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THE DUNSTAN.

(tkom the daily times correspondent ) 4 a.m., Monday, sth January. lbG3

My usual weekly review will hardly disclose any accounts of the brilliant successes it baa fallen to my lot hitherto to report. Pleasure, not business, has dining the last ten days been the chief pursuit, and under such circumstances, a paucity of mining news is easily explained. After some months of severe toil, and the privations incidental tc new and remote gold fields, the miners have gladly availed themselves of the protection extended to them during the holiday, and have made it a period of general relaxation. The manner in which they have treated the indulgence extended to them, and the spirit they have exhibited, are pleasing facts. It has been generally accepted, and joyously indulge \ in, yet without any of that wild license, cr those excesses that might naturally be looked for. The miners have been most orderly, and the police sheet tells no sad tales of abused confidence. The report will show almost empty li&ts, and only one case of drunkenness on the lace course. Hilarity — joyous, fiee, spontaneous— there has been, but no drunkennci-s or quarrels.

The races commenced under most favorable auspices on the last day of the olel year and extended over lo the second day of the new one. The sports commenced on the second, ami ended on the thiid. The weather was on the first two days beautiful, though very warm, but during the last two days, oui curse, the dust, became annoying. The meeting was thoroughly successful, and the trouble and expense attendant upon getting up these affairs recompensed. But for the late exciting news from the Wakatip, aad the rumors of new rushes in that district, the attendance would have been even larger. On Saturday, after the close of the sports, whole strings ot miners passed through the main street, with loaded pack horse 5 , and it is reckoned that about six or seven hundred miners and packers left town on this day, to again follow their usual avocations. Two race balls came off with some eclat on New Year's eve, one in the fine new room of the Union Hotel, and the other at the Shamrock. At the Union, some fifty were present, and dancing was kept up till after daylight. At the Shamrock, the room was crowded, and about sixty to seventy attended. The charge for admission at the Union was a guinea, and at the Shamrock fifteen shillings. The supper tables at each place were loaded with a profusion of good things ; the game of the district offering a good substitute for the usual tame poultry generally to be found upon these occasions upon them. Pigeon pies and duck pies ; and pigeons and ducks in other shapes, with many other descriptions of birds, stood forth prominently. It is doubtlul if this kind of thing could have been better done in Dunedin. As an evidence of the advance in civilization made amidst the snow capped mountains of theDunstau, it is only necessary to add that ladies kindly graced these assemblies with their presence, in sufficient numbers to prevent any inconvenience ; and that their presence gave a charm and tone to the gay hours that soon passed. The rooa>s were tastefully decorated with evergreen?, and but for the fact of the night being close and hot they would have been really enjoyable. The stewards race dinner took place on the second inst, at Mr Kilgour's Union Hotel, covers being laid for a do?:en. Mr Geo. Brodie filled the chair, and Dr Jackson acted as croupier The dinner was unexceptionable, and the usual toast 3 and congratulations were proposed ami indulged in.

