanimity of voice, the arrangements of communication by the 'Tasmanian Maid.' Her landing arrangements in Coromandel are very badly got up, and , as matters stand now, a great loss of time is incurred by the public, simply because the channel of the Kapanga creek has not been staked out sufficiently to direct ignorant boat's crews where to avoid the mud banks. Surely the company of the steamer might go to that much trouble for the sake of their own interests ; surely the exact state of the tide should be known at any hour of the day, to the captain of that steamer, so that his men can receive the proper orders of what to do with their freight and passengers, and not leave it to the heterogeneous counsels of a boat-load of new-comers as to where it is best to land! All these little matters will, of course, soon find their own level, still, the sooner the least difficulties are set aside, before new demands for systematic proceedings accumulate, the better.
Our court house and post office still hold the same impregnable position as ever, study the tides all ye who have a preference for either mud or water, at high tide you will have the briny element, at low tide the slushy, up to your hearts content.
19 November 1862 Southern Cross Coromandel Correspondent (from Nov 31st summary)
There is another lull in the excitement of discovery, all claims well known as "golden" ones are continuing to take out stone, but nothing but "crushings" or some very wonderful discovery, will now stimulate anew our "blasé" spirits to continued excitement. We are all rejoiced to hear that at last a "crushing machine" will positively make its appearance on the driving creek near the junction, and that without further delay. I can congratulate the owners on this resolution, for not only will they earn golden opinions for their enterprise, but "golden meed" will set their patriot's crown most richly. It is not necessary to enlarge just now on the particular influence this step will have on the position of Coromandel, that influence will be so vivid even to the sensibilities of the dullest and most obstinate sceptics, that trumpeting of a success sure to follow, would be as gilding gold, or painting the rose or lily.
It is wonderful to observe what doubtful reputation seems yet to be attached to the name of Coromandel. I had conversations with Victoria quartz reefers lately arrived; men of skill "and capital," and they confessed to me that , though the reports gave exactly that irresistible character to this gold-field, that would draw any quartz miner from anywhere to us, yet they came firmly prepared to see it all turn out "a hoax." Now my high and mighty friends in Auckland, who is to blame for this? At whose door lies the cause of this delay of a good cause? Did the disappointed diggers do all the spreading of evil reports? Do not flatter yourselves with that consolation. Every one knows where to set the report of a man on a country he has left disappointed. Who can weigh individual influences of accidents or circumstances? Who will therefore, let the departure of one swallow, proclaim a region a wintry one. No. I will tell you, it is not so much the caution of the commercial world, as the utter apathy of the government. "We will wait" has been their motto. If Coromandel is worth looking after, it will soon call upon our active interference, it not, no expense or trouble will have been wasted. That is all very well for alluvial gold-fields, but not for quartz regions. Has this place been visited by the authorities as it ought to have been, since the opening of Paul's land? Might not a few visits have solved the question whether it was worth looking after or not? No one can persuade us that here can be anything of greater importance to this northern province than the development of a good gold-field. With the present signs on the political horizon, it would be madness to underrate the importance of even the presence of a thousand hardy white men near Auckland. This might have been the case now, even for greater numbers; but no - a little wit, a flippant word, a knowing smile, were all the public got, when the opinion of the government was asked whether it believed in Coromandel or not. To pressing inquiry the answer has been, until very lately, "We don't believe in Coromandel." What did they do to arrive at this profound conclusion? If something of a wharf had been built; it the court house and post office had been made approachable; if our court of mines had been pushed, one or all of these things would have given confidence to the public to venture their own little concerns in speculations the Government was not afraid of. Few can understand the advantage prospecting, in forest hills, receives from a considerable number spreading out in every direction. If our numbers had been greater, our loss of time would have been reduced to one-third.
For some days past many of us have been engaged in hot battles with bush fires. About a mile of kauri forest has been in a blaze, and still blazes in all directions. A full of rain can alone allay this danger; for to several has their bush habitation proved too hot already.
A good many new faces meet one occasionally; and if Otago proves too crowded, we will, some day, have most likely a rush. Heaven grant it may prove one composed of such materials as we alone can make use of.
