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Journal 3

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J.H. Watmuff Profile,
Prologue,
1 1859-1862 Bendigo, Dunolly, Sandy Creek (Tarnagulla), Loddon , (Mt. Hope Rush), Ararat, Chinamans Flat, Moonlight Flat, Mt William (trek with guide), Pleasent Creek (Stawell), Melbourne,
2 1859 Bendigo Melbourne 1862 Otago N.Z.,
3 1863 Otago,
4 1863 Otago to 1865 Melbourne,
5 1865-1866 Melbourne,
6 1866-1869 Melbourne,
7 1869-1870 Melbourne,
8 1870-1876 Melbourne
9 1879-1881 Melbourne,
10 1881-1882 Dribs & Drabs,
11 1884 Sydney & Misc.,
12 Lusitania Voyage,
13 Lusitania Voyage,
14 Lusitania Voyage,
15 Lusitania Voyage,
16 and 17 England, letters and Journal,
18 Garonne return Voyage,
19 Resignations,
20 (Journal 19) Mildura,
21 (Genealogies),
J.H. & Bessie Watmuff's Photos
Olive Watmuff's Photos


JOURNAL 3


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[Sketch of Hills]

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Journal by John Henry Watmuff from Sept 11th 1862 to July 20th 1863 Manuherikia River Otago New Zealand

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Sept 11th 1862

Up early this morning, got every thing ready to cross the river, taking with us a Cradle, a quantity of provisions & half a sheep we embarked in the Box crossed, thank God in safety, shouldered our swags & proceeded down the river to the spot where we marked out the claims yesterday, pitched our tent upon a rocky terrace looking upon the river which at this spot assumes a most sublime sight - running between high steep abrupt rocky hills rendering it a gorge through which the water rushes & roars in truly grand style, on each side of the river, claims are taken up & men busily at work cradling the beeches - we set into work about 2 pm & commenced cradling. I forgot to mention our party consisted of Alexander my old friend, Nelson & myself - by night time we panned off & found we had got 9 dwt of gold for our two or three hours work, the gold is exceedingly fine, so fine it is as impossible to describe it as to save it - We found the tailings after going through the cradle just as good as the next, the ordinary sort of cradle we are using is no use to save the fine gold another thing is, the enormous quantity of black metallic sand, makes it difficult to pan off - I think the only plan to save the gold is with the long quicksilver cradle lined with baize & sheets of copper plated with quicksilver, which at the present time is not be obtained, however, as it is & with the appliances we have we can get plenty of gold, it is the easiest digging ever I heard tell of, there must be an enormous quantity of gold in the bed of this river, at present the river is very low - lower than it has been known since the Island was inhabited by white man. If it will keep so for 6 months I dont care - very little gold is to obtained far from the waters edge, so if the river was to rise God help us – if no more auriferous ground is discovered than the banks of the river - we are living very sparingly as provisions are very scarce - our breakfast & supper

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consists of nothing but Oatmeal & water with a little sugar to render it palatable, at noon we indulged in mutton & a little bread the bread being made of nothing but simply flour & water with a little salt, which we bake on a flat stone rose about a foot from the ground, under which one is obliged to stand by & fill the miniature oven with grass & anything else that will burn. We found this evening a small patch of brush wood about *& which we scrambled over the rocks for

Having copied up my pencil journal of the last few days, I purpose for the future to keep it weekly that is to to make it up to every Sunday evening, circumstances permitting, I brought with me paper, pens, & Ink to last me 3 months no great stock for all the writing I have to do.

