2 September 1862 Southern Cross, Coromandel Correspondent written 16 August.
We have had fearful weather, now and then a glimpse of sunshine, just enough to light up the dismal sequel of leaden skies and raging floods, leaving animate and inanimate nature in a state resembling the original, "fluid chaos." As interesting a phenomenon as this may be to impassioned geologists, we poor diggers here have a sneaking affection for a more solid state of things. Well, in spite of all this cold water thrown on our El Dorado here, some of its solid worth has again come to light. Mr Daniel Leahy and party have found, on their claim, a lead of surface specimens, from which they took in one day from between 60 and 70 pounds of rich stone. This is the same lead whence the great hundred and odd ounce specimen now in town, has come. There is no doubt that other leads of the same character will soon be found, for even on the now despised, "Peter's land," the surface has proved full of auriferous quartz. In Coolahan's gully, I have washed, myself, five pennyweights of small specimens to fifty or sixty buckets of dirt.
On Tuesday, a meeting of diggers took place at Mr McPhee's store, to consider the best ways and means towards equitable settlement of disputes amongst claim-holders. The attendance was not numerous enough to give force to the resolutions of the meeting and it was therefore agreed to call a general meeting on Saturday. On that day the attendance was better, and it was resolved to petition the government to constitute any acting commissioner, a justice of the peace, to enable the same to swear in "assessors" for the decision of "vexed questions," this to be compulsory, on the part of the commissioner, if his decision is not accepted by disputant. Also to recommend to the earliest consideration of the government the formation of a "Mining Board," for the purpose of a last "appeal." Early as it is in the day of Coromandel for its right to this "Mining Board, " the peculiar nature of the gold mining operations here demand imperatively that the outset should be a correct one. Once there exists a long string of adjoining ground "under claims" a revival of disputed right in one of the first claims, might make an equitable settlement almost impossible, without throwing the whole ground into endless confusion. The orderly manner of that meeting on Saturday only added another testimony to the "good stuff" our diggers here are made of, a verdict proved now beyond doubt, under circumstances of considerable difficulties and temptation to the contrary. The meeting took place at Mr Ring's mill, offered for that purpose by the owner with that obliging spirit which has distinguished him ever since his patriarchal domain was invaded by those never-resting spirits of the age--"gold-hunters."
As yet no "main reef," or what is properly termed "main reef" on the Hakaroa stream reported of to Government, it is all a delusion, both optical and optional. Several have had a sight of the monster, and are satisfied that it is, like Caliban. "a deceptive monster." That there is a reef, probably a large one, and probably several close at hand, is evident enough. But to call a mass of boulders on a landslip, with a cliff here and there, "a reef," can only be accepted on poetical grounds. As to the gold found in the stone there, we have had conversations with some of the natives who assisted at the operation; their statement is, that after much knocking and bruising of stone and hand, one piece of stone was found in which gold was believed to be visible. This result might be obtained with much less trouble with any quartz-boulder here in the vicinity of our tents. I feel constrained, nevertheless, to apologise for my verdict to the gentlemen-surveyors, the finder of that reef; but the danger of misleading my fellow-diggers on the already too slippery ground of Coromandel is so great, that I could not but give a frank opinion on the discovery.
P.S.- News has come this moment that Mr Daniel Leahy's party have also struck "a reef" three feet thick, gold bearing in varying quantities.
(This letter, though dated on the 16th ult., only came to hand yesterday. We insert it because it treats of several important matters which have not yet received sufficient publicity. This communication likewise completes the intelligence for the past month from Coromandel, which otherwise would have been imperfect. - Ed. D. S. C.)
2 September 1862 Southern Cross, Editorial
Mr McLean returned from Coromandel on Thursday evening, and we are glad to find that he has been successful in still further throwing open that district to Europeans. During this last visit he has concluded the purchase of nine thousand acres, and is in treaty for a block of from fifteen to twenty thousand acres more. The land was the property of Taraia's tribe and of the Mercury Bay natives. The readiness with which they have consented to alienate so extensive a tract, more particularly when we consider its reputed value, is most gratifying, and certainly speaks well for the general disposition of these natives.
We are informed likewise that the Chief Commissioner has succeeded in introducing something like order into the arrangements of the township at Kapanga, where the native owners have leased several allotments to Europeans. Main roads one chain broad have been laid out, and the whole of the space likely to be occupied by building carefully subdivided, and houses are already making their appearance. Indeed, from all accounts, it appears that there is every probability of an important settlement at Coromandel very soon becoming a large fact. The natives generally evince good feeling towards the diggers, and we may venture to hope that the long continued orderly behaviour of the latter, under the most trying of circumstances may have had a good effect upon the native mind, and go a great way to overcome that feeling of mistrust and jealousy which has hitherto existed amongst them, and the possible consequences of which we have always so much dreaded. At the same time great forbearance and good temper will be necessary on all sides if accidental collisions are to be avoided, and whilst on this point we may mention that the rumour of disturbances at Coromandel, which reached Auckland some time back, were not entirely without foundation, but took their rise from an occurrence which might have had a most tragical conclusion, namely, the drunken determination of a Maori chief to take revenge on a European for an imaginary attempt on the part of the latter to drug him. The man had armed himself with an axe for the purpose of killing the European, and but for the forcible interference of some of his own people would no doubt effected his purpose.
