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3-034 (Text)

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author,male,La Trobe, Charles Joseph,51 addressee,male
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Government English
Imperial Correspondence
Clark, 1975
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3-034-plain.txt — 5 KB

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Upon the Commissioners rests the responsibility of the general enforcement of the regulations under which the Gold Fields are worked, and to them, according to the position which they hold in various quarters, the police and all subordinates look for instructions and general guidance in the discharge of ordinary duty.
It will be perceived that, viewing the magnitude of the interests at stake, and the necessity of providing a competent authority on the spot to which the many questions of urgency constantly arising in working the multiform details of a perfectly new system, might be at once referred, as well as to ensure uniformity of arrangement in the different divisions of the field, I have deemed it proper to appoint a Chief Commissioner; and I have selected to this end an officer of considerable experience, and possessing qualifications which in this particular position would render his services of value.
I may state that Mr. Wright, into whose hands I had already in February last committed the duty of exercising the general super-intendence at Mount Alexander under the temporary title of Resident Commissioner, has been Commissioner of Crown Lands in this colony for some years; previously to which he held a similar appointment, and was also attached to the survey department in New South Wales.  He was formerly an officer in Her Majesty's service as subaltern in the 50th regiment. The good effects of his experience and management both upon the different branches of the Government service and as respected the population on the field in general, was so evident and satisfactory, that I did not hesitate to place him in a more decided position to exercise influence and devote his whole attention and services in behalf of this new department, and I trust that your Lordship will approve of the measure.
The great weight and responsibility which attach to his office point out the expediency of the nomination of one or two officers as intermediate between the chief and the ordinary Assistant Commissioners, either as strictly resident Commissioners at the more important head quarters of the distant fields, or as aids in the general superintendence; but my proposed arrangements are not complete in this respect. The whole correspondence of the department with the Colonial Secretary's office, as far as the Gold Fields themselves are concerned, pass, of course, through the Chief Commissioner.
The position of the Assistant Commissioners, of whom I have hardly yet a sufficient number, varies according to circumstances. Some are necessarily required in carrying on the business at headquarters, and others stationed in charge of out-districts. A fair proportion have been placed in the commission of the peace, to act independently or to assist the local magistrates in the bench business when requisite.
Two of the number are specially charged at Castlemaine (or Forest Creek) and at Bendigo with the sole duty of managing the so called "gold-tent", the receipt and despatch of all Government or private gold to town by escort, &c., while they are altogether relieved from the duty of issuing licences. In common with all other Commissioners on the ground in any way connected with the management and custody of the revenue, they enter into bond and give security for the faithful performance of their duty.
The Inspectors are employed under the particular orders of the respective Commissioners, their duty being to assist in apportioning out the various claims, in deciding disputes, or bringing them under the notice of the Commissioners, and in detecting unauthorized and unlicensed occupation of the field.
The appointment of two medical gentlemen for the Mount Alexander and Bendigo districts respectively was found absolutely requisite for the service of the large staff of police and subordinates on the ground. They are also duly authorized to act as coroners, for the satisfaction of the public. Inquiry into the cause of all deaths occurring on the Gold Fields either from natural or accidental causes, as well as from violence, if such occur, is immediately made, and it is gratifying to see that the coroners find no difficulty in collecting juries, and in performing their duties. 
The establishment of branches of the post office for the advantage of the public, both at Forest Creek and at Bendigo, needs no comment.
The return of clerks also requires no remark. I have sought to secure as far as practicable the services of really respectable men, whose private conduct, as well as competence to discharge their duty, might strengthen the hands of Government in the peculiar position in which they are placed.
The absolute necessity of bringing a ready administration of justice within the reach of the large population of the Gold Fields was early impressed upon me, and hence the appointments which have been made under this head. The two gentlemen named in the list are stationed at Forest Creek (Castlemaine) and Bendigo respectively. They are not required to exercise surveillance over the police on the ground, which duty rests with the respective Commissioners, but to sit daily in petty sessions, assisted, if necessary, by the Assistant Commissioners; and, in short, are at hand and ready in the field at all times for the despatch of business. They have each under their immediate orders a chief constable and clerk of petty sessions.
Of the two other gentlemen, one is stationed with the usual staff of a bench of petty sessions and a party of police at Keynton,