Sept 12th. & 13 We have been cradling away this last two days got about 3 oz between us. I think we shall be able to do much better when we get better into the work being Saturday we left work early & made our tent more comfortable & washed & mended our clothes Etc I have taken several short rambles in the neighbourhood The country appears to bear one uniform character nothing but rocks & mountains the tops of which are covered with snow, to which I could visit in a two or three hours walk from this - Ive no doubt there is plenty of gold in the mountain vallies & gullies that run from the hills into the Molyneaux. I hear there are several parties out prospecting among these hills, there is some splendid scenery about, of the grand sublime nature - I prefer the agricultural scenery, I like to see a vast expanse shedded with farms & happy comfortable - looking homesteads not an outlandish place like this where a human being could never think of spending more of his existence than would suit his *convenience

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my mates are very plain matter of fact sort of animals, both low & sensual in their tastes & habits their conversation like the average of diggers disgusting degrading & immoral. It is no use complaining with this state of things if we cant mend it, & until the gold is exhausted & digging for gold ceases to be profitable, its no use to begin it - The search for the alluring metal is the curse of us all. It is degrading to the searcher, is half unhumanising & wholly unsettles him. Did anyone know a more restless being than the confirmed digger whose life, like the pastime of Satan is the going to & fro on the face of the earth I know it will require a great effort on my part if I ever leave a diggers life to return to some settled *position in the future - such a probability or prospect seems to *my imagination what an oasis would be to a withered worn out traveller on the Great Sahara - with little chance of ever reaching it -

Sept 21st 1862 The weather has been lovely making this "Petra" a little less ugly than it would otherwise appear. Last Sunday (this day week) Alex & I left the hut early & after travelling about 7 miles up the river we crossed at a ferry that has lately been constructed at a township bearing the very euphonious name of "Mutton Town-", where we found several stores & places of business erected perfectly, marvellous this, when a fortnight ago it was supposed no road could be found for a dray to travel, however, we found several had arrived loaded with provisions. Flour 03-00 per lb, Sugar 4/. & a man who had a keg of Butter, I saw him dispose of it immediately at 7/6 per lb., common Salt, rank stuff that I would have spurned for cart grease in Victoria. We found many people there we knew, some are doing well but on enquiring where, they direct us to some unknown out of the way gully or spot on the river, very difficult to discover I heard from a man here that my brother Ned whom he had seen up the river some

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three days before, had informed him he would be at the upper township that day. I at once posted to the place found it more extensive & likely to become a central Depot for stores in this neighbourhood than "Mutton Town" - I had no difficulty in finding him for I met many I knew who had seen him - I found him looking better than Ive seen him for many months he informed he had endured incredeble hardships - on his arrival he was one of the very first to arrive on the river, his provisions were done & he had only a few shillings in money - his mate Jack Heywood “funked“ & returned to Wetherstones. He & Kilgour, a publican swam the Molyneaux at Mutton Town & pushed up the River & got the piece of ground next to where Hartly & Riley last worked - he had nothing but a tin dish & with that alone, the ground was so rich he could make nearly an ounce of gold a day - poor fellow - he had to live on meat alone for nearly 8 days before he could buy flour - he worked the claim for 10 days hoping I would come up & so join him hearing nothing of me he had to take in a mate a perfect stranger to him when I met him he had 10 oz of gold & £5.0.0 & its not so bad for 3 weeks work, & besides he has spent in tools & food during that time £20.0.0, he is living about 9 miles up the river from the Dunstan township as it is called - & about 11 from the same place to where Im located. I persuaded him to come home with me which he did, calling for Alx at Mutton Town where we found him drunk, & had spent about £2.0.0 since Id left him. I bought 20 lb of Biscuit for which I paid £3.0.0 for then crossed the River

