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3-004 (Raw)

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author,male,Hargraves, Edward Hammond,35 addressee
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Clark, 1975
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I have all along disclaimed any pretensions to scientific knowledge. Without any knowledge whatever, of the science of geology, I simply compared, in my own mind, the geological formations which I saw in California with others that I had seen in Australia eighteen years previously; and, becoming fully persuaded that if the existence of gold was to be tested by such outward appearances, gold must exist in Australia as well as in California, I acted on that persuasion, and, as will be seen in the sequel, at the very first trial discovered the existence of gold where I had imagined it to be, and in an alluvial form. [...]
It was with an anxious heart, therefore, that I again landed at Sydney, in the month of January, 1851. On my passage [i.e. from California] thither and immediately on my arrival, I made known to my friends and companions my confident expectations on the subject; one and all, however, derided me, and treated my views and opinions as those of a madman. Still undaunted, on the 5th of February [1851] I set out from Sydney on horseback alone to cross the Blue Mountains. [...]
After resting one day at Guyong, on the 12th of February [1851] I started thence, accompanied by young Lister. Our course was down the Lewes Pond Creek, a tributary to the Summer Hill Creek, which again is a tributary of the Macquarie River. After travelling a distance of about fifteen miles, I found myself in the country that I was so anxiously longing to behold again. My recollection of it had not deceived me. The resemblance of its formation to that of California could not be doubted, or mistaken. I felt myself surrounded by gold; and with tremulous anxiety panted for the moment of trial, when my magician's wand should transform this trackless wilderness into a region of countless wealth. 
Still one difficulty seemed to present itself. There had been an unusual drought during the summer, which was now drawing to a close, and the creek; where we then were, was completely dried up. My guide, however, in answer to my inquiries, told me that we should find water lower down; so, following its course, we soon fell in with some rocks which contained a sufficient supply. [4]
We now turned out our horses; and seated ourselves on the turf, as it was necessary to satisfy the cravings of hunger before I ventured on my grand experiment. Had that failed, but little appetite for food would have been left me.
My guide went for water to drink, and, after making a hasty repast, I told him that we were now in the goldfields, and that the gold was under his feet as he went to fetch the water for our dinner. He stared with incredulous amazement, and, on my telling him that I would now find some gold, watched my movements with the most intense interest. My own excitement, probably, was far more intense than his. I took the pick and scratched the gravel of aschistose dyke, which ran across the creek at right angles with its side; and, with the trowel, I dug a panful of earth, which I washed in the water-hole. The first trial produced a little piece of gold. "Here it is!" I exclaimed; and I then washed five panfuls in succession, obtaining gold from all but one.
No further proof was necessary. To describe my feelings at that eventful moment would be impossible. What I said on the instant - though, I must admit, not warranted as the language of calm reflection - - has been since much laughed at. And though my readers may renew the laugh, I shall not hesitate to repeat it, because, as it was the natural and impulsive expression of my overwrought feelings at the moment, so is it the only account I can now give of what those feelings were.
"This," I exclaimed to my guide, "is a memorable day in the history of New South Wales. I shall be a baronet, you will be knighted, and my old horse will be stuffed, put into a glass-case, and sent to the British Museum !"
At that instant I felt myself to be a great man. I was as mad, perhaps, at the moment, as Don Quixote was his life through; and, assuredly, my companion was as simple as Sancho Panza - for the good youth afterwards told me, he expected I should obtain for him the honour I had promised.
On our return that night to the inn at Guyong, I wrote a memorandum of the discovery, which I afterwards gave to the Colonial Secretary, as a memorial of the great event.