AORERE GOLD FILED.
To the Editor of the Nelson Examiner. Sir,— The mind of the inhabitants of the province is at present so much excited in the enquiry whether a paying gold field really exists .within its boundaries, that I doubt not you will afford me space in your columns in which to enumerate the principal circumstances which have come under my notice during a visit to the Aorere Valley, from which I have to-day returned. An unusually long and stormy passage, in which considerable danger was encountered, brought us to the mouth of the Apvere r^v.er, a. v v ery easily entered
and j>afe harbour, even for large vessels. Had you been as my fellow passengers and myself were, detained by bad weather and calms, five days over a passage of sixty miles, your already warm advocacy of local steam navigation would, I*m confident, become yet more earnest. It would have been much to the benefit of the passengers to and from the different out ports had the whole Board of Directors of thpJLoval Sfeam Company been with us. With the prospect of having to repeat the trip in three months, they would become less fastidious as to all the minute qualifications of vessels offered them, and woiild take good care to have one of some description or other, b-'ioie the end of the 3 months. On arrivril, we started without delay for the ranges, which, after a journey of three houis, we reached, the last four miles Wing rather toilsome walking. In a deep gully we found about thiity men engaged in the digging diid washing operations, tl.e latter carried on by means of a small stream of water, carried by means of leads or small channels into the •' claim " of each party, and carried by each thiough their " long torn,' 1 or into tubs or buckets for the use of the " cradle." The stuff washed they obtained on the surface, digging to a depth, on an average of about four feet. The labour expended seemed modeiately severe, but not so much so as to deter any man accustomed to ex* erting his strength from engaging in it. We noticed immediately on going amongst the men, that a zeal which we attributed to past success, animated them ; and I s<iw also with pleasure that the members of each party seemed on excellent terms amongst themselves, and with their neighbours. In both these suppositions further enquiry proved me correct. On stating to ihe men, through Mr. Lightband— who is the discoverer of the gully now worked, and from the interest he has taken in arrangements calculated to promo'e order and comfort amongst them, stands high in their opinion -that I was desirous to take to Nelsm a sample of the valuable product they sought, I was surpiised to find that, though I offeied more than the value of the best Australian gold, an unwillingness to sell was almost universal; the very short-sighted notion that if by the exhibition here ot any considerable quantity of gold many people went over to woik their interests would be injuriously affected influencing them. From this cause I was unable to obtain all the gold on the diggings. However, I purchased —
Amounting in^all to seventeen ounces five pennyweights. Several parties would not sell their gold at any price, or give any information as to their success ; but at a very low estimate , 13 ozs. must, when 1 left, have remained on the hands of the finders. When it is taken into consideration that, with the exception of Mr. Lightband's, which has already sent 5 ozs. into Nelson, all the parties who obtained this quantity had only settled down to work within four days, some within a lesser time, previous to my visit, the yield will be found highly satisfactory, and quite calculated to induce a laige accession to the numoer of diggers. Mr. Bray's party of five men, from whom I purchased the 6 oz. 10 dwts. 6 grs. above set down, werv> only three days and a-half in obtaining that quantity. It is from these facts, clearly proved, that this gully is worked profitably. It can employ, supposing its whole extent of about a mile equally rich, several hundred men. But the country for miles in every direction, and as far inland as has been explored, is of the same charactei precisely as the spot now worked, and requires, I doubt not, only a large population distributed over it to give Nelbon a large export of gold. We have no precedent for the discovery of the richest part of« gold-country in the outset— and the reasonable presumption is, that we have far better thing 3 in the future of ours. The course the Gold Rewaid Subscribers have taken in equiping Mr. McGregor, and sending him to "prospect," is doubtless a good one, as the people at present successful will not leave their work to search elsewhere, and new arrivals not finding a place in which to settle without loss of time, would leave disgusted, and carry away with them an unfavourable report. Tins evil the examination of the country by Mr. M'Gregor will, to a great extent, prevent. I trust the general interest of the subject may excuscmy occupation of s»o large a portion of your space. I am, &c, George Ridings. Nelson, Feb. 25, 1857.
