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3-008 (Raw)

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author,male,The Argus,un addressee
Newspaper Article
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Public Written
Newspapers & Broadsides
Clark, 1975
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(From a Correspondent.)
Golden Point, Ballarat, 27th October 1851.
The first view of the Golden Point, as it bursts upon the vision of the traveller, has been often described, but such descriptions have been invariably sad failures; an association of ideas appeared wanting in the delineators. I have no hesitation in saying, having queried those whose judgment is worth something, and who coincide in my views, - that upon the first blush of the affair, the resemblance of the diggings to a city which has undergone the horrors of a siege, and been battered to the ground, is most complete; whilst the thousands moving amongst the ruins, ably represent the besieging army removing the wounded and plundering the tents, spread as they are over the ground in all directions, add to the truthfulness of the picture, which at night is rendered complete by the thousands of watch-fires which cover hill and dale. So much for description; now for stern facts.
An almost endless amount of paper, ink, and breath has been expended touching the success which may be rationally looked for by those who seek for gold in these regions. The whole affair lies in a remarkably small compass. If a party fully equipped, and with an inflexible determination to treat cavalierly the hardships which they must encounter in the pursuit of gold - who are not to be daunted by unsuccessful efforts at the outset, and who are prepared to devote three months to delving the earth, there is no doubt that their efforts must be, ultimately, crowned with success. A parcel of drivelling idiots have been here and returned to Melbourne, after excavating a few feet, and expecting that such an unusual amount of labour was to be rewarded by saddle bags stuffed with the precious metal, and with a dolorous whine declaring there was no luck for them, and the hardships they had encountered were incredible. The wives of such individuals had better in future secure them to their apron strings; instead of allowing them to roam in search of gold; for where, like the Sybarite of old, a rumpled rose-leaf would destroy the repose of a man, he may be well assured that gold-seeking is not his mission. Gold-finding here is a pure matter of chance: by having the good fortune to make choice of a piece of ground through which the much-coveted vein makes its way, very large amounts are realised, whilst, on the other hand, the very next hole, although sunk to a considerable depth, shall not yield a speck. Such is gold-hunting at Ballarat. To talk of judicious selection as to land for mining purposes, is sheer humbug, there not being the slightest indication upon the surface. The amount of gold found in the aggregate is large. [25] You must not suppose the gold brought in by the escort may be taken as a guide, as to the yield of the mines; it is indeed very far from it, for I unhesitatingly affirm that three times the amount is taken from the ground by private hands weekly, than is forwarded down by the Government escort, independent of which, it is notorious that very large sums are to be found upon the ground amongst some of the miners - a very injudicious proceeding, tempting the cupidity of the dishonest. [...] In the aggregate there are ten thousand persons employed within a circle of twelve miles, more or less connected with mining operations; and, although many are daily leaving for their homes, their places are speedily supplied by fresh speculators. Adelaide is also pouring in some hundreds with yellow fever remarkably strong upon them. As there is a fear that the waters of the creek will have dried up before the termination of the summer, a meeting was held, the other day W. Westgarth, Esq., M.L.C., in the chair, when it was unanimously agreed that the miners should pay one shilling per head for the erection of a dam, so that if carried out, the miners' greatest dread - a scarcity of water - will be obviated. For some weeks past I have observed in a Geelong Journal attacks continually being made upon the officers of Government employed here, and as continual dropping of water will wear away a stone, I began to place some confidence in the reiterated statements, as they remained almost entirely or at all events very feebly contradicted. You may imagine, then my surprise upon arriving here and making the necessary inquiries, to find that all such charges were baseless, and without the slightest foundation - malice and sheer invention alone had been brought to bear on the matter. This is scandalous and highly disreputable in any public Journal, being made the vehicle for such falsehoods. Captain Mair, P.M., and Messrs. Doveton and Armstrong combine the suaviter in modo with the fortiter in re in the discharge of their various public duties. It may be true that certain stump orators are dissatisfied with such a state of things, for unless they can find opportunities to abuse those set in authority over them, and create a ferment amongst the designing and ignorant, they are nothing, and consequently convene illegal meetings, with the view of exciting to breaches of the law, Let such men beware, for it would look rather ignominious for a very choice stump orator to be suddenly dragged from his pedestal, manacled, and unceremoniously marched into town, for preaching resistance to the laws. This must be the result, to put down such demagogues; and in doing which, all respectable individuals upon the ground will support the constituted authorities to the death. There not being the slightest prospect of these diggings being exhausted for years, permanent officers' quarters, together with an hospital, should be established. 
The scene here has been made more cheering during the past week, by the visit of many ladies from Melbourne and Geelong, numerous public officers, and other gentlemen being in their train. [26] They were, of course, as they should be, well received.
Sly-grog-selling having obtained a head which began palpably to be felt, and to threaten a pretty general demoralization - three cart-loads of spirits and malt liquors were seized by the police on Saturday last. Mr. Owen Fisher has opened a Teetotal establishment, which is well patronised by those who prefer the "cup which cheers, but not inebriates."
I have great complaints to make of the Buninyong Post Office. We cannot obtain the newspapers, for some reasons which Mr. Veitch, I imagine, will find it rather difficult to explain. Your last papers have not arrived, and the disappointment is very great, as they are looked for up [here] with the greatest avidity, as the only wholesome literary good which can be obtained upon the ground. My own papers also have not arrived, although I have written to the Postmaster for that purpose. Captain McCrae should come up immediately, as in duty bound, and examine the Buninyong Post Office, in which I suspect cart loads of letters and papers are lying for persons at the Diggings. All letters or papers for the Diggings should be directed Ballarat and not Buninyong.
Several robberies have occurred here lately, in fact they are on the increase, and a stronger body of police with a couple of Detectives, is requisite.
The Escort leaves here to day with £12,000 worth of gold.
A body of special constables are to be sworn in, in aid of the constituted authorities. I look upon this as an excellent regulation. I must conclude for the present.