In looking back now at the negotiations which have been pending since last year for the opening up of the gold-district, one remarkable fact cannot fail to strike an observer. Notwithstanding the original opposition to the alienation of the land, and the reluctance with which the native owners gradually gave in their consent, and did so as it were by instalments, at first conceding the bare right of prospecting and concluding by consenting to part with the much cherished fee-simple of the land, they have all through maintained good faith with the Government, and have never once gone back from the spirit of the engagement into which they entered with Mr McLean last November. Many then feared that it would prove, a dangerous experiment, that of prospecting for the gold first and making terms afterwards for the working of the field, should it prove to be a payable one; but the event has proved that the natives, if honestly and straightforwardly dealt with, will not necessarily become exorbitant in their demands, and the success of the diggers has not had the effect of rendering the native demands al all unreasonable. Great credit is due to them in this matter; but there is no doubt that much of this good feeling is owing to the able manner in which the negotiations have been carried on by the Chief Commissioner, and the mutual confidence existing between him and those with whom he as had to deal. Even the gratuitous interference of the late Colonial Secretary, though productive of evil, did not do so much harm as might have been anticipated; and so soon as Sir George Grey had determined on vigorous measures, and availed himself of the services of Mr McLean, instead of allowing Messrs. Fox and Davis to complicate matters further, lee-way was soon made up, and how well the natives have since acted we need not here dwell upon at any length.
It is remarkable that the Fox Ministry, after vowing the destruction of the Land Purchase Department, have succumbed themselves before seeing the consummation of their wishes. Detenda est Carthago was the cry last year, and now, after a whole year's failure on their part to do without the men they disliked, they have had to retire from the scene, whilst the Land Purchase Department goes on quietly and effectively with its work. Whilst minister are talking and intriguing at Wellington, and our representatives are wasting their breath in discussing abstract questions of native policy, a negotiation is quietly brought to a conclusion in the north which may be the means of solving difficulties which have puzzled all our politicians and of opening up a country which as been closed against us, principally on account of the ignorance of the natives inhabiting it as to our intentions. The peaceful and orderly manner in which, we have no doubt, the diggers will continue to develop the hidden wealth of Coromandel, will have a most beneficial effect upon the natives, and combined with the collateral advantages certain to accrue, and by which the natives in the neighbourhood of the diggings cannot fail to benefit, will do more to relieve their minds of that dangerous feeling of mistrust of Europeans from which at present to much evil flows, than half a dozen policies, be they never so well digested. The influence of the King party will we believe be completely undermined from Coromandel, and a rallying point for loyal natives be fixed in a country where it has long been wanting.
2 September 1862 Southern Cross
Another rush to the South is at hand. The 87lb prospect of the Clutha gold-field will attract the digger from all parts of the globe. Many an Auckland speculator (there are a few after all) trembles for Coromandel prospects; and yet, what possible harm can result from this to Coromandel. No one by bona fide quartz reefers are wanted there, and will they, after all their experience of the results of alluvial diggings, abandon the pursuit of a stake worth the playing for "of a lord?"
What is the average income of the lucky part of alluvial diggers! Take the highest figures, and they will not reach £500 a year. Can that compare to the prize a decent quartz reef holds out to a holder of a full share, and not for one year, but probably half-a-dozen, or more.
Up rises the cry of "indignant Coromandel dupes." "Where are your reefs? None of the Australian or Californian indications of rich reefs are visible on the general surface of Coromandel. Where are the hills strewn with 'shattered' fragments of quartz, covering miles of ground, as on the Whipstick for instance?" They forget the difference of the influences of climate on the three gold countries. In Australia and California the forming of purely alluvial soil from the decay of organic matter is very little; the vegetation that should supply such is very sparse, and the seeping floods of winter carry away the labours of autumn. Here a moist climate, an atmosphere full of oxygen, a luxuriant vegetation, prepare every year large additions of alluvial deposit, preserved from waste by water by the intricate net-work of the myriads of roots holding the surface as in a basket. What chance is here, therefore, of the primitive formations lying near daylight, except here a little volcanic puff has sent them up hill through and above the reach of strata. At the base of hills, in creek-beds, we have seen the skeletons of leader and reef laid bare and undisguised; that should be sufficient to guarantee their existence in hill-sides as well. Has any one ever seen quartz that can compare, in the remotest degree, with the quartz come from Coromandel leaders? And yet, with all such promise before them, there is no doubt many a one will once more see visions of sudden wealth beckoning from the South, though repeated experience has convinced him up to this, of the fallacy of such visions. The steady, plodding, and persevering style of work in quartz does not suit everybody ; alluvial pursuits open up a chance of stumbling upon wealth "in a lump." There is not a good digger extant who does not secretly believe he will make his pile yet one day. That is necessary for energetic pursuits in digging, as in military matters the expectation of Napoleon : "that every private soldier should believe in the chance of a field-marshalship for himself." Did that, however, make every private a field marshal, or will it make every digger a millionaire? Let the past of every one's experience advise his steps for the future, and let not the bird in hand escape, nor the bone in mouth, for its shadow on the waters. Does not Coromandel quartz, by its patchy nature, present as good a chance of sudden wealth as any alluvial diggings ever found? For though the quartz here is impregnated throughout with gold (preserving one from the chances of totally empty crushings), it shows at the same time a tendency to "nest gold" where the vein, "the lode" seems to have concentrated its effects at auriferous productions. Let everyone therefore look before he leaps.
2 September 1862 Southern Cross Gazette Notice
For the Gazette published 20th August: - Mr Henry C S Baddeley is gazetted Postmaster of Kapanga.
