Archive for April, 2007

West Coast Times Thursday 11 November 1865

The Sydney Morning Herald of the 2nd.

There is clearly a fresh rush to Hokitika. From our gold fields and from the
coal mining districts of the Hunter, there is an exdous going on to the new
Eldorado. Private letters giving accounts of great success have had there
natural effect, and with that faith in his own good luck which every man
seems more or less to possess, many are preparing themselves for a venture.
The accounts published in the newspapers, however, do not warrant any hasty
movement. They speak of the new diggings as already overcrowded and rather
warn than invite fresh arrivals. The editor or reporter on the spot comes
across the unlucky as well as the lucky; and sometimes finds the former far
the more communicative. That the west coast of New Zealand is a goldfield
has already been proved. Although there may be plenty of gold, mining must
be carried on to a great disadvantage, owing to the climate, the cost of
living, and the abscene of good harbors. Both capitalist and laborers are in
such a case the sanguino pioneers, often at ruinous cost to themselves,
young countries are peopled and developed. Others reaped where they sowed.
Such sanguine pioneers seen essential to the rapid progress of any country.
Where everybody is too prudent to run any risk, everything is very stagnant,
and possible fountains of wealth remain unsealed. The gold-diggers are the
enterprising laborers of our community and do a work corresponding to that
of enterprising capitalists, and their apparent freshness has done wonders.
Hundreds have failed and lost all, yet on the whole the gold-diggers have
achieved marvellous success – a success that would not have been possible if
they had always been as prudent and cautious as virtue requires. The
“Herald” takes a sensible view of the exodus of miners from NSW “We are
sorry to see so many able-bodied men leaving our colony, but if they can
better themselves by doing we are not entitled to discountenance their
departure. We draw men from the old country to better their fortunes, and if
they can secure that betterment in one part of Australasia more than
another, it is for them to go where they can best realise the purpose of
their emigration. Anything like jealousy on the part of one colony at the
temporary prosperity of another is out of place, and it is as narrow minded
as it is ingenerous. The prosperity of any one is sure to prove in the long
run the prosperity of all, and the adversity of one the adversity of all.
Yet while we do not grudge New Zealand its golden treasures, we cannot but
think that if a little of the energy that is expanded by some of our people
in running away to the other countries were expended in developing our own
resources, the temptation to run away would be considerably diminished. But
there is a charm in distance, in novelty, and in the chance of great

A man may be justified in running the risk of loss, of peril, and of
hardships, in hope of making better provision for himself and family. But he
is not justified in leaving his wife and children to the risk of starvation.
The digger pursuing his fortunes has too often forgotten those who ought to
be his constant thought. On no principle of morality is a man justified in
leaving his wife and children to public or private charity while he goes off
to make his pile. Yet it is a thing that is done at every rush. Those who
have the management of our charitable institutions know the vast amount of
want and misery that has been caused by the wholesale desertion of families.
Out of sight, out of mind.

West Coast Times Saturday 18 November 1865

Article. Travelling along the Beach from Hokitika to the Grey.
The dull everlasting roar of the surf, varied only by the scream of the
seagull, giving rise to anything but a cheerful train of thought, and
causing the first view of a human habitation to be a positive relief. There
was no lack of company, the beach lined with pedestrians, heavily laden with
digger’s paraphernalia, nearly all of whom had their faces turned
Grey-wards. The forest is smooth and unbroken in appearance. This could be
caused only by a wonderful uniformity in the length of the timber, from the
top of which spreads that dense mass of foliage…. Five miles from town,
and the Arahura River is reached. There being plenty of boats plying to
convey travellers across. The ordinary charge is 6d, but when the river is
swollen by a freshet, double fare is demanded as compensation for the extra
trouble and risk. Here there are three public-houses and a store. The
establishment wherein I obtained my noonday meal was presided over by a
bustling landlady, a good-tempered and communicative, who confessed to more
years of colonial than the generality of ladies care about acknowledging.
She showed herself perfectly conversant with the wants of the hungrey souls
who chose to patronise her establishment, serving us a good substantial
meal, which she seasoned with some of her past experiences in Victoria and
elsewhere. There is no mistaking the thorough colonial women when you meet
them. Hardened by rough usage, they at first sight appear obtrusive, which,
however, is more than made up by heartiness of demeanor, sterling
hospitality, and a desire to oblige.


Potential (14 day free trial) 468x60

Read Full Post »