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New Zealand Provinces. OTAGO.

[fbom oub own cobbespohdent.J Dunedin, November 22, 1862. Being unavoidably compelled to omit my usual letter by the last mail, and as I expect you will have culled the local papers, I shall confine myself to the most recent incidents. The news from the gold-fields is generally of the most satisfactory character. From the Dunstan, the latest accounts reveal a richness which has probably never been surpassed by any gold-field in the world. The gullies and outlying ground in the vicinity of the Molyneux and its tributaries are proving exceedingly rich, and returns are made at some of them which were not surpassed by Bendigo or Ballaarat in their palmy days. Of these gullies, Conroy's, situate about 20 miles from the Dunstan township, has proved the richest, although others are yielding magnificent returns. Instances of men getting, in a few days* pounds weight of gold are numerous — and 10, 20, and even 50 lbs. have been procured by isolated parties who have happened to hit on the richest spots. On Wednesday Dunedin was thrown into considerable excitement by a report that a fresh gold-field had been discovered, where the nuggets aotually lay on the surface. During the day the Daily Times issued an extraordinary, containing a report specially despatched from the Dunstan by their own reporter. The news, which was afterwards substantiated by a report by the Commissioner, was as follows :— The prospectors' names are M. Grogan, P. May, and J. Mullins. Two of these are old California miners. The site is now ascertained to be the Cardona creek, emptying into the Clutha on the left bank. The distance is given at 82 miles from this. At the time they made the discovery they were looking out for the reported rich finds of Fox and party. One of them, on the 6th instant, accidentally found, on a cattle track, on dark loamy soil, a four pennyweight piece of gold. This led the party to think that it had been lost by Fox's party, but, on discussing the matter over, at night, two of them, from their Culiforniau experience, were led to believe that gold might be found in such stuff. They were accompanied by six others, also looking out for the whereabouts of Fox and his mates. In their presence Q/ogan and party, unearthed from the service the following pieces, weighing 16, 10i, 10, 7i, 6, 4£ pennyweights respectively ; obtaining in all nine ounces six pennyweights and a -half ; and they then stated that they should at once proceed to the Dunstan for a prospecting claim. They describe the spot on which they found this gold as a kind of slide or landslip. The word terrace will convey a better idea. High ranges bound the creek ; and they believe that they have discovered one of the richest gold-fields in the world. There is no timber upon it, but plenty within a few miles distance. Such is a Bhort summary of the man's statement, the original of which is forwarded by Mr. Keddell to Dunedin. It is supposed that it is somewhere in this immediate locality, that Fox and party are getting their gold. One of this party has lately left a rich claim on Potter's Gully, for the place they are working, but all endeavours to track them have so far failed. A few days will soon lead to more authentic information, regarding the capabilities of this new and last district which is now likely to receive a fair trial. Gold has never so richly been sown upon the surface of any gold-field in the world ; if the statements of these prospectors should prove true. It is almost impossible to realize them, but they steadily affirm its correctness, and Btarted back immediately, accompanied by every acquaintance, to " lay on." If the gold in suck heavy pieces was really found on one of these many terraces, common to the Dunstan goldfield, it will be impossible to define the value of their past development, or the increased resources it will open out to the district. If ever there was a land of gold, in the sense it is often mentioned, this field is one. The3e are all the particulars at present obtainable. About 1,000 persons have already gone, and hourly others are preparing or going. On the following day Mr. Commissioner Keddell's report was published, which was simply corroborative of the one furnished by the Times' reporter— but it