3 September 1862 Southern Cross Coromandel Correspondent
The Clutha marvels don't seem to affect the kernel of our population much. I see no shaft deserted, and though everybody thinks well of the Clutha, no one seems in any great hurry of going there. The fact of the matter is, that as long as people see quartz taken out, such as Mr Gibson and party are getting from their leader, there seems to be little need of rushing off "at a tangent" from such a neighbourhood, to look for piles elsewhere. Today, about five pound weight of stone was added to the 170 ounces of last week; but what stone! Should there ever be found "a reef" equal to that leader, there would be danger " of gold becoming a drug in the market," after all. Glad as everybody is at this evidence in "res Coromandel versus others," yet the temptation of this vein of gold, crossing the highroad of the creek, has proved already too much for some newcomers; and loath though I am to say it, a party of eight thieves set to work on it one night. Two of the owners, believed to be absent by the marauders, heard their picks, crept upon them, and succeeded in capturing one who now has changed his residence to the Auckland goal. These are bad signs, a repetition of something like this, would be apt to produce scenes of violence, in which father Lynch is very apt to make his appearance, if the constituted authorities are not quickly at hand.
Daniel Leahy's party are sluicing surface stuff of their claim with good results. No.8 leader is turning out good stone, there is plenty of hope in other shafts, and all the men "of quartz" are firm.
It is absolutely ridiculous to see the proceedings of new Coromandel rushes: parties of twenty or thirty newcomers land, march around the neighbourhood, some reaching the diggings, the majority generally waiting on the report of the former, and then after a few hours of lounging around, off scampers the whole rush, and why? Because most of them are such clever geologists, that they can tell from the looks of the country, "that there is no gold there." If some of the real diggers amongst them would be a little more conscientious, they would add, that, at a glance they saw they would have " to prospect," and under great difficulties, and with much loss of time, a process altogether requiring much patience, perseverance, and some cash, neither of which they were probably inclined to employ. There are thousands of diggers who are only fit to work in a ready-made gold-field, in the rank and file of a well defined lead; once that lead is found for them, they will do their duty very well, so it is with quartz, it is one thing to be up to the work of a quartz-reef, and another to find one; of course, it is nobody's fault if the capacities of any one individual don't' fit him for every sort of work, but in such cases, a little modesty is absolutely necessary to forgive the absence of sense, sure to be the characteristic of the verdicts of such people. We don't want anyone here yet for a little while; those that are now at work, will be quite able to test the quartz of Coromandel, and the moment a good reef is struck, and the official report of the first crushing goes to Melbourne, we will see a quiet file of long-headed, long-pursed gentry walking into Coromandel, and establishing themselves comfortably where they know exactly every inch of "capacity" to be depended upon. What Auckland people have yet to learn, they have known for years, the employment of capital in quartz, is a knowledge not gained by everybody in a day, and if these Melbourne gentlemen should take the "pas" before old settlers, the venerability of the latter should not be offended by finding out that nobody is too old to learn yet.
6 September 1862 Southern Cross, Coromandel Correspondent, (from Sept summary)
The Clutha epidemic is spreading fast amongst us here, Often as it has been my lot to study the philosophy of "rushes," yet seldom have I seen instances of disregard to the most evident self-interest so inexplicably developed as it is done here now. It was to be expected that all the waifs and strays of a floating population would be carried away by the current of that tide now setting south : but that some of our most persevering pioneers of Coromandel, men of great solid worth and long-tried experience, should fall "anew" victims to those strange hallucinations produced by distance and the refracting powers of the atmosphere, hallucinations dearly paid for by them in former days; that is a point in the philosophy of rushes which admits hardly of a reasonable explanation. One simile alone reproduces, to my mind, the whole spirit of "the force" of rushes. Look at some low river-bank where driftwood, and uprooted plants, and rubbish, have formed a half-dam , the flood comes, the rubbish goes first, sweeping down merrily on the buoyant waters, then follows a plant or two, the rest waver and tremble, and sweep after the forerunners; more and more opens the breastwork of the resisting raft, lighter and lighter grows its weight to the laughing waters ; away goes the first tree, and down sweeps the whole fabric. Thus acts the main-force of inanimate nature, the resistless force of gravity; and in man, since we have explored the peculiar philosophy of "crowds" and mobs, a very similar force seems to exist. To return, however, to diggers, the going to rushes becomes "a vice" with some of the very best amongst them; add thereto that, in Australia, a universally acknowledged axiom for doing well is "to follow up new rushes;" thus inclination and duty half point the same way; what remains therefore for them but to roll up their swags, sell at any sacrifice, shake hands with everybody and trudge merrily away, be it for mountain or flood , for snowy or scorching regions. There is a stratum of romance in the human heart that extends through all layers of society; it is by no means strongest in the "novel-fed" portion of humanity (for the slight degree the latter are possessed of is half "made up" by consciousness, and its result, affectation of the other half) : the digger, the sailor, the soldier, are wholly imbued by the very essence of romance, for they act it and live it, though totally unconscious of the existence of such a principle in them. What influence can reason, therefore, have on such a composition, or what power can self-interest exert on them, when the latter?, particularly is pointed out to them by the magic finger of romance.
Thus, there remains no doubt that many whom we would rather keep, will leave us; we can only therefore wish them success and a happy journey; but "a few," will remain, and those few, if I mistake not, have that power in them which "the kernel" possesses - multum in parvum - reproducing life giving force, which wants but time and season to bring forth foliage, blossom, and fruit - a benefit and pride to the soil where that kernel has taken root. With Schiller's Wallenstein we will say the, (after all his military chiefs had deserted him)
"I stand alone, branchless, a storm-swept stem!
But in the stem, there dwells the all creative power!"