Abstract of Lettek trom Mu, G. W. Lichtband to his Brother. Since I last wrote to you respecting thp gold-fields, a great change has taken place for the better. The dig gmgs are certainly promising a good reward to all those who are now at work on them. As iegards our own party, our success- has been small. After working with the long -torn for eight days, our division of gold only amounted to about 1 oz each per man, and 4 *>z. for the boy. I attribute our want ot success to bad management, none of the party knowing properly the way the long -torn should be used : in Australia I principally used the tub and cradle. We have since separated— l and G. Adam and the boy forming one par y, and are now working the tub and cradle ; and, strange to say, both parties have made a good start tor the better, h iving accumulated in the last thiee days 2^ ozs. of gold. I think we shall do better with a long-torn which I intend getting in a day or two. lam acquainted with several parties at the present time who are making £1 per day each man. I was instructed by a number of the diggers to draw up regulations for their protection, peace, and quietude ; and, at a meeting at which I was appointed to preside over, the regulations were agreed to, a copy of whioh I will forward in my next. For my part, I would sooner take my chance on these than on the Melbourne diggings, being perfectly satisfled with the richness ot the deposits on these diggings. I am, &c, William Lightband. Massacre Bay Diggings, Feb. 22, 1857. N.B.— Mr. Catley will give j r ou a list of the working of some of the parties.
Friday Evening, 8 o'clock. The Rapid has just arrived from Massacre Bay, bringing the gratifying news that within the last few days gold has been found, not only in much larger quantities, but over a considerable stretch of country expending into the valley of the Takaka. We wish to avoid anytning like exaggerated statements, but we are assured that every man now at the Diggings is in the highest possible spirits, and isiealizing gold sufficient to remunerate him most liberally for his labour. Gold of a coarser character is also being found.
(From the Examiner, March \A.) Our Gold Fields.— Since our last notice of the goldfields in Massacre Bay, the number of diggers there have greatly augmented, and not less than 200 persons are now engaged in the district either in digging or in prospecting. Several persons have returned to Nelson, some well satisfied with their gains, and with a determination to return, better equiped, to prosecute their search for the aurifi rous treasure ; anil others disappointed, and evincing no disposition to abandon their farms and cultivations, and a settled course of industry, for what at best is only a lottery of gain— the prizes sometimes large, but the blanks often nun erous. From the best information we have been able to collect, we believe that all who keep steadily at work in the gully where the gold was first discovered, are making excel lent wages ; but as the extent of this gully is but small, parties have pushed out in various directions prospecting. At the date of our last advices, another gully contaming increased quantities had been discovered, but it laboured under the disadvantage of being without water. About 50 ozs. were put on board the schooner Ann, which, from having called at the Tata Island for a cargo of limestone, has not yet arri\ed here; and at least 50 ozs more were in the haniU of the diggers at the time the Ann sailed. Additional intelligence must reach us in a few days.
(From the Examiner, March 18.) The intelligence from the diggings at Massacre Bay received since our last is of a highly satisfactory character, for we hear from various source? that not only hp.s gold been found over a considerable tract of country, but in greatly increased quantities For fuller particulars, we refer oar readers to the Gold Circular of Messrs. Nicholson and Ridings, and to the letter of Mr. Lightband, both annexed.