The athletic sports have passed off without a single dispute, and given general satisfaction. The various prizes have produced severe competition, and really first-class play in each event has been the result. All large and extensive rushes bring together men excelling in one or other of these manly games, and° to this cause must be attributed the reason why each stake has been so keenly contested. It baa been a spirit of rivalry and honor that has drawn competitors together, rather than a desire to secure the money. If following the policy of those old historic examples, Greece and Rome, the Committee should have decided to award only the garland nnd wreath, I believe the same emulous spirit would have shown itself as has characterised the effort to procure these more substantive prizes. Many will go away proud and boasting, and often recur to the fact how they won on the new field of the Dunstan, after a hard struggle with their fellow man, some favorite hard fought gi me. A guierous spirit like this can hardly prove to be otherwise' than beneficial, for not a single dispute occurred. Details of the races and sports* accompany this letter. Several fires, causing considerable alarm and uneasiness, have taken place during the last few days, and in each instance arising out of the grossest and most culpable carelessness. The warm weather and the strong hot winds, if they had not been discovered in time, might have tended to spread a general and universal conflagration, and the Dunstan township might have become a second Ingl-wood catastrophe. The fir&t fire broke out in the kitchen of the Dunstan Hotel, at six o'clock in the evening ; the cook had lighted the fire in the stove and gone down to the river for water. In the meantime the building (calico) was on fire. By great exertions it was prevented spreading to tne main building oi the hotel. Had it caught this, nothing could have saved the aijacent stores from being burnt down, as a stormy wind was blowing at the tin c and the various edifices are closely packed together, and consist principally of wood and calico. Immediately afterwards a tent was burnt down through allowing the a-hes from a fresh lit pipe to tall upon the bedding. It was not noticed at the moment, but before the fire had any opportunity to spread, assistant had arrived and the flames were smothered. Another fire occurred yesterday afternoon at the Golden Age Hotel. The cook of the hotel, lit a fire, some two or three feet, in the open air, from the sides of the calico walls that surround bis kitchen. The wind was blowing a hurricane, and as might naturally be expected the sparks flew about and ended in setting the place on fire. As several pai ties were on the spot it was quickly extinguished, but this hotel being in the centre of the town, the alarm it created was very great. Had the fire gained the mastery, nothing in this instance, with the fearful gale blowing, could have saved the town. Two other minor ca?es have also occurred. With an it. t. 'rise heat prevailing all these timber and calico erections would only add to the fary of the fire. They are as dry as tinder, and the winds would scatter in ruinous profusion the sparks far and wide. One beneficial effect will ari^e from these repeated alarms — the erection of safer buildings. 1 may remark that all are now alive to the necessity of a change for the better, and that fear is teaching the lesson that common sense should have before taught. Alter a short spell of balmy delightful weather, we have again experienced during the last two days a return to those Dunstan dust storms, so dreaded by everyone. Hurtful to the constitution, injurious to business interring A\ith mining operations, they detract from all the other advantages the district offers. The aandy beaches of the river afford a ready toy to 'the play of the fcagerly they combine in a horrid game, and that under a scorching sum, when a breath of clear fresh air would hi almost an inestimable luxury, we are forced to live and breathe in a sea, a cloud of elust. It these •torrns lasted long it would render the district uninhal itablc for the

effects of the fine n.icaous dust upon the lungs is most distressing. The very Jtonet dread it, and make to the hills, pre-

ferrinsj to be parched with thirst, rather than be suffocated with dust. It is unbearable, and disguninsly filthy. To write dur ng the day time, and while they last, is almo«t impossible ; but it is a curious circumstance that night produces a change. The dust a;d wind is not near so strong , and it would seem as if the hot sun had something to do with this very disagreeable arrangement.

Mining matters can be very briefly summed up. Xot one single application for a prospecting claim has been made during the week, and matters in the district have been very quiet. This partly arises from the holi day.--. It is not stagnation, but a desire for change anel recreation, that has produced this effect. Now that the miners are returninir to their work, increased exertions will kid to fresh discovei ies.

The Molyneux has continued to ri-e, and is again quite unworkable, except on the I.igh banks, and these at present are not in favor, the ground being patcl.y and entailing more severe labor than the comparatively easy work of washing gravel that requires to be only lifted fro. 11 the river heel into the hopper of the crude 1 , or the working of the soft shallow gullies. Moving twehe to fifteen feet of he ivy snnd, for wages is for the present too hard a task. lhe time is perhaps not far distant when a more determined system of working these hank-. wi|j bj adopted, and when modera'c g<'ins will give more satisfaction than the cra\ing for rich yields. This produces the present desultory manner of working them. Xo one «a} s they are not really payable, but that it is iculy to woik them unless you strike "a patch." Some do find very rich spots in various place-. extending over a distance of from twenty to thirty miles ; but chance is elepend^d upon rather than regular prospecting.

The Manuhenkia has fallen con -iderahly, and in bcin ' worked to sonu extint w,th fanresults. The companies aie in a Inward state, aad shares are Qt a good premium. A population of about two hundred people are settled upon it.

Potter's gully Xo. 2, holds about a hundred and fifty miners, bin the rcturrs do not equal those of the fii>t gully of the same name. The average return from both these places is from one to two pounds sterling a man per day.