Within a week or two we will most likely hear the result of a shaft and drive in Mr Gibson's claim. If "the reef" is struck by them, the future of Coromandel will be placed quite beyond the influence of any alluvial rush. The Victoria quartz-reefers well seasoned against alluvial allurements, will then locate themselves amongst us, and give that systematic impetus to our proceedings here, which cuts out work on a large scale, with a wide and comprehensive understanding of the future. There is not a single shaft of any importance abandoned yet, though many members of "good companies" are leaving. We will keep the wheel and ball of our work in motion, therefore, till the turn of the one and the roll of the other shall indicate to us "who is the lucky man amongst us," the first to strike the reef of all our golden leaders here. No doubt many a storekeeper will feel the decrease of population in his accounts, but the general prospects of Coromandel will survive the blow. One benefit, moreover, is sure to result from this state of things, it will paralyse all the impending rushes from Melbourne, Sydney and Otago, which inevitable would have brought us much that we don't want, and could not conveniently have disposed of. Keep up your spirits therefore, ye Auckland men of enterprise, through the South has had again the better of you - the day is not far off when the golden lion of the North shall glitter in the sun of Coromandel, and dazzle the eyes of "the purse-proud clique" of all your sister colonies.
13 September 1862 Southern Cross, Coromandel Correspondent, written 9th September
The violence of the Clutha fever is somewhat abating, I think ; a few who were determined two days ago, to take the leap, have paused to take breath and counsel, which operation seems to have had a most soothing effect upon their erratic propensities. Also in the last few days, two new leaders have been discovered, one of which is equal to the best yet known here, their locality I am not at liberty to specify, but to their value I can testify from ocular evidence. All this of course proves to people on the move, that they are going to leave something, the extent and the entire value of which is unknown to them. That idea is likely to produce a feeling of great uneasiness in their minds, as to the comparative value of "remote chance in the South" and "the gaudier chance in Coromandel."
The true value of Coromandel will never be known till we have machinery at work. Even with the quartz now discovered, only from the shore reef and the leaders in the Driving creek, a very different effect on the Coromandel share market, would be produced by the crushing of ton weights to what pound weight crushings can do for a country new to quartz speculations. People want to see such quantities of gold produced, that would have at least an approximate value to the ready money demanded for shares. Few people can see the force of the "abstract" argument, of a few grains of gold indication hundreds of ounces, as a return for their hard earned cash ; and not until an entire community is penetrated by the conviction of the truth will the right impulse be given to enterprise, one man pushing the other forward, in one direction.
Few people can realise the amount of the most slavish work necessary in establishing anything like "new work" at a distance from our centre here, the Kapanga mill. All conveyance in our locality here is the primitive "back work," the native picau process. From a pound of butter to half a dozen slabs (weight unknown till one-third up the hill), everything has to be conveyed by the happy owner himself, sweating under an "embarras des richesses" like Asmus omnia secum portans." Quartz reefing is no joke here, and especially at this early time ; if we do not get anything in the long run, it will not be stolen goods from those that will reap the benefit of our pioneer exertions after us.
Mr Cole of Papakura and party of the Main Creek claim, are vigorously pushing a shaft in the Fern hill ; their perseverance under great difficulties, experienced in their first creek sinkings and tunnelings, has been most commendable. If a reef is struck on those fern hills, the erection of machinery will be much facilitated by the easy access to that locality. Very few people think of that item just now ; but when the road cutting and bridging, to remove points will commence, the eyes of many will open in amazement.
The arrival of the promised steamer is looked forward to by all of us, as if we were shipwrecked mariners, instead of earth-grubbing diggers. Nothing, excepting always the yellow Coromandel cheese-cakes to come, will push us so far ahead as facility of communication. Under the present state of things the loss of time and attendant discomfort in a trip to Coromandel is such, that unless people are forced to go, they will not expose themselves to such things twice. The vessel that now offers the shortest term of "durance," and puts you out of misery and suspense quickest is the 'Thames;' she is always on the move, as she mainly depends on her passenger trade. Our fine weather has left us again, and we look out for squalls and heavy wet.
13 September 1862 Southern Cross, Coromandel Occasional Correspondent
On the 8th September I went to claim No.1 south on Beeson's reef, and one for the diggers working there picked up a small piece of quartz, weighing about ½lb. He crushed it in my presence, and obtained a good prospect. This was from a highly crystallised quartz. I then broke off a piece myself possible still smaller, which I crushed, and obtained another good prospect.
I am sorry to say there are but few on the diggings, but I expect there will be plenty again soon.
Some assaults have been reported here, but they have been trifling. One which came into the Resident Magistrate's Court was at the suit of a female named Chamberlain, who charged two respectable looking men with assaulting her. The case was dismissed with costs, after hearing evidence, by Mr Turton, R.M. On the 9th a man was fined 5s and 26s 6d costs, with the alternative of two calendar months' imprisonment, for using abusive language. Informations have been laid by the police against one of the most respectable storekeepers for selling a bottle of rum to a bushman, without a license.
These are all the items of news I can communicate.
16 September 1862 Southern Cross, Coromandel Correspondent (written 6 Sept)
The long wished for "steamer' made her appearance in our waters on Friday. The news of her arrival in Auckland was almost discredited by many a Coromandel exile, so much had the feeling of a 'remote existence' taken hold of the greater number, that the idea of a certain and comfortable passage from and to our primitive regions assumed something of an illusory character. Optical demonstration, however, dispelled every doubt as the smart craft steamed into our quiet mountain belted bay. Several residents took their passage in her the next day, some bound for Otago, others to convey "produce" to town. About 130 ounces of clean gold came on board, some of which will go further than Auckland I am sorry to say. Still, amongst those who are now leaving us, there are a few, who have not left Coromandel for good, much of their interests remaining centred yet in our prospects. I am glad to say some of our "best" men are amongst the latter class. Thus will a few, at least, be qualified to give a true verdict of the value of Coromandel, and their travels will benefit us therefore, more perhaps, than their retired stay might have done.