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as before & with a great deal of difficulty, & danger being dark we found our tents. Next morning, I wrote to Mother & enclosed a £5.0.0 note in it. I accompanied him to the Junction & crossed in the Box, found a Scotchman in a ragged Red Coat named Graham, by the by a well known character on the N.Z. Goldfields a kind of post & News man on his own a/c who succeeds in picking up a deal of money, he charges 2/6 for the conveyance of a letter without responsibility to the first post Office he can come to, he wont receive an order for letters unless accompanied with 1/. I, out of curiosity asked him (he had just come from Wetherstones) if he had a letter for me & was surprised to find he had one from Fred which Joe Russell had forwarded to me in this manner. I with very great reluctance considering the contents entrusted Mothers letter to his charge for postage at Wetherstones for which he charged me 2/6 - I hope it will go safe I, at this place parted with Ned promising to part from my present party as soon as possible & join him I met here, one of my mates John Dewer who had heard from some friend of his that there was a rush about 40 miles from here up a River called the Kawarra after returning to the tent & mentioning it, it was agreed one of our party should go & try & find the place. Alex agreed to go, he lost no time packed up some provisions sufficient to last him a week, he caught his horse & swam it across for which the ferry man charged him 10/. for the use of his boat rough work in this country to go into the heart of Otago amongst the mountains where a human being never had before - to look for a party of 3 men working in some gully running into the Kawarra, a river which rises in Lake Wakatip & runs something like 40 miles when it joins the Molyneaux some 18 miles above the upper township, he returned last night nearly

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dead with fatigue & hunger, he travelled to Lake Wakatipu, describing the snow as something frightful without meeting a soul at work above the Junction of the Kawarra & Molyneaux, on reaching the Lake which he describes being most romantically situated between high hills covered with snow, he thought he would take a short cut home across the Umbrella Ranges which rise the in the angle, he little thought what he had to surmount the first few miles he found it difficult to travel, his path being continually stopped with chasms & ravines descending one, his horse lost his footing & now lies rotting down some precipice, he saved his food & with it alone he returned, for three nights he has been wandering about, struck the Molyneaux about 10 miles below here - his boots worn out, his clothes torn & covered with mud poor devil he wont be ready to start to another rush in such a hurry - the rest of our party worked away at our claim found last night on weighing up we had made 7 oz 10 dwts of gold for the 5 days work, not bad considering the many stoppages & one thing & another we have had to contend with - I think we shall do very well next week the ground is getting richer & we are getting into the way of saving the gold better - While at work, on Tuesday, I was agreeably surprised to see my dear friend Harry Dight trudging along with his swag, in company with his mates, he informed me he left Dunedin with 3 men & got up here 3 days ago - his mates were new chums at digging like himself & their money was done, they were going to find a claim down

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the river. I walked down with them & finding a piece of ground I tryd was pay able got them started at it, helped to pitch their tent & gave Harry all the money I had £2.10.0, which will get them provisions until they wash out some gold. In the evening I went to see him again staid all night with them, leaving them early the following morning. They only staid 3 days there, they quarrelled & parted Harry went up the River & I heard to day he found his way to Neds. This morning, J.Dewar & I crossed at the Junction & went to see our other mates, found them about 3 miles up from the Junction, they made about 8 oz altogether since we left them, we put our lot to it, found we had nearly 20 oz between the 6 of us to divide - J.McEwan is going to leave us from this forth, he is thinking of getting horses & start packing - Im not sorry he is leaving us for he is a strange disposed fellow, very selfish & exacting but a good pushing hard working fellow one that lets nothing daunt him. We shared our gold & after settling everything satisfactory we went up to Mutton Town indulged in whatever luxurys the place would afford not many we knew passed the afternoon there, found Nelson there he got very drunk, much to my surprise, for I always found him a very steady chap, tho far from being a well principled one - it was quite dark when we reached home - while at the township we witnessed a sad accident, the day being Sunday (which is looked upon as being a holiday on the diggins when if there is a township everybody frequents it on that day to make their purchases for the week meet their friends & hear the news Etc) a great many people were here & toward night - the boat plying

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being the only one, was always too crowded in my opinion to be safe, for the currant is very strong & the River broad, several loads had crossed over all right, when about 5 pm a more than ordinary load returned they had nearly crossed when an eddy, aided by some mismanagement, drew the boat underwater fortunately for some they had passed the centre of the currant 8 men got to the land while 2 went down never to rise again, the bodies being washed down the river & out of sight in no time, it & Poor fellows Id been speaking to one of them but a few minutes before, he was young & full of hope had a good claim, a fine strong hardy looking fellow who little thought his end was so near, it was quite a miracle Nelson & I were not in the boat, he would stay & get another nobbler, which circumstance probably saved our lives, the boat was picked up & was plying as usual an hour after the occurance, we were the first to cross & I need hardly state we were particularly careful -