Gold Circular. Nelson, March 14, 1807. From the date of our last Circular (26th ultimo) to the 10th instant, the produce of the Aorere Gold-field is stated to be, at a moderate c timate, 150 ounces, of which over 50 ounces have reached Nelson. The number of Diggers on that date was about one hundred and fifty, one third of whom had very recently arrived. The av erage yield per man, therefore, gives good wages, and we nave not heard of a Gold-field where success is more evenly distributed The race week, the principal holiday of the year, being now past, the number of people employed will be largely, added to within a few days. From a gully on this side the grt>at dividing rangr, and within a short distance of Motueka (a small settlement within eighteen miles by water from thetovn), eighteen pennyweights of Gold have this week been received. Tl i' sample g,rounder than any other we have yet seen, It wa* in, the neighbourhpod.o! the plac«
where this sample was found that, during last winter, the first indications of the existence of Gold in the province were met with. From the Takaka Valley, which is also on the side of the range, a few grains of Gold have been brought into tow n ; and a party has gone out to prospect that country more fully. We have, irr these facts, an evidence that the washings from both sides of the range, on the west at the Aorere, and on the east at the Takaka and Motueka, contnin Gold ; and this, taken in connexion with the highly auriferous appearance of the mountains, leads to the reasonable presumption that the whole range will be found Gold producing. It may be taken as a very favourable indication, that the nearer to the high mountains the diggers proceed the larger become the particles of G ild. Some men have sold to our Correspondent at the Aorere an ounce taken from a gully ahout two miles nearer to the range, about which he writes that "It is quite a different character of Gold ; it is a much larger grain, and darker in colour." Nicholson and Ridings.
To Mr. M Lightband, Nelson. Dear Brother— l have no doubt there must be considerable anxiety on your part and of people generally to have correct information is to our progress on the Massacre Bay Diggings. In my former letters to you I endeavoured to send you as correct statements as possible; as, far from exaggerating. I think, from the information I have gathered from different parties since that 1 have stated under the mark. The diggings are certainly improving, every week , the yield of gold being mtich "better, and at the present time the yield exceed* 100 ounces. With this I have sent you a copy of the Regulations I should have done so much sooner, but many of the diggers were under the impression that they would be taxed with a license-fee, and so retard their progress. But, from a conversation I had with a gentleman who had recently arrived here, I find there is nothing of the kind in contemplation by the Government. This news was received with a very grent deal of pleasure by the diggers ; and I think it will have the effect of removing a great deal of that suspicion complained of by different gentlemen who have visited the diggings. I have been much surprised that some amongst us should be so shortsighted as to think we should give no information whatever. I can only say my part, that I have bien benefited already by those diggers who have come here ; and had it not been for theii perseverance I should still have been at work on the side ofthe gully, instead of getting on the lead, which is right in the centre of it, and so have lost a claim which I value at | £100 sterling. In four days last week, I, « man whom I employ by the week, and my mate John Riley, thp young lad, accumulated four ounces and a-half of gol>l ; and I think it is likely I shall improve upon that in the coming week. There are at present upwards of 150 diggers at work, most of them doing well, and all working peaceably under the regulations. Like all other diggings, some go away dissatisfied, and think the gold is confined to one gully. Only fancy, out of a thousand gullies, all having much the same features an^> appearance, that this gully should be the only one. Some men, like children, have broken up their toms and cradles, and gone home disgusted ; some to their mothers and others to their wives. Perhaps if they were to eat a sheepte pluck every morning, so as to acquire that very necessary characteristic of a digger, they might come and try the diggings again. Some persons may say it is all very well for me to talk this way, because I am interested in getting the bonus. So far from this being my object, lam satisfied of the good it will do the country, and the congratulations of those around me, even if I should get no public reward whatever. I have enclosed with this the original copy of the regulations, which you will please get published, and send them back by the first opportunity. I shall give you a visit in Nelson as soon as I have worked out my claim, which will be in ahout three months. Yours, &c, : G. W. Lightband. Massacre Bay Gold Fields, March l'l, 1807.