Mr Gibson brings to town four pounds weight of gold, crushed from 16lb of quartz ; it comes from the golden leader in the claim of his party. Has quartz like this been seen elsewhere? In Messrs. Roe and Firth's, Driving creek, on the Waihau a large quartz reef has been discovered. Gold has been found in "the surface" of the spot where it crops out, none has been seen in the stone yet, but the latter phenomenon is a very favourable symptom of the value of the reef itself.
The 'Tasmanian Maid' was duly appreciated by the crowd of Coromandel residents eagerly flocking into her. Her spacious cabins, for ladies and gentlemen, the comfortable and elegant fittings of the former elicited universal praise and satisfaction.
A good "cuisine" and attendance put every one into the best possible spirits, and none of the old pioneers could realise the idea that they could be on their road to Auckland, surrounded by so much comfort and ease. The fact of the matter is, she is just the boat we want, roomy enough for exercise on her decks, of steady and reasonable Speed, well managed and looked after, and presenting thus an excellent and safe conveyance of the town-sick spirits into scenes of Natures freshness and beauty such as only Coromandel can boast of. It is a matter of great wonder to all of us, that, her first trip should not have been enthusiastically patronised by the towns-people, perhaps they know not what wealth of beauty and pure enjoyment has been lying unexplored within five hours sail from them. One single objection alone exists in her present management, and that is the conveyance of passengers in boats to the wharf in Auckland. Can there be no permanent booth procured for her?
If natures unsophisticated charms cannot draw a number of visitors to Coromandel, I think part of the cargo of the 'Kate', Mr Keven's machinery will soon draw sightseers to the wild.
17 September 1862 Southern Cross, Shipping Intelligence
The steamer 'Tasmanian Maid,' Captain Jackson arrived bringing 12 passengers.
The machinery for Keven's Reef Company out of the 'Kate' has arrived, the boiler being bought by 'Alice Cameron' now on her way.
17 September 1862 Southern Cross, Value of Coromandel Gold
The market value of Coromandel gold is a matter in which many in this community are interested, either as buyers or sellers of gold, or as having a pecuniary interest in one or other of the numerous reef claims now partially worked in Coromandel. We have to thank the bank of New South Wales for taking the necessary steps in this matter ; and we append copy of assay obtained by them on samples of Coromandel gold, from the mint in Sydney:-
PURCHASE TICKET, Royal Mint, Sydney, 14th August 1862
Memorandum of the particulars of a purchase of gold bullion from Bank of New South Wales of Sydney, the value of which has this day been valued:
Date of deposit in the Mint- August 11th, 1862
Weight before melting.........................ozs 15.55
Weight after melting............................." 8.21
Assay report of fineness........................" 7.45
Standard weight...................................." 6.753
Value, at £3 17s 10½ per oz £26 5s 11d
Mint charges at 7.8ths per cent 0 4s 7d
Net value £26 1s 4d
(Signed) S. S. Severn, For the Deputy Master
PURCHASE TICKET, Royal Mint, Sydney, 14th August 1862
Memorandum of the particulars of a purchase of gold bullion from Bank of New South Wales of Sydney, the value of which has this day been valued:
Date of deposit in the Mint- August 11th, 1862
Weight before melting.........................ozs 20.15
Weight after melting............................." 18.05
Assay report of fineness........................" 744.
Standard weight...................................." 14.650
Value, at £3 17s 10½ per oz £57 10s 0d
Mint charges at 7.8ths per cent 0 10s 0d
Net value £56 10s 10d
(Signed) S. S. Severn, For the Deputy Master
This ought to set the question of value pretty well at rest. We are glad to find that the gold is not quite so inferior as it had been represented to be.
18 September 1862 Southern Cross
We are in receipt of a few further particulars respecting proceedings at Coromandel. A few days ago an attempt was make to jump Mr Brackenbury's claim No.1 north Keven's reef. Notice was given to the commissioner, by the men, that the reef was a payable one, but was not sufficiently manned, they would therefore jump it. Mr Turton decided against them, but, for his own satisfaction, dispatched Mr Turner, the sub-commissioner, to the spot, who took away about 10lbs weight o quartz, which upon being crushed, showed a most satisfactory result, yielding from 5 to 9 ounces to the ton : and which was retained by the commissioner.
We are pleased to learn that an hotel was been built, and will be finished in ten days or a fortnight from this date, and for which a license has been promised. The hotel is situate on the landing place at Kapanga, and adjacent to the court house. Visitors will therefore in future have no occasion to incommode themselves with tents or other provisions for covering.
20 September 1862 Southern Cross
KEVEN'S REEF COMPANY. The second call of £20 per share, will be made on the 22nd instant, as will be seen from advertisement.
THE KAPANGA QUARTZ REEF COMPANY (LIMITED). The shareholders in claim No.1 south, on Keven's reef, held a meeting yesterday, Mr G. Elliott in the chair, when it was resolved to constitute the shareholders a company under the Joint Stock Companies Act, with a nominal capital of £2,800 in 56 shares. Mr Beveridge was appointed solicitor, and requested to prepare the deed of settlement, &c. The company was named the Kapanga Quartz Reef Company.
20 September 1862 Southern Cross, Coromandel Correspondent (from Sept summary)
I wish that some of those obstinately blind creatures, the doubters and waverers in Coromandel prospects, had seen the stone taken out today from that model claim No.13 of Mr Gibson and party. The weight was about 100 pound, the richness of the stone surpassing even the best yet taken out of the same leader, so that, allowing even the widest margin to the excruciating price now offered for our gold, the value of that lot could not be less than £300. Such a day's work, or rather the work of an hour, as the stone is not three feet from the surface, would hold good in comparison with a caribou, Clutha or Lachlan finds - and that not taking into consideration the "per contra" chances in the last named place, of frost-bites, starvation or sticking-up. But what is the use of shouting into the ear or the deaf or pointing out beauties to the blind; until an escort wagon rattles up Queen Street, accompanied by stylish troopers, we have no chance of being believed in.