included the written statement of the diacoverers, of which the following is a copy : — " Grogan's Diggings, " Wilkinson's, Cardrona river. " On the 9th, while a crowd of diggers were camped on the banks of the Cardrona, about ten miles from Wilkinson's station, this young man and myself took a walk to see how that part of the country looked. And on walking along the bank of the river, upon what I call a slide, where there had been a track formed by the cattle, I, being a little further up the creek, sat down until he came up ; and he immediately told me that some persons must have loat some gold, and produced about four pennyweights that he had found on this cattle track. We still continued up until we thought ib time to return to our camping ground, and on the way ho showed me the place, and on searching for more we could get none, and by the appearance of the black soil both of us certainly thought it must have been dropped by Fox, or some other person. However, when we came home, and after, supper the matter being well discussed, it was the opinion of all, with one exception, which is my mate, his name is Patrick May. Then he remarked that he got gold in California in such black soil ; and I also remarked the same, that I had worked ground in California that was regular loam. On Tuesday, the 11th, after receiving some information as to whereabouts Fox was working, myself and mates were ahead of the others, and on coming to this place, I took my swag and laid it on the Bank. " There," Baid I" is where the gold was got," Then I walked to the spot, and in breaking up the surface, the first thing that I discovered was a bit of about 3 dwts., and that afternoon we nuggeted out 9 ozs. 6 dwts. 12 grains, which all hands that were there could see, and I believe all hands were looking on after I showed them the gold. As soon as they came up, " Gentlemen," Baid I, " I wish to get a prospecting claim, and here is my authority." so I started on the following morning, and acquainted the Commissioner at the Duußtan of it. " Michael J. Gbogan." "The appearance of the country.— lt certainly looks remarkably well for creeks and gullies, and I do not know but there is gold in abundance in all those slides. There may be, and there may not be. It is very hard to try the gullies, as the gravel is very loose and water very plentiful. This news had the effeot of Bending a large number of men up the country, and probably 700 or 800 have already left Dunedin for the Dunstan. The new rush is distant about 82 miles from the Dunstan township, viz. : — DISTANCES TO THE OTSW BUSH. To Kawarua Junction . . 15 miles. To first camping place in the bend of River (Clutha) . . 25 „ To Wilkinson's out hut . . 30 „ To Cardona Creek . . . 12 „ 82 Among the items of news from the Dunstan is the successful turning of the Manuherikia by Chapelle's party. Great finds are expected from the bed of the river thus reclaimed, and the claimholders are in high spirits. In Conroy's Gully as much m 200 ounces of gold have been washed out of one tin dish-full of stuff. The gold was found in a narrow crevice running into the hill side. I could fill my letter with cases of great success, but I will content myself with instancing some that have come under my personal knowledge. At the first rush to the Dunstan, a party of four young fellows with whom I am acquainted were smitten with the general excitement, and, throwing up their situations, off they set for the new diggings, expecting, doubtless, to find gold sown broadcast on the soil. After Buffering incredible hardships, losing their pack-horse over, a precipice, and other minor inconveniences such as hunger and cold, they reached the Dunstan in a miserable plight — sans money and sana provisions. They managed, however, to get employment on other claims, and, after working for wages several weeks, they at last set off to the rush which had just commenced to Conroy'e Gully. They got a claim, began operations, and the first week netted 116 ounces, and one week they divided 127 ounces. Another party have oleared £700 a man since the first rush to the Dunstan, after spending a deal of money in unprofitable prospecting. From the other gold-fields the news is not of much importance. The population has been considerably thinned by the rushes to the Dunstan and other diggings ; but those who remain are doing very well, The Nokomai is looking up a little, the latest reports being much more favourable. In political matters I have only to mention the perpetration of a ridiculous farce, in the shape of au election for the House of Representatives. Some week or two back, our worthy Sheriff received from the Government head-quarters a writ, instructing him to proceed to the election of a member for the " City of Dunedin District," in place of Major Richardson, resigned. The Returning Officer gave the required notice in the papers, and fixed the day of nomination, &o. A day or two elapsed, and then an artiole appeared in the Colonist, proving that the contemplated election, if held, would be illegal, as by the Amended Representation Act, passed during the past session, and which, by the Acts Commencement Act, was in force, it was stipulated that the " City of Dunedin District " should be divided into the districts " Dunedin and Suburbs North " and Dunedin and Suburbs South." Of course, according to this, the City of Dunedin District had ceased to exist, and, consequently, no member could be returned for it ; moreover, the Act rendered it imperative on the Returning Officer to publish a new Electoral Roll of the two districts, before proceeding to the election of a new member. At first, people fancied the Colonist had found a mare's nest. The Times preserved silence on the subject. No one was even heard of as a candidate ; and at last, on looking into the matter, it became clear that the Colonist was right, and no valid election could take place under the circumstances. It was thought that possibly the Returning Officer would wait further instructions from Auckland, but not he ; like a good honest red-tapist, he mutt make a return to the Governor's warrant, and the election, such as it was, came off on Saturday last. At noon, the Sheriff appeared before a select audience of three electors, fi v* boys, half-a-dozen diggers out of luck, one policeman, and two reporters. Gravely going through the usual formula, the Sheriff blew his nose violently, took another pinch from his mull, and, in a voice somewhat indistinct (probably from emotion at the want of public feeling in Duiudin), inquired if there was any candidate to be proposed? There was a solemn silence for a few moments ; an earnest discussion Beemed to be going on between the three electors, and it appeared probable at one time that, seeing such a chance for handing down to admiring posterity the handle of M.H.R., one of the trio would come forward and serve his country, but, with a consideration quite unlocked, for " Smith, Brown, and Robinßon," resolved to confer the honour upon another, and James Peterson, Esq., was duly nominated and declared elected. Of course the Separation organ pooh-poohed the affair : it was all boeh and nonsense, and Mr. Paterson would show good taste in resigning. Now, seeing that if the election was invalid, Mr. Peterson was not duly elected, and could not resign a seat he did not possess, Mr. Paterson himself replied to the hint given him by the Times ; the said hint betrayed a little uneasiness on the part of the Separationists that they might possibly have been " sold " after all. However, it is pretty clear the election will have to be annulled, and a fresh writ issued. The cue of the Separationists just now seems to be to keep as dark and quiet as possible; but, meantime, they are endeavouring to give consistency to the movement, and a public meeting will be held shortly, to consider a petition to the Queen to grant a separate Government to the Middle Island. This is the plan advocated by Dr. Lang, and which was so successfully adopted by Fort Phillip and Queensland. The Provincial Council has not yet met, and cannot do so until the Supreme Court sittings we over* which

