Go to the Mobile Site

Goldfields Quotes Page 1

  Gold in the grass-roots - William Howitt 

Yet out of the very roots of the grass we shake gold. We can see the particles shining as we open pieces of the grass roots, …”

(William Howitt Land, Labour and Gold; or Two Years in Victoria Longmans, London, 1855 quoted in Nancy Keesing (ed) History of the Australian Gold Rushes by those who were there. Angus and Robertson, Melbourne 1981 edition. pp 48 and 49)

Index

speakericon  Tragedy in Peg Leg Gully - C Rudston Read

Four brothers were digging in Peg Leg Gully, endeavouring to bottom a hole again that had been filled up during the floods … One of the banks slightly giving way, they endeavoured to keep it up (when too late) with shores, branches of trees etc. Whilst in the act of doing this, the younger brother, who was down in the pit, stuck fast …finding he could not extricate himself, his brothers immediately rendered their assistance; this was to no avail, and immediately they called for help.

In less than a minute many arrived with ropes, buckets, bailers, shovels scoops &c. and set to work endeavouring to clear away the stuff, and some sailors dropping down got him slung, when every one that could get hold, tried to pull him out, he was at the same time having his arms around his elder brother’s neck … but it was of no avail, the stuff slowly filled in upon him, and as it rose the poor brother was compelled to let him go to save his own life, and the unfortunate lad was smothered.”

(C Rudston Read, What I Heard, Saw and Did at the Australian Goldfields T.&W. Boone, London, 1853 as quoted in Nancy Keesing (ed) History of the Australian Gold Rushes by those who were there. Angus and Robertson, Melbourne 1981 edition. P 102)

Index

  Strange and Pathetic Cases - William Howitt

In fact, he appeared on the very verge of consumption (a disease of the lungs), and said he had been a year and a half in the colony; that he had been to all the diggings, both in Sydney and Victoria, but everywhere with the same absolute want of luck; that everywhere he had been pursued by dysentery, or some other exhausting complaint …he had no means of carrying his tent and tools away.”

(William Howitt Land, Labour and Gold; or Two Years in Victoria Longmans, London, 1855 quoted in Nancy Keesing (ed) History of the Australian Gold Rushes by those who were there. Angus and Robertson, Melbourne 1981 edition. P 58)

Index

  Flies! - William Howitt

” The little black-devil fly all day attacked our eyes, nose and mouth: and great blowflies in thousands blew our blankets, rugs and everything woollen, all over with their maggots, which were at once dried upon by the sun. They covered spaces of a foot square at once with them, all adhering by a sort of gluiness.”

(William Howitt Land, Labour and Gold; or Two Years in Victoria Longmans, London, 1855 quoted in Nancy Keesing (ed) History of the Australian Gold Rushes by those who were there. Angus and Robertson, Melbourne 1981 edition. P 110)

Index

  The Women of Bendigo - William Howitt

The women of Bendigo are much more neatly dressed than you would expect … There is no lack of handsome mantillas, polkas, smart bonnets, and parasols. … Yet, in a morning , you may often see these ladies - and very often, too, smart young girls, not more than fifteen- hanging out their wash, busy at their cooking, or chopping wood with great axes, which they seem not to swing, but which rather swing them, as they cut splinters from the stumps which ornament this digger landscape …

As to girls marrying here-the great temptation- that is soon accomplished.- for I hear lots of diggers get married almost every time they go down to Melbourne to spend their gold. A lot of the vilest scoundrels are assembled here from the four winds of heaven. Nobody knows them; much less whether they have left wives behind them in their own country.”

(William Howitt Land, Labour and Gold; or Two Years in Victoria Longmans, London, 1855 quoted in Nancy Keesing (ed) History of the Australian Gold Rushes by those who were there. Angus and Robertson, Melbourne 1981 edition. P 129)

Index

  The Amiable Female - Mrs Clacy

 

Whilst her husband was at work farther down the gully, she kept a sort of sly-grog shop, and passed the day selling and drinking spirits, swearing, and smoking a short tobacco-pipe at the door of her tent. She was a most repulsive looking object. A dirty, gaudy-coloured dress hung unfastened about her shoulders, course black hair unbrushed, uncombed, dangled about her face, over which her evil habits had spread a genuine bacchanalian glow, whilst in a loud masculine voice she uttered the most awful words that ever disgraced the mouth of man - ten thousand times more awful when proceeding from a woman’s lips”

(Mrs Charles (Ellen) Clacy, A lady’s Visit to the Gold Diggings of Australia in 1852 - 53 Hurst& Blackett, London, 1853 as quoted in Nancy Keesing (ed) History of the Australian Gold Rushes by those who were there. Angus and Robertson, Melbourne 1981 edition. P 134)

Index