Rules and Regulations agreed upon Sy the Diggers, on the Massacre Bay Gold Fields, at a Meeting hhld on Wednesday Evening, February 18, 1857. 1. Land Claim Regulation, Proposed by Mr. Carter, .seconded by Mr. Meyers, and carried unanimous'y — " That every digger shall be entitled to 20 feet square of land for sinking, and 30 feet square for suiface digging, tomming, sluicing, cradling, &c." 2. Water and Sluice Regulation. Proposed by Mr. Carter, seconded by Mr. T. R. Berry, and carried uiTanimously — " That any digger requiring water for tomming, sluicing, or cradling, such water so conveyed from its natural course shall be re-conveyed to the natural stream before any other party shall make a dam or divert such water for his use." 3. Absence of a claimant for a short period. Proposed by Mr. Picton, seconded by Mr. Smart, and carried unanimously — " That in case the whole of a party should be absent from the diggings for more than the space of three successive days, such party shall forfeit their claims entirely ; and shoujd any portion of a party be absent for more than a space of three weeks in succession, such absentees shall forfeit their claims, but the portion of the party remaining shall be allowed to hold one claim each." 4. Reward and Inducement for the Discovery of a neto available Gold Field. Proposed by Mr. Picton, seconded by Mr. Black more, and carried unanimously — " That any party discovering ? new available gold-field or gully, each person composing such party shall be enticed to a double claim." 5. Reward to Mr. Lightband, as the Discoverer and Instigator of the present D iggings. Proposed by Mr. Picton, seconded by Mr. Thomas, and carried unanimously — " That Mr. Lightband being the discoverer of the present diggings, he shall Jin accordance with the last regulation (No. 4), be entitled to a double claim for himself, and a single claim for John Riley, his assistant." 6. Settlement of disputes. Proposed by Mr. C. Myers, seconded by Mr. Woodhouse, and carried unanimously — " That in case of any dispute arising between two or more diggers, such dispute shall be settled and determined upon by five practical diggers, each digger to be chosen from a separate party." 7. General Regulation respecting the putting in force of these Rules, Ssc. Proposed by Mr. J. Hearle, seconded by Mr. Edward James, and carried unanimously — " That in the absence of a commissioner or any public officer to preserve order or make laws and rules, these Rules and Regulations shall for the present be considered binding on the diggers ; and any digger breaking either of these said Rules and Regulations shall not be entitled to protection under them, and shall also forfeit his claim." G. W. Lightband, Chairman. J. M. Hearle, Secretary.
(From the Examiner, MarcJi 21.,) Every arrival from, the other side of the Bay strengthens the conviction that a really remunerative gold field exists in the Aorere Valley, and that is is calculated to give profitable employment to a large number of diggers^ By advices which have been received by a mercantile gentleman in town, it appears that his correspondent at Aorere had purchased since his former remittance about 100 ounces of gold; and we learn that another gentleman is also on the spot making purchases for Sydney. If to the quantity of gold thus known to have been purchased, we add 50 ounces for what has been bought by the gentleman last referred to, and for what then remained in the hands of the diggers, we may fairly compute the total quantity of gold found at Aorere, anl not remitted to Nelson, as being little short up to this time of 200 ounces. The improved success w hich has attended the labours of many of the diggers has induced a great many persons to visit the Aorere for the purpose of "trying their luck," and our coasting ciaft find brisk employment in running between the Diggings and Nelson. The daily exhibition of fifty ounces of gold in the shop window of Mr. Coates, watchmaker,. Trafalgar-street, doubtless stimulates in many a desire to obtain a share in our auriferous treasures. We print below a letter from Mr. M'Gregor, who has been sent out by the Gold Bonus Committee on a prospecting expedition. Mr M'Gregor's letter is evidently written in a guarded manner, and so as to raise no false expectations, but it shows clearly that auriferous wealth is very generally disseminated throughout the whole district. The second letter shows the improved success which attends the labour of some of the diggers.
To Messrs. Cbbtis Brothers, Nelson. Gentlemen,— As this is the first visit I have paid to the port sinoe I left, having now come down for provisions, I embrace the opportunity of sending you a. few lines to let you know how we have been getting on. We camped beyond' the Diggings about two miles and prospecting eastwards, or towards the Para-para ; s mthwards, or upjth? valley. We have not been Tery successful,.