From the other portions of the district, no fresh intelligence of any importance is obtainable, beyond the assurauce that those woiking are satisfied.

From the Cardrona good accounts have been received yesterday. A rush lm taken place to some ground near Grogan's prospecting claim, and about five hundred miners have set in. It is patchy, but where the gold is struck it is very coarse and payable. > Some are making twenty ounces per day, This rush bears out the opinion sent you some time ago, that with perseverance very good spots would be found. Seven miles above this, another body of men, numbering about a hundred, are working with great spirft, and netting handsome sum-?. Altogether about six hundred men are steadily working upon this river.

From the Lakes, the accounts if not so cheering as before, continue highly favorable. Pounds weight, I am informed, upon the best and most reliable iuformation,are the only terms in general use — ounces are not mentioned. The same condition of affairs existed here, when I arrived upon this gold field la^t November, and when those wondeiful shallow gullies were in full force. Gold is said to be very plentiful, and to have given Mr Branigiin a great deal of trouble. This gentleman brings down nearly twelve thousand ounces, but will not airive till mid-day. The task heundertook has proved a more serious and difficult one than ant'eipated. In a small tent, with a board for a table, without sealing wax or scales to weigh the gold in, rushed by miners anxious to find at last a safe restingplace for their hard-earned treasure, one cm realise Mr Commissioner Branigan sitting in his shirt sleeves, puzzled what to do with gold brought in pickle bottles and salmon tins, loth to refuse the gold, but getting tremendous heavy work. He might well re-mark gold was too picimful, and that unices he had seen it himself he could not have believed it. The peiious thing is, that hy all account* theArrow township is by no means the most peaceabie, and that many of the residents are generally open to tread upon -^oiir coat tails on the slightest suggestion. Ilruing on'}' five men available, the safe custody of so much gold and at the same time to preserve order, was a serious responsibility, and one few would have courage to undertake. It was a very ticklish position. A new ru&h called the Green Stone river, th'rty-five miles from the Arrow, and to which allusion was made in my last communication, still con--tinued to attract attention, but no definite news had been received from it up to yesterday morning. Large numbers had been attracted to it by the vague and "lowing report* given out regarding it, and should but a tithe of them prove reliable, the rich Shotover will be eclipsed, as rapidly as it ha* in its own case surpassed the Molyneux. The highest authenticated return that has reached me is the sharing of £1,800 among- 1 throe men, for two week's work, but the ijeneiality of the other yields do not exceed those given in previous letters.

The township on the Lake was christened, at a public meeting held for the purpose, •' Queenstown." Buildings are rapidly being erected, and as timber is plentiful," the delavb experienced on mo=t of the Oiago gold fields, through scarcity of this valuable product, are not there encountered. Messrs Kees and Bracken are erecting a large and commodious hotel, lam informed. Goods arc still scarce, but the supply is said to be more regular. A party of enterpiising miners ha\ c brought up a complete diving apparatus, for the purpose of working the deeper parts of the Molyneux, as they believe the richest gold lies in the main channel. Should they successfully establish this fact, it will be dillicult to say when this rivor will finally yield up its golden treasures'.

'1 he new Post Office has been completed, and already the advantages it offers are appreciable. The police buddings have arrived, fjnd the Court house alto. They will matei Lilly facilitate the despatch of public business, and leave no room for any further grumbling. Both (o the officers of the Government and the public at large, they will prose an advantage and a boon. *

The escort will take clown from this about 10,000 ozs., in addition to the quantity from the Lake. The holidays somewhat interfered with the receipts ; but my original estimate of 20,000 ozs for both place-, given a week ago, is likely to be exceeded. '1 lie banks have raised the price of gold to L 3 12s. 9d., the price given at Tuapeka. It will have no effect, however, in inducing the miners to sell.

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Bibliographic details

THE DUNSTAN., Otago Witness, Issue 580, 9 January 1863

Word Count
2,555

THE DUNSTAN. Otago Witness, Issue 580, 9 January 1863

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