23 November 1862 Southern Cross, Coromandel Correspondent (from Nov 31st summary)
The weight of facts, like the force of gravity, is irresistible. Resistance, however tough - however "dense" - as in the struggle between mind and a new idea becomes useless, when the new idea has germinated into fact which as the history of our mining struggle has brought to light. Gradually, the weight of our discoveries has sunk into the mind of the public, until it has reached that level of the understanding on which the stratum of "conviction" rests. Such is the present state of our relations with Auckland; as proof thereof I can mention that in one day, upwards of a thousand pounds worth of shares were sold by one claim up the Driving Creek. Mr Samuel Cochrane's visit, with some friends, was the occasion on which this transaction took place; thus, as usual, that patriotic gentleman's visit resulted in deeds beneficial to the general interests of the country. We may trust that such example, and the well known commercial judgement peculiar to Mr Cochrane will have a salutary effect upon the general public. No.5 quartz claim was the claim in which this last investment was made, and I am sure the same will prove a splendid speculation, if the claim goes on developing features of riches, such as came to light only this Saturday, when the whole bottom of the shaft nearly, showed a large body of stone thickly impregnated with gold. This is a shaft close to the boundary of Messrs Kelly and Gibson's claims, a junction corner in which a ramification of the most wonderful quartz seems to exist. It is a great pity that the two shafts of Mr Kelly and Mr Gibson, like nearly all other shafts close to the creek bed, should suffer so unremittingly from the "driving" of timber in our creek. Yet how can this evil be remedied? Here is the difficult case of a man before us, who for years has benefited the country by his enterprise and steady industry in the explorations of our wealth of timber; the man, in fact, who previously discovered and facilitated by his pioneer works, the more recent discovery or recovery of gold in Coromandel, in one word, here is Mr Ring brought into a dilemma of the most serious nature, on account of the shocking of the gold and timber interests. The miner, by virtue of his miner's right expects protection for the works he legally engages in; and, by virtue "of all that is fair," Mr Ring expects that his prior right to the use of this creek, and the large outlay in capital in an extensive business shall be respected also. In such cases, I think it is peculiarly the province of the Government to step in and extricate "justice" from the maze of opposed interests, by a timely offer of "ample compensation," to Mr Ring, for the abandonment of the creek to the more general and wider interests of the mining operations. It would be an everlasting shame if so brave a pioneer in the cause of civilisation, as Mr Ring, should become a sufferer by his own discovery, of what will ultimately shower such blessings over this Northern Province.
The "romance" of a visit to Coromandel, the adventure, the hair-breadth escapes, the privations and sufferings of such expeditions will be soon worn off, and disappear before the march of civilisation, with its comfortable "notions' of the amenities of life in ordinary or ordinaries. Our wild youth is fast passing into respectable manhood; the gipsy tent stands deserted, is not entered, and the formal weather-board assumes the sway of light-spun houses of accommodation. At the Kapanga landing, Mr Simpson's spacious hotel has thrown open already a few doors for entertainment and accommodation of visitors. The few rooms finished are well finished ; and their air of cleanliness, spaciousness, and even elegance, afford a most inviting resting place, whence to contemplate, through the delicate phantasmagoria of placid segar incense, the long vista of mountain scenery beyond the Kapanga flat, the old settlement and the new townships, through which the road to Paul's land stretches mountainwards.
Higher up the country, in the very heart of our claims here, up the Driving Creek, Mr Frederick Ohlson and Thomas Farrel have added a large boarding house to their store. This Saturday, the inauguration took place, with a late dinner, set before " all the diggers" who would come, by these most hospitable hosts. The dinner did honour to the cook, and the liberality of the entertainer's was duly appreciated by the entertained. After diner "dancing" commenced - yes, dancing : there was plenty of room, music, and dancers masculine, very masculine of course ; but dancers feminine, alas! Were only three, the rest of the "partners" wore too much hair on their faces to allow of even a momentary delusion as to sex. Nevertheless, it was a most jolly and respectable affair, and I can assure the public, through it may sound impolite to female ears, that it is quite possible toe enjoy a dance even without the legitimate charmers presence. Last evening proved it, as it had once been demonstrated to me already in California, where, on the Christmas Eve of 1850, we one hundred jack-booted and bowie knifed-belted men, danced till day-light, without "causalities," and without the faintest "reflection" even of a petticoat, at a time too when our hearts would bound even at the bare thought of such a holy garment. The boarding arrangements of Messrs Ohlson and Farrel are complete, but all the bed-rooms are not finished yet ; two are ready, the rest, about a dozen or more, will soon be ready for the reception of the belated and fatigued.
