Rush to the Goldfields of Bathurst

The excitement throughout the colony now became intense : workmen quit their jobs, shepherds deserted their flocks, shopkeepers closed their stores, and a great tide of fortune seekers pressed onward, day by day to the west. Most of these had sold everything they possessed, in order to make up a little bundle of necessary articles. Yet there were many who were ill equipped for a lengthened stay ; they hurries along the road with fallacious idea that gold was simply to be shovelled into bags and carted to Sydney. But when they came upon the scene and saw that in the case of most of them it would only be after weeks and months of severe and aconstant toil that they could be rich, they grew faint-hearted, lounged for a week or two on the diggings and then started for home again ; so that, for some time, there was a counter current of grumbling and discontented men passing back to Sydney by the road. These men thought themselves befooled by Hargraves and it might, perhaps, have cost himhis life had he fallen into their hands. On his trip to Sydney he was careful to disguise himself, to avoid their threatened revenge.

He received from Government , however, his preliminary reward of £500 and, in after years, New South Wales voted him the sum of £10,000, which was supplemented by a present of £2,381 from Victoria. Other profits also acrued to Hargaves ; so that he was, in the end, recompensated for his toil and trouble with a handsome competency.

The gloomy reports of returning diggers checked for a time the flow of people to the west; but in the month of July an aboriginal shepherd on a station near Bathurst discovered a solid mass of gold worth about £4,000. So splendid a prize, obtained in so easy a manner, was a temptation too dazzling to be resisted; and the stream of people along Bathurst road was now so much larger than before.


History of Australia