Sept 28th.1862

(Upper Dunstan) Shifted my quarters since I last continued my journal. Last Monday morning not feeling well & being ill satisfied with my mates I left work & thought to pay Ned a visit 20 miles walk, half the distance across the plain was very good walking, but owing to an extraordinary strong wind which blew in my face I had great difficulty in getting along - it was 12 Am when I reached the upper township, when I *came

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to the township & had dinner at a Restaurant for which I paid 4/6 for, since my last visit to the place it has increased wonderfully the street is half a mile long lined on each side with stores, shanties, Restaurants & shambles – wonderful in such a short time. I saw flour selling at 2/3 per lb (coming down) I did not remain long but crossed the River on to the W. side again & entered the gorge from where issues the River, for miles I trudged along against the strongest wind ever I faced & one or the roughest paths ever I traversed, picking my steps amongst rocks & Boulders I pitied the poor horses loaded with heavy packs, many I *new [saw] couldnt face the wind which came down the gorge like the blast & the strength of steam from a cylinder. I was in dread of the rocks in the sides of the [gorge] lest they should become loose & roll down & crush the unfortunate wayfarer - no such calamity occurring, I pushed on & with some difficulty I discovered Neds location, it was pointed out to me from the pinnacle of a rock far down by the waters edge, with some difficulty I picked my way down after a series of leaps & gymnastic feats truly marvellous I had the pleasure of dropping on to tent as its inmates were sitting down to what appeared to me a jolly good supper & as such it proved & to which I paid ample justice to. I found Neds mates jolly fellows who made me very welcome. I also found Dight at home from some muttered ejaculations, which kept issuing from their lips which sounded to my delicate organs like curses & imprecations on some unknown & unheard of creation of the fancy, induced me to be inquisitive & enquire why so much spleen displayed on what generally features good humoured faces, when they pointed to the river – which had risen since morning fully 8 ft. higher than it was, their claims consequently were flooded & now under water - Ned informs me there was a pile of dirt which they could not save, they would not have sold

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for 50 oz of gold, this looked gloomy, but perhaps the river may fall again & so regain a portion of it - I stayed all night with Ned & next morning, in any thing but good spirits I returned to my mates, who I found in a most dejected state. I found our claims entirely covered with water, towards Friday night it began to fall, but up to the present time it is still too high by feet to get to work again - Wednesday morning, Nelson & I took it into our heads to go up into the Mountains & prospect instead of lounging about idle waiting for the River to go down – we were up at daybreak, rolled up 3 days provisions which consisted of a piece of Bacon 1½ lb about 5lbs of oatmeal & a few Biscuits, with a little tea & Sugar a pair of Blankets each & a small 6 x 8ft tent with a pick & shovel & a tin Dish - Knowing we had a rough journey before us we braced up our spirits, but we were quite unprepared for what we encountered. We got upon a spur of the "Old Man" & gradually ascended - but as often descending, down deep ravines & again rising, towards night it became very cold & we looked out for a place to camp, a difficult matter for snow was every spot, the gullies full of drift in which we kept sinking, the peaks were the only bare spots, but the wind was so piercing cold we could not think of camping on them however dry - we found a Rock at last, & with the shovel we soon built up a breakwind & got some stones to lie upon it was frightfully cold & going to bed supperless, except a dry Biscuit, made it one of the most wretched nights I ever passed, in the morning we were so stiff & tired we could hardly walk, it was some time before our blood began to circulate - we would not have come but from the distance the patches of snow seem so small

