Gold at Mount Alexander

In the month of September a party, who had gone about 40 miles north east of Clunes to Mount Alexander, discovered near the present site of Castlemaine a valuable seam of gold bearing earth. The fame of this place soon spread through all the colony; many left Ballarat to seek it, and crowds of people hastened from Melbourne and Geelong to share in the glittering prizes. In October , 8,000 men had gathered in the district ; in November, there were nearly 25,000 diggers at work, and three tons of gold were waiting in the tent of the Commissioner to be transported to Melbourne. The road to Mount Alexander was crowded with men of all ranks and conditions, pressing eagerly onward to be in time.

Gold at Sandhurst

A few weeks later , the glories both of Ballarat and of Mount Alexander were dimmed for a time by the discovery of gold on the Bendigo Creek, which seemed ar first to be the richest gold field of all. In the course of a few months nearly 40,000 people were scattered along the banks of the Bendigo, where Sandhurst now stands. In the month of May, 1852, there must have been close to 70,000 men in the area between Buninyong and Bendigo, all engaged in the same occupation. Melbourne and Geelong were silent and deserted ; for all classes were alike infected with the same excitement ; lawyers, doctors, clerks, merchants, labourers, mechanics all were to be found struggling through the miry ruts that served for a highway to Bendigo. The sailors left the ships in the bay with scarcely a man to take care of them; even the very policemen deserted, and the warders in the gaols resigned in droves. The price of labour now became excessive, for no man was willing to work unless tempted by the offer of five times the ordinary wage.

 

History of Australia