There is a party at work now up the main creek - general suspicions are entertained as to their doing well ; the materials for the construction of a water-wheel have been carried up, so that there is a chance of prosperous sluicing operations being carried on there, on the quiet. We will soon hear all about it, for murder and gold cannot be hidden. It is wonderful to observe occasionally how true that adage is, even in reference to gold; it is not so much the present thirst for gold, that ferrets out the metal in the remotest corners of the earth, but even where no anxiety for its discovery exists, Providence brings to light, in the strangest ways, what is so much needed in this "golden age." As an instance thereof, begging at the same time pardon for the digression, I know a place where, about four years ago, a most remarkable gold discovery took place.
To the east of Panama, on the Atlantic side, not far from Bocas del Torrò, lies the Valientes country, inhabited now by the remnants of a once powerful tribe of Indians. The country itself is one mass of virgin forest and mountains, precipitous and intersected by rapid streams, very much like Coromandel. Traces of gold washing operations are visible all throughout its extent, such as races for sluicing process, cut into the live rock, etc. I have seen many of them myself, and was told, at the time of my visit, that these works had come partly from the hands of the Spaniards, shortly after conquest, and partly from the hands of Aboriginals of by-gone generations. Mr prospecting thereabouts proved to me the existence of gold, but not in paying quantities without expensive machinery; this was in 1856. In 1857 we heard in the West Indies the news of a rush from Panama to that identical place; the particulars of it are as follows: - A man in search of sarsaparilla in the forest, observed something glittering in the roots of a gigantic tree, overthrown by age or accident. The upheaved roots had excavated the ground to a considerable depth, and as the man clambered up with great difficulty, the vertical face of root and earth clinging to the stem, he saw that the glittering object was gold, hammered rudely into the shape of a spread eagle. Delighted with his find, amounting to nearly ten ounces of gold, he returned and confided " the secret" to a friend, in whose general knowledge of the country, its present and past condition, he had great confidence. The latter observed at once, that this spread eagle was like the ornaments now even worn by the Valiente and San Blas Indians, - an ornament attached to a chain and worn on the breast (but now manufactured from silver and brought by Spaniards from Carthagena to their markets). The same confidant also knew that it was the custom of the former generations to bury the dead with their ornaments, particularly since the conquest, and its attendant dangers to the possessors of gold. He concluded therefore that this spread eagle had been uprooted by the falling tree from a grave, and that where there was one grave, there might be more. He was correct in his surmises, an extensive burial ground was discovered, and yielded its hidden treasures to a living generation. Many more are the instances of similar cases, come to my knowledge in North and South America, instances illustrative of the dangers and the blessings of the possession of gold, dangers and blessings not more extraordinary, than the means whereby both are entailed upon those that find it, or try to hide it.
The Maori and European races are in exactly the same position as the finder and hider has been elsewhere. There will be, however, one great difference, and that is the difference of historical periods. Our present age, let the croakers and howlers howl and croak as they like, or present age, is overflowing with the milk of human kindness, with the honey of the Hymettus of knowledge. If we conquer today, if we strike the foeman to the dust today, we lift him up tomorrow, and elevate him above his previous condition. Bondage, brutal bondage, is giving way everywhere to the instillings of self-control, and through the sword must not be turned into the plough share, it will be there only to guard the latter. Should the native race therefore become the weaker, through the discovery of gold in their country, instead of becoming the slaves of the white man, that white man will be able to elevate them to fit companions of himself, by his increase of power in teaching him the great law of all education; "self-control." Will the Maoris be the worse for a little more self-control?
24 September 1862 Southern Cross, Editorial
Once more the public feeling of Auckland has been stirred by the news from Coromandel. Yesterday the steamer 'Tasmanian Maid' arrived with intelligence that the Driving Creek was yielding more plentifully than ever it's golden store to the fortunate diggers. The subjoined facts were communicated to us by a gentleman who had inspected the quartz, and whose incredulity regarding Coromandel has hitherto been somewhat remarkable. It appears that in the claim worked by Gibson's party, a leader has been struck in the bank of the gully, about two feet below the surface. The stone taken out of this leader is richly charged with gold, so rich, indeed, that in a few hours work on Saturday the men took our what they estimate at £300. The quartz is of a bluish colour. On Monday, in a few hours, two men of the same party succeeded in obtaining a considerable quantity of the auriferous quartz. Our informant states the quartz taken from this leader appears to be quite as rich as the finest specimens brought up to Auckland since the opening of the diggings. Gibson's party showed our informant and friends the larger stones, which they kept in a beer barrel, the smaller particles being in a flour bag. The smaller specimens appeared to be remarkably rich, shewing the great value of the stone off which they were broken during the work of mining. But the most valuable specimens of stone were carefully wrapped in paper.
The leader in which these rich finds were made is within a few feet of Inglis's claim and from the direction in which it runs is supposed to strike through the claim. Inglis's party, as may readily be conceived, are driving vigorously in the direction of the leader, and have almost the certainty of finding it in turn.
The following are extracts from private letters, referring to this leader, which have been placed at our disposal. Writing on Saturday, a gentleman on the spot says :-"Gibson's party, at a low estimate, got £300 today." On Monday, the same gentleman writes-: " I have just been for a few minutes up to Gibson's claim and it's a regular jeweller's shop and no mistake. During the minutes that I have been here they have got at least £100 worth of gold : and I believe before the week's out, they will have one cwt!"
On Monday last a fine indication of gold bearing quartz was found in a leader in No.1, on Preece's Point.