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that to us they appeared as nothing we had thought of going to the top of the mountain the first day but it was 12 Am next day when we got to the "Old Man Rock" situated I dont know how many thousand feet above the valley below & is seen for miles all round the country. Heavens! what a sight, such a glorious panorama appeared before us that well repaid us for our exertions in gaining this spot it produces such grand majestic feelings, to be perched up in such an exalted position without a cloud between you and such sublime scenery, I can never forget it or the emotions I experienced which are beyond my wretched conception of language to describe, the day (rather an unusual circumstance) was beautiful & bright I could see the great divided range of the Island which appeared to me like a low range of clouds which resemblance arises from them being nothing else than glorious, according to hearsay, for Ive seen no one who has visited the scene the country is being populated it wont be very long before the whole of it is explored, especially if there are any indications of gold - we left our elevated position & following a spur & meeting with some timber an unusual sight to my eyes we found ourselves at night in better quarters than the last night we had a roaring fire & made ourselves comfortable. We had tried during the day to prospect found the color of gold in all the little streams we tried. I believe there is another large river out in this direction but not being prepared for proceeding forth we, first thing on Friday morning made tracks back coming back a different way to what we came - crossed the "Old Man” further South & got upon a spur which brought us within 5 miles from home without much bother we camped for a couple of hours being frightfully knocked up with our exertions to get over to this side of the range before dark. 10 pm when we got home.

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I am fully convinced from the look of the country & the prospects we got, that sometime or another when provisions & other things are favourable for overcoming the difficulties, Ive no doubt a gold field will be opened I was surprised to find Ned at our tent, he had come during the day, he wants me to leave my party & go up to them he thinks Dight & I can make something there until the river goes down sufficient to keep us, he himself is working some back ground, not very good but better than being idle - I promised if I saw no prospect of the river falling by Sunday that I would leave my present party, this morning came & no signs of the river falling I made up my mind to leave, rolled up my share of the tools & my own bits of things & accompanied by John Dewar, I came up to the upper township, calling at our other mates on the way & squared accounts & took my share of the gold some 3¼ oz. I met my brother Ned & after something to eat we crossed the Molly- (as the river is facetiously called) we were pretty well loaded Ned having purchased a lot of provisions for the coming week & had 9 miles of rough country to travel, made us look around for some means of conveyance, we hadnt travelled far when we came to a group of horses & without any hesitation we caught an old "macker" & making an impromptu saddle with our coats we put the heaviest of our things on his back much to his disgust & also to the owner if he was aware of our doings it was nearly dark when we arrived at Neds tent, found a good supper awaiting us which we soon helped to make less - after tea it was proposed by Ned & his mates I should work on wages with them for a week as they have ground they can work for that time out, if they had assistance I agreed for £1.0.0 aday - I purpose joining Dight mates he in the meantime is to gather up dirt on a piece of ground near by & when Im done my job help to wash it up

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[Monday] Oct 6th 1862 Weather very fine, summer in N.Z is very fine unattended with fiery hot winds Etc. & very little rain - another peculiarity of Otago is the total absence of any venomous insects or reptiles, or native animals - pigs are found in some parts of the Island (but not within 50 miles of here) plenty of wild ducks, but very difficult to get at owing to the scarcity of ammunition, eels of very large size are found in abundance in the Rivers we occasionally catch them, they are most delicious eating, large & well flavoured. I worked up to Saturday night for Ned & his mates - paid me in gold - Harry Dight gathered up a pile of dirt, we intend cradling this week - Yesterday morning (Sunday) Ned, Harry & I left early & came down to Mutton town, sold my gold at Cohens, found a letter there for me which on opening I found to be from Fred all well at home - but very short of money or hard up as a digger calls it. Mother had received a letter from Father in which he states Uncle Joe is going to be married, this is rather startling news for Father always thought we children might look forward to inheriting his wealth - our chance now is very slight the woman he is marrying being anything but favourably disposed to our family. If father knew how little I cared for Uncle & his money he would not let such a thing trouble him so much as it appears to have done for to confess the truth, I was never very sanguine we should ever be benefited by any of our relatives in Englands money - especially Uncle Joe knowing him to be such an eccentric character & very suspicious, the only thing I regret its probable loss is in case I cannot get on by my own exertions, that I see no way of getting or making my [mother] comfortable in her old age - Fred states the news of this Rush has caused great excitement in Victoria ships are laid on & filling rapidly with passengers from there After finishing my letter I parted with Ned & Harry - they returning home with stores Etc. while I started to pay my old mates a visit & get one of the cradles. I walked down to the