We spent most time in thoie gullies where there was* least gold but the indicat ons very good— it was juit possible that unless well tried there might be a' lead of gold and we miss. While prospecting eastwards we tried one gully falling into the Para-para \ this was the <>nly place that would pay good wages. It is a dry. v gully and 'wotfld not do for wotking s "Tom," but' enough water would be got fop a tub andf cradV . The gold lies two or three feet under the surface in a yellow clay among quartz boulders resting on a greyish sam— • what in Australia would be called a false bottom. We sunk below this, but the ground was too rbep for i s without any rope ; besides, deep sinking would have o<v cupied too much time. The little ravines falling Into this g'llly would also ; be found to pay. and once let population ser in- there" and some will be lound speculative enough to see the real bottom. I have informed numbers of diggers to* day about this place, and it is more than robable before' long it will be well tried. This gully is a considerable length, and if a(l as good ad; where we tried it, would support a good number of diggers* There was also some gold in a flat gully above this, but unless a great quantity of stuff was run through it would' not pay. Alotgether the indications here were as good a* moSfr places I have seen here. We also tried the deep ravines falling into a branch of the Aorere, but there was no gravel in these streams, the water running over the bed rock of slate. To the southward from this the country became rough, broktn, and impassable. The branch streams had no regular worn' course, but fell in cascades over precipices. So rough was" this part of the countiy, that when nuking our last shift towards the south west we found it impracticable to cross at this place. The waters gather in here in a kind of basin fiom the foot of some of the high hills, and theu form a branch of the Aorere of no small magnitude, running be--tween two walls of slate forming a narrow gorge. Finding we could not cross at the place described'; we' had to strike down to this streams-j unction with the mam 1 river. We then proceeded southward to the place where we are at present camped. Round this place, so far as we have prjspected, we have met with pour success — there is goldall over the country, but in many places nut enough to pay. Tor instance, yesterday we tried a place and got about twenty tine specs in a little gravel. We then cleared- away and sunk— bottomed and tried, but did not get a speck ; this is contrary to the run of things in Australia. We have a considerable distance to go yet before we reach the lofty mountains, and I am afraid that after doing our best there will be much left undoue. One great drawback to tne development of these gold fields, which increases every mile one goes in the interior, is the want of roads, the scrubby manuka making travelling very bad. There would have been plenty of work for three prospecting pnrties ; one party to have taken the country between the Para-para and the branch of the Aorere already described —this would give a S S.R. direction. Another party to take the centre of the valley, or the ground we at present occupy. The third party to take the ranges falling to the West Coast. Nevertheless we will do our best, whatever, be'th'e result,, and, whilst living in hopes of having better news* to coin--municite befoie long, L am, &o. D.M'Gregoh'.. , Aorere, March 15", 185 T.
To the Editor of the Helton Examiner. Sir,— We send you an extract from a letter just received' from the •' Diggings.'* We do not feel *t liberty to give the name-of the writer, but we are confident that you may place full reliance on. his statements. We are, &c. Ciiktis Brothers. Nelson, March 20, 1857.
" Aorere, March 17, 1857. " I am now about to pen you a line, having been t»some of the different diggings since I wrote you. Of those seeking the precious meUl who have been here, say a fortnight, one half the number I believe are making 10s. to 303. per day each man. "In ' Lightband's Gully,' one claim possessed by Blackmore, Jennings, Hargreaves, and Lovell, produced in geld dust £68 4s. last week. This I know to be true. "In ' Appoo's Gully. 1 (a comparatively new adventure)) some few claims are yiejding 10s. to 30s. per day each man. So much for the bright side of the picture. " On the reverse, it is a fact that some work hard, receiving nothing in return, and at others 2s. to ss. per day."
F: Mr. Bray and parly Mr. Lightb.wd and party .... > Mr. Adam Mr. Wood house and party . . 07. < 6 3 0 4 dwts. grs. 10 6 16 0 18 0 0 0
Permanent link to this item
AORERE GOLD FILED., Daily Southern Cross, Volume XIV, Issue 1017, 27 March 1857
AORERE GOLD FILED. Daily Southern Cross, Volume XIV, Issue 1017, 27 March 1857
Using This Item
See our copyright guide for information on how you may use this title.