In Hanson's claim, Keven's reef, a gold bearing leader has been struck.
In drive No.2 of Keven's Reef Company's claim, gold has been found. All the machinery for Keven's Reef Company, brought by the 'Kate' has been landed and progress is being made to have it permanently erected.
In claim No.1 south, the work is progressing satisfactorily ; and so also is claim No.1 north, (Brackenbury's).
Messrs. Ring and Watt have sunk a shaft, 80 feet deep, but have been brought to a stand still for want of labour since the rush to Otago.
Mr Drummond Hay and party, have discovered a gold bearing reef up the Main creek.
These particulars prove that Coromandel offers substantial attractions to the industrious and settled miner. The reports are not so brilliant as those which ever while came from the Dunstan ; but then the disappointments are fewer. There is infinitely less charm about Coromandel, than there is about the Dunstan and Moa diggings. There is little fear of death from starvation, or of men perishing in the snow-drifts in this province. £4 need not be paid for wood to make a cradle at Coromandel ; and the necessaries of life are as plentiful and cheap at the Kapanga diggings as they are in Auckland. The diggers can leave town and return again in a day, without the necessity of carrying a heavy "swag," or fatiguing themselves by walking a step in the journey. All theses things, doubtless, combine to make Coromandel an everyday kind of a place ; and diggers generally seem fond of difficulties, dangers and disappointments. This is to be regretted, although they are the chief sufferers. One paragraph in our correspondent's letter from Otago, published yesterday, deserves comment. It is said that the diggers from Coromandel, who returned by the 'Albatross,' "spoke in strong terms of the apathy and inattention of the Auckland people towards them." When we believed the diggers were not supported as they should have been, we did not hesitate to state as much in our columns ; but on the other hand, we will not permit any of the late Coromandel diggers to say, without contradiction, that they were either treated with apathy or inattention. Perhaps isolated cases might be cited, but as a whole the contrary is the fact ; and we challenge any of these men to point out a place elsewhere, of the same population, which rendered anything like the assistance to a gold digging community which the Government and public of Auckland have done. We have little doubt but many of these men will find their way back to Auckland, after having paid their last farthing, and had a little more of the chilly Southern experience, and then they will be better able to appreciate the attention of the people of Auckland. There is much yet to be done to develop the resources of Coromandel, but public enterprise has been at length aroused in Auckland, and we have every confidence in the result.
24 September 1862 Southern Cross, Kapanga Petty Sessions
Gamble v R. Poole Jnr, September 22nd before Mr H. Turton Esq.,R.M.
This was a claim for£19 19s 6d., for a share of the proceeds of "The Victoria Nugget.," and other specimens said to be found by the defendant.
The Plaintiff swore that he was engaged by the defendant upon the 1st of August, and was to receive in lien of wages one twelfth of all specimens found, that upon the 7th August, specimens were found when Poole refused to give plaintiff any share. In consequence he went to Auckland to recover his claim by law, that whilst there Roberts brought his a letter signed by Poole and Dwrt, appointing him (Roberts) their agent, and authorising him to settle the matter. He agreed to the terms proposed, viz.., to receive £20, and Poole to be accountable for other specimens said to be lost. On returning to Kapanga he saw Poole, who said, "It is perfectly correct and in a short time I will pay you" Poole has never denied the claim until today.
Cross-examined,- My claim is founded alone upon defendant's written admission to it. I decline to state where the specimens were found, as it is utterly irrelevant to the case, and my get others into trouble. I was no mate of Poole's, and rest my claim only on his own admission.
Thomas Roberts deposed that he took a letter from Poole and Dwrt to plaintiff, authorising him to act for them. He did so, and promised plaintiff £20 and Poole to account for the lost specimens. Poole has since sanctioned this before me. I decline to say whether I am to have a share if the suit is gained. I was never to receive myself £20. I never said I would sooner have £20 from Poole than £1000 from the Irishman. I decline to say where the specimens were found.
Edward Morgan corroborated the above evidence, and said that Roberts was most certainly to receive £20, as well as plaintiff to keep quiet.
Joseph Dwrt also corroborated the evidence, and stated to the best of his belief the specimens were found in claim No.15
The defendant having been heard, judgement was given against him for the amount claimed and costs.
An action or prosecution will probably arise out of the case for the recovery of the specimens.
24 September 1862 Southern Cross, Postal Dispatch
WE are not fond of fault finding, nor do we wish in this instance to impute blame. We simply wish to call attention of those whom it may concern to the fact that the Coromandel mail, which was handed to the Custom-house officer yesterday at 2.20pm., and which we understand, found its way to the post office messenger at 3pm., was not delivered yesterday evening at five o'clock. Having been informed by a gentleman who came up in the 'Tasmanian Maid,' that he saw a letter addressed to us posted at Kapanga and which he had reason to believe came up by the steamer, we sent to the post office, but the messenger returned without it. Thinking there was some mistake, we went to the post office and inquired whether a letter had been received for us from Coromandel, and if so requesting it as a favour to be delivered. We were informed in reply, by the gentleman who attended, that the office was closed (it was then 4.30), but that it would be open next morning at ten o'clock. We do not complain of official incivility, for the young gentleman in question is certainly not paid to be civil ; but what we do want to arrive at, in the best interests of the public, is whether it is not desirable, on the part of the authorities to increase the number of the post office clerks so as to enable them to get through every day's work within office hours. Relatively to Dunedin our post office officials are over-worked and underpaid. For this cheese-paring the public suffer. We cannot expect them to work all hours in the miserable wooden shed which receives the name of the general post office in Auckland, for the small salaries which they receive ; and yet the public will grumble when they are disappointed in any particular instance. We were aware a mail was being made up for the South yesterday, and therefore the post office hands were unusually busy. But we desired authentic intelligence from Coromandel to go down South by the steamer to-day, and we were told that our own correspondent refused to entrust his letter, containing that very news, to private hands, so as to guard against delay. Unluckily, as it happened, the post office was closed to the public before it came to the turn of the Coromandel mail to be sorted.