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Junction township (Manuherikia) & found from inquiries that my old mates had left the spot where they were camped & had gone up the River Manuherikia & had taken up a claim upon its banks, some two miles from the township, as it was getting late, I at once started for there, found the road very rough, having gone up the River the opposite side to the one they were camped I was under the necessity of swimming across & wet from head to foot, I presented myself to them I soon stripped & then, being some wood about, a good fire was made & before we turned in my clothes were dried - my friends were very glad to see me, there party was to be lessened next morning, Alex & Maguire, were going to some place 25 miles down the Molly. Nelson & Dewer intend remaining where they are at present, having found good prospects I noticed a great many people were settling down in the neighbourhood, this river not being so prone to rise as the large one - This morning, arose at daybreak, parted with Nelson & John & accompanied by Alex & Maguire we pushed our way down the river to the “Junction” where we crossed in the old "Box" visited our old camping place & they showed me a spot where they had buried the Cradle I came after. I was not long in digging it out after which we parted with mutual good wishes on both sides & then I commenced my journey here, with a cradle on my back - weighing nearly 56 lbs no joke to carry it a distance of 20 miles along such a road. I was regularly dead beat on my arrival home after my days work - however, the cradle which cost me nothing at Wetherstones but the trouble of bringing up is worth to us £10.0.0. I could have sold it for £20.0.0 the day we arrived on the River, but the said River had no appearance of rising then - I stopped at the upper township on my way, had a dinner at a Restaurant, which consisted of a Chop & a Biscuit with a pannikin of tea for which I paid 4/. for - I met Bill Hobson there buying provisions, we were company for each other the rest of the road, being dark when we got

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here, we invited him to stay all night with us, his own party the Bros Beales living about 6 miles higher up the River, where they had a very rich claim, but are now swamped out - they are thinking of going higher up the country near Lake Wakatipu where it is rumoured some parties have pushed their way and are getting plenty of gold - My brothers claim now being worked out he thinks either of going there or else returning to Victoria for a trip & get back in time for the river falling which takes place at the beginning of winter, & rises again at the commencement of summer - the river being fed by the snow melting on the mountains - & from the Lakes Wanaka & Wakatipu.

[Sunday, 12th October 1862] Manuherikia Oct 12th 1862

Another change since last I wrote. I think it will be some time ere we change again. Last Tuesday, Harry & I washed up the dirt he collected which yielded 3 oz. not so bad if there was any more, we were now all out of work & could find no more ground pay able, so Ned made up his mind to go home to Victoria, promising to call on his way to Dunedin at my old mates on the Manuherikia & if he saw any chance there he would not go but return for us & settle there for a time perhaps for the summer – & so we parted the following morning. I rolled up a pair of blankets & 3 days provisions & in company with a neighbour, leaving my mate Harry with the tent & things until we returned started on a prospecting trip, a sharp walk of two hours, brought us to the Junction of the Kawaura, a finer river than the Molly is at this point - We found a good number of tents in this neighbourhood & there being a ferry (another Box) we crossed there, & hesitated which way to go. I thought up the Molly seemed the most promising & easiest traversed so my companion proving agreeable, we agreed to follow it up. We had pushed several miles when we came to a creek, [Lowburn Creek] running from the mountains where we camped for the night, seeing a light at some distance, I stole to it after dark & found sitting near a fire a party of 2 men camped with a pack horse. I went up to them & they appeared very reserved, can these be the men, thought I, who are supposed to be at work in some of the blind creeks in the mountains & getting so much gold, on my

