Gold in Victoria

When La Trobe was sworn in to fill the office of Govenor of Victoriaon the 16th July, 1851, it appeared probable that he would soon have but a small community to rule over. So great were the numbers of those who were daily packing up their effects and setting off for the Gold fields of New South Wales, that Victoria seemed likely to sink into a very insignificant place on the list of Australian colonies. In alarm at this prospect, a number of the leading citizens of Melbourne had, on the 9th of June, united to form what was called the Gold Discovery Committee, and had offered a reward of £200 to the person who should give the first intimation of a payable gold field within 200 miles of Melbourne. Many people set out , each in hopes of being the fortunate discoverer ; and a report having been circulated that signs of gold had been seen on the Plenty Ranges, there were soon no less than 200 people scouring those hills, though for a long time without success.

The first useful discovery in Victoria seems to have been made on the 1st of july, 1851, by a Californian digger named Esmond, who, like, Hargraves, had entered on the search with a pratical knowledge of the business. His experience had taught him the general characteristics of country in which gold is likely to be found and he selected Clunes as a favourable spot. He found the quartz rock of the district richly sprinkled with gold ; and his discovery having been made known, several hundred people were quickly on the scene. Almost on the same day, gold was discovered by a party of six men, at Anderson's Creek , only a few miles up the Yarra from Melbourne. It is thus difficult to determine with certainty whether or not Esmond was in reality the first discoverer : but, at any rate, he received honours and emoluments as such ; and in after years the Victorian Parliament presented him with £1,000 for his services.


History of Australia