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The Hanging Rock

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Tuesday 21 October 1856, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser

These diggings, although not much spoken of, or attracting great attention, are not to be despised. The diggers are doing a quiet stroke, and pocketing their nuggets without making a fuss about it, with this advantage over the Rocky, that the work is neither so laborious nor the sinking such a depth. The gold being sent by the mail, or by private parties, no accurate amount of the weekly produce can be arrived at.

We are in receipt of the following letter from the Rocky, from our townsman, Mr. Levien, which fully confirms the information as to Sawpit Gully:

To the Editors of the Maitland Mercury.

Dear Sirs – It is with much satisfaction that I advise your numerous subscribers, through the medium of your journal, of the discovery of a very rich tract of auriferous land at a place called Sawpit Gully; it is situated to the right of Mount Jones about one mile, and appears to be a continuous “lead” of the mountains already worked. The diggings in question am at present only bottomed in the gully, but holes are going down in the mountains on either side, where it is supposed the shafts will require an average depth of 55 feet. The prospects in the gully claims are excellent, yielding 2 to 4 dwts to the dish, but it would not be advisable for diggers to come up purposely for this spot, as there must be over 2000 claims already marked out, and before they could arrive it would be impossible to to get at all near the desired locality. My own impression is, this rush will prove superior to either Mount Jones or Mount Welsh, and so very sanguine are all here of success that four stores are already going up, and application has been made to the Commissioner for permission to remove one public house and leave to erect another. If any of your readers are acquainted with the Armidale road if will be sufficient to say that the place is about two miles from “The Barley Fields,” to the left, going towards Armidale, from Mr. Samuel McCrossin’s Inn. There are beautiful specimen’s of quartz in the mountain – one of which I forwarded last post to Mr. L W. Levy – and also a sample of the gold, which appears exceedingly bright and pure.

Sydney Flat, a continuation of this lead, is also spoken of as proving equally rich. I cannot learn the truth of this rumour now, but you may calculate on the earliest intelligence if it proves – as I hope – a fact.

I should have advised you of the rush to Sawpit Gully last post, but refrained from doing so until the claims were in some measure worked to prove the many idle rumours at first afloat as to the richness of the digging. All I can now say is, I have personally conversed with at least one hundred of the diggers, and all substantiate the above.

I see some correspondent, in one of the journals, blames the Commissioner, and says he is seldom seen. This is not true. The Gold Commissioner’s quarters are certainly badly selected, and now this new rush has been made, must be altered, as he is placed at least three miles from the civilised portion of the diggers, his only companions being the Chinese and the cockatoos. We want him in the midst of us; but I can certainly bear witness to his exertions and to his most courteous and gentlemanly conduct to the diggers indiscriminately.

The Escort starts to-morrow for Sydney. I think there will be a still larger amount of gold than by last escort go down this trip. The next shall show the advantage of the new rush.

I sincerely hope my suggestion, that a practical geologist may be sent here, will be taken into consideration. It is spoken of that emeralds, ruby, sapphire, garnet, and other stones – antimony, and other minerals – are here. Much labour might be saved by the knowledge of the science, and further discoveries in valuable products made known; thus developing the resources of the colony, and by degrees assisting in emancipating us from the name of colonists to that of a mighty nation. Individuals would give a trifle to hear of a rich claim, why not our Government !

I am, dear sirs, yours faithfully,


Rocky River Diggings, Oct. 14, 1856.

P.S. – Immense rain has fallen this last few days. I think the heaviest hour’s rain I ever saw was on Tuesday last, and yesterday it rained all day very violently at times. I have now been here three months, and it has rained almost every second day since I arrived. The roads are described as fearful about Kentucky, and I have no doubt they are so.

Written by macalba

November 10, 2010 at 8:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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