Half way between the Driving Creek and Mr Ring's mill, Mr McPhee is now finishing his hotel ; the framework, as it stands, gives most ample promise of respectable and comfortable accommodation. With this list of houses of entertainment before us, on three stages of the road, the man most diffident of his powers of endurance must feel convinced now of the possibility of reaching our diggings with ordinary luck. Thus, with the fine weather having settled in, the shade of our hill-forests, ever visited by that type and stereotype of health, the sea breeze, with all these allurements before you, who will linger now in the dusty, musty, and rusty atmosphere of Queen St, while the 'Tasmanian Maid' at the wharf is wreathing her most bewitching airs of cloud vapour, as an invitation "to travel" - to Coromandel, of course.
Mr Woodin took some stone to town, from T. Farrel's claim, No.3, of richness exceeding anything yet seen at Coromandel, one specimen of 10½ ounces would be an ornament to the greatest museum in Europe. Two or three bucket's-full were taken out in one day.
26 November 1862 Southern Cross, Coromandel Correspondent (from Nov 31st summary)
It is quiet up the diggings ; but at the beach, this day, the excitement of election stirs all the latent propensities for patriotic and "larking" purposes in the breasts of Coromandel voters. Well, patriotism and lark seeking elements seem to find a very unequal support in the circumstances of this voting ground ; patriotism has to brave obstacles the common unenthusiastic or "unprimed" voter would certainly consider insurmountable, while the lark-seeking element could nowhere in the world find a richer field for its exploits. Who could paint, describe, or report, even faithfully the rich scenes enacted this morning in the process of voting. Kind reader, imagine Robinson Crusoe's island as the scene on one side, civilisation personated by voters, peering wistfully across the waste of waters towards the polling institution, "our" court-house, post office, lock-up, treasury, &c. The solitary inhabitant is evidently alarmed at the vociferously cannibal gesticulations of the first boat-load of voters trying "to land." That, my boys, will be impossible for the next six hours. Land ! why there is no land on that side of the water for hours, or years, if you like. Listen to the various exclamations as to "soundings." How deep is it? Waist? Hips? Arm-pits? All degrees being fearfully prepared for. Mr Simpson's hotel is lastly made for, as an intermediate stage of safety where valour can recruit.
Hark to the chants of three boat-loads: their splendid harmony of "Beautiful Venice," beer-inspired, floats across the waters, charming the waves.
Second Act: Adventurous pedestrians may be seen struggling waist-deep, to fulfil their duty to their country, by water and by land.
Third Act: A full boat-load capsized, two men fighting vigorously, with water to their mouths, each accusing the other of being the cause of the capsize.
Fourth Act: Maoris making innumerable sixpences by carrying voters to the polling place. Maoris recklessly up to their hips and waist, sixpence in view. European coat-tails dragging ruefully over the heaven-reflecting water mirror.
Last Act: Drowning cries in every direction, not heeded. Mr Simpson's hotel inundated with the drainings of dripping and rescued voters ; beer and water, and water and beer, hotly contesting till the curtain falls.
Next year we will hope the transit from shore to shore, of native and government land, will be attended with less risk to the cooling of our patriotism, for we hope that the same may be legally called upon then, as miner's rights, held for a certain period, should entitle a man to vote.
On Monday we had a meeting, convened by the magistrate and sub-commissioner, to consider new rules and regulations for the construction of new gold-field laws. It was agreed that three men should be elected by the diggers, and three by the Government, to form a committee for the framing of such laws. The same laws were laid before the meeting, and the approval and disapproval of the same noted down by the magistrate ; the final settlement to be made by the committee. The diggers elected, first proposed by Mr Gibson, G.F. Von Tempsky ; next, Robert Kelly ; and thirdly, proposed by Mr Turton, Thomas Gibson, for their representatives. Henry McCade and Mr Morgan are known to be two of those elected by the Government.
All the golden claims continue their exportation of rich stone. Mr Eric Hausson sold his interest in his claim for £1,000 on Monday, and there seems to be a chance of the Kopotauiki being soon prospected thoroughly, as most of those who have sold out on the Driving Creek, are going to try that promising creek. Mr Eric Hausson's claim is not to be confounded with Mr Hausson's claim on the shore reef ; the claim tailing on to Mr Brackenbury's. The reef found in Mr Hausson's claim is perhaps the one that presents more solid stone, and a generally well defined character, than any other claim on the shore reef ; gold also is visible to the naked eye.
Thank Heaven, Mr Keven's machinery now stands a fair chance of being at work within a fortnight or three weeks at least ; it will certainly not be the fault of Mr Foster if it is not. Let us once hear stampers going in this latitude and we can defy the attractions or detractions of more Northern or more Southern latitudes.