Rumours of Gold

For many years there had been rumours that the Blue Mountains were auriferous. It was said that gold had been seen by convicts in the days of Macquarie and indeed still earlier; but the stories of prisoners, who claimed rewards for alleged discoveries, the authorities in Sydney always listened with extreme suspicion, more especially as no pretended discoverer could ever find more than his first small specimens.

Paul Edmund Strzelecki, Rumours of GoldIn 1840, a Polish nobleman named Strzelecki, who had been travelling among the ranges around Mount Kosciusko, stated that , from indictions he had observed, he was firmly convinced of the existence of gold in these mountains ; but the Governor ased him, as a favour, to make no mention of the theory which might, perhaps, unsettle the colony and fill the easily excited convicts with hopes which, he feared, would prove delusive. Strzelecki agreed no to publish his belief ; but there was another man pf science, who was not so easily silenced. The Reverend W.B. Clarke, a clergyman devoted to science and the father pf Australian geology, exhibited specimens in Sydney, on which he based an opinion that the Blue Mountains would, eventually, be found to pocess gold fields of great extent and value. Specimens had been taken to London by Strzelecki ; and in 1844 a great English scientist, Sir Roderick Murchinson, read a paper before the Royal Geographical Society in which he expressed a theory similar to that of Mr Clarke. In 1846 he again called attention to this subject and showed that, from the great similarity which existed between the rocks of the Blue Mountains and those of the Urals, there was every probability that the one would be found to be as rich as the other known to be in precious metals. So far as the theory could go the matter had been well discussed before the year 1851, but no one had ventured to spend his time and money in making a practical effort to settle the question.


History of Australia