29 September 1862, Southern Cross, Editorial
The news from Coromandel is more hopeful than ever. On Saturday the steamer 'Tasmanian Maid' returned to Auckland from Coromandel, bringing with her, as "our own Correspondent" estimates, 23lbs., weight of solid gold, almost all of which may be said to have been taken from one leader by one small party in a very few days. This estimate is considered too low by other, but we prefer being under, rather than over, the mark. However, claim No. 13 in the Driving Creek, has tuned out quite a "Dunstan" at our own doors, and there is reason to believe that many other working claims in Coromandel will be equally rich. Every man there is content ; but only great finds are now reported. It does seem strange that in the face of these facts men are leaving for Otago. We can only account for it on the supposition that hey are unfit or unwilling to prospect for quartz reefs ; or else that they are influenced by a morbid desire for change. But of Coromandel we have no doubt. It will yet take a leading place among the gold-fields of the world, although its beginnings have been small and its friends few.
We regret that it has been deemed necessary to lay up the 'Tasmanian Maid' for a fortnight, as the gold she brought up last trip will undoubtedly give a fresh stimulus to the Coromandel trade. However, the spirited owners are not likely to keep her longer out of the service than necessary, so that the interruption to our steam communication with Coromandel will be only temporary.
29 September 1862 Southern Cross, Coromandel Correspondent, (written 24th Sept).
Nearly fifteen pounds weight of pure gold were shown to me today, as the result of this week's work in No.13. The amount of highly auriferous tailings, preserved by the same party from their imperfect process of gold extraction, will form soon a nice addition to their present large earnings. They have a large barrel full of them. A patent amalgamator would probably produce nearly as much as one third of the gold already extracted.
The leader of Inglis and Co., in No.16, is proving highly auriferous, and increasing in size the farther it is traced into the opposite bank. It bears considerably to the west of north, and gives encouragement to those who have been considered "outsiders" by the over-wise.
A number of swag-laden individuals are making again their appearance in Coromandel ; and this oft reviled and forsaken field will soon be again the favourite.
There is a rumour of the Victoria claim-holders having struck the reef ;but as yet it is only a rumour.
From three to four ounces of specimens are still daily taken, by two men, form an abandoned creek-claim in the Driving Creek.
Several claims have been marked out near the "monster reef," on the Hakaroa stream. No doubt there is plenty of quartz there for crushing purposes, the gold, we hope, will also be come upon there in time.
So, I suppose, if the Clutha proves inaccessible to the tea and flour-loving prospectors, we will have them soon here amongst us. It is to be hoped that they will bring some of " the mutton" with them, whereof they seem to have had too much, and we too little. The hardships of "travelling on mutton" sound most appallingly from the south, equalling almost the sufferings of the darkey who sang "Oh Jordan is a hard road to travel I believe."
29 September 1862 Southern Cross, Coromandel Correspondent (written 27th Sept).
Today, Twenty-three pound weight of pure gold has been taken to town from No.13. There is no doubt now that the pile of that party is made. The names of the lucky claim-holders are well known in Australia and California ; they are Thomas Gibson, Henry McCade, Richard Kennedy, and Owen Owens. A gentleman from Auckland, established in Coromandel as storekeeper and quartz-reefer, E. Wood, has the good luck of being considerably interested in the welfare of No.13. Along with the pure gold, there go some "slabs" of gold "with a little quartz", just enough to call them specimens.
Inglis and Co. are progressing, at a rapid rate, towards "a pile." 35lb of rich stone were taken out on Friday, besides which large quantities of "fair stuff" have been put aside. The leader is beginning to look very reef-like ; 3 feet thick, though not quite solid yet.
I suppose this news will fall as flat as usual on the ear of the public. What good can there come from Coromandel? Has it not been tried nine years ago and proved a "a duffer?" Has it not had hundreds of diggers for the last six months, and nothing came of it ' and have not hundreds left it? Therefore what is it we can build our faith on? The shifting sands of a diggers opinion? No. Let us slumber till our neighbour wakens us up, congratulating us to a fortune whereof he has just tasted the tit-bit.
29 September 1862, Southern Cross, Occasional Correspondent (written 25th Sept)
Mr Preece is burning all the fern bush from his township, (Kingston) : from the window at which I am indicting this epistle that smoke is very visible. It really is a beautiful spot for a town, being of easy access, well supplied with water, and very level ; besides, it commands a good view of the harbour.
From Keven's middle drive, yesterday, prospects were very fine. I was present at the crushing, and also for some time during the washing. In every washing there was some prospect, while in some the show of gold was indeed good. Of necessity there was much lost in washing, and I have no doubt that had mercury been used to collect the gold, there would have been a very much finer prospect. Albeit, I think all present, for there were some few, were perfectly satisfied ; and one gentleman, who was also present, I heard remark that one such reef alone was a sufficient guarantee that a township would prosper at Kapanga. The opinion of this gentleman is worth consideration, more particularly as he has no interest, I believe, in Keven's claim. Mr Keven himself, I believe, holds fourteen shares in the claim four of which he purchased but lately. I should mention, possibly, that, from want of the proper apparatus, the quartz was not pulverised sufficiently, and the dish contained many small quartz specimens.
Mr Brackenbury's house is very nearly finished, and there will soon be no lack of houses of accommodation etc. The weather is truly glorious and the roads are getting very passable.