is not likely to be the case for a week or two yet. Judge Gresson, good kindly gentleman as he is, is dreadfully slow, and the session drags on its weary length, doing one caae a day and sometimes two. The attention of the inhabitants to the great necpssity of placing the sanitary condition of tho city in a more satisfactory state, has been drawn by the death of a gentleman, named Erlam, of Asiatic cholera — at least so it is declared to have been by his medical attendant. Mr. Erlam was the Deputy Provincial Auditor, and had been suffering from the premonitory symptoms of cholera, in the shape of severe diarrhoea, for a day or two when medical aid was called in. Dr. Hocken, who had considerable experience in the treatment of cholera in England, suspected Mr. Erlam's case to be of this character, and he successfully combatted the first stages, but collapse set in, and the patient died in a few hours. Of course when it became known there was considerable alarm in the town, which was not much abated by the' emphatic declaration on the part of Mr. Erlam's attendant, that the case was a sporadic one, or, in other words, confined exclusively to the one subject, and not of an epidemic character. Other doctors denied the existence of such a thing as a sporadic case of Asiatic cholera, and argued that it was either not Asiatic at all, or, if so, it must be epidemic. It is more probable that it was a case of severe English cholera, promoted doubtlessly by the impure state of the atmosphere caused by the want of proper drainage. The late Mr. Kettle, the Provincial Auditor, died of a disease springing from the same cause, and it is worthy of remark that the Government offices are close to the filthiest part of the beach, where, at low tide, the stench is insufferable. Dunedin has had another narrow escape from fire. A few nights ago an outhouse behind the blocks of building in Manu and Prince-streets, was discovered to be in flames, and was fortunately extinguished before the fire had reached any of the adjoining buildings. We have now a strong volunteer fire brigade, and two good engines. The Gas Company are pushing on and already the mains are laid along the principal streets. The company anticipate lighting the town in March next. The Town Board have contracted with the Gas Company for the supply of 150 lamps for the town, to be lighted and kept in order for seven years, at the rate of £17 10s. per lamp per annum. Dunedin is very lively ; a large number of immigrants have arrived from England, and the streets are thronged from morn to night. We have had most magnificent weather here for the last fortnight, and Dunedin is now a very agreeable town. The streets are all provided with good broad causeways, the roads are in good condition, and, altogether, the place has improved exceedingly. Amusements we have in plenty ; two theatres with first-class companies, a company of really talented operatic musicians, and now we are going to have a Cremorne or Vauxhall Gardens. Mr. Farley, the owner of the Arcade, has purchased forty acreß of land on the opposite side of the harbour, which he is busy converting into ornamental pleasure grounds, with bowling green, rifle gallery, dancing platform, theatre, and all the conventional arrangements of such places. A steamer is building in Melbourne to ply between the city and the new gardens, and in a few months they are to be ready.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NENZC18621203.2.14

Bibliographic details

New Zealand Provinces. OTAGO., Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Volume XXI, Issue 104, 3 December 1862

Word Count
2,785

New Zealand Provinces. OTAGO. Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Volume XXI, Issue 104, 3 December 1862

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