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asking them where the were bound for, they informed me they had been prospecting & that their provisions running out they were pushing their way back & begged some biscuits from us we gave them two & a pannikin of tea for which they didnt appear to be particularly anxious to discuss, next morning we found them gone & on visiting their camp found some mutton Bones & other evidence of their having made a most luxurious breakfast for such a place - this made us suspicious, & more especially as they advised us not to go up the creek we were camped upon as they had done so & found it fearful travelling & didnt find the color of gold. We tracked them for about a mile up the creek when having to wade through the water so much where the gully became narrow we lost all traces. We were greatly annoyed at being thus done, however, we pushed on up the creek trying several likely looking places could find gold at every bar of the creek & much rougher than any Ive seen in this locality – after travelling in this manner between high mountains & through strange looking passes & gorges we came to an abrupt hill which towered above us like the tower of Babel would have done to the ancients if allowed to finish it, to the skies, we were wet through & tired but having refreshed ourselves with a pannikin of tea & something to eat, we were determined to surmount the hills, after incredible exertions we succeeded[1] We hadnt seen the sun for hours, but now it was just setting & a sight burst upon our view more grand, more gorgeous than ever I witnessed or could conceive or artists eye desire to gaze upon towards the south, mountains, ravines & rivers with Lake Wanaka could be seen, far to the Nth – were mountains grand & terrible formed of Ice & snow – apparently, we could trace the Basin where lay another Lake from Wakatipu where the Molyneaux takes its source – & here in this angle which I believe from Lake to Lake is about 50 miles distant is a tract of country Im sure in some parts is very rich, this is evidently the part where the gold in the Molly came from - I never began to turn my back to a place with such reluctance in

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my life I certainly will prospect that neighbourhood if ever I am in circumstances to enable me to go about it properly – several places we tried would pay us well to work if we could have remained & had the necessary appliances, my companion who was an old Victorian Bushman didnt understand my enthusiasm at witnessing nature in her grandest form - he thought it damned hard work & people must be damned mad, that would come a mile to see such a damned rocky, mountainous, wear your-soul-out kind of place - such was his idea, on seeing one of Natures finest panoramas. We descended the hill or a spur of the range towards the Kawarra until we found a spot fit to camp at among some wild ruin looking rocks, it was frightfully cold & very little wood to be found we were glad when morning broke, cold, wet & miserable we picked ourselves up of the camps moist ground not waiting to cook any breakfast, we trudged up hill & down hill for some 3 hours during which time I dont think we had travelled 2 miles as the crow flies - some of the places such as chasms & ravines steep, abrupt & precipices & such like is enough to unnerve a fellow - After breakfast we got on to a spur which proved good travelling, had some creeks to cross & at length struck the range bordering the Kawarra - could we have crossed there our way home would have been much shorter but we had to go further down to the “Junction” & [to] cross it was nearly dark & we were still about 7 miles at the least from the tent, so we staid for an hour & rested at a friends tent we found about a mile from the junction after which we pushed for hours Im sure it was 11 Pm when we arrived there - I dont think I ever did such a frightful long & hard days tramping in my life, if any body had told me they had done it I would not have believed or thought it possible for human nature to do it I was surprised to find my brother had returned, he had paid Nelson a visit - & he invited him to remain while he prospected he found ground he thinks will pay us to sluice if we can get Sluice Boxes. Nelson will join us in a set if we would agree to tag the place - after some consideration next morning it was arranged we should leave our present place, seeing no

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chance of making a living, & go there packed up, not a long job for a digger, to pack up his goods & chattels. I was very tired & stiff from my previous three days exertions however I trudged along with nearly 3 qrs of a C on my back reached the upper township by 2 pm - found our way into anything but a respectable place kept by a most notorious woman who boasted to us she had made £3000 the last 6 weeks on this rush, we had a drink & something to eat, left there about 4 pm & pushed across the plain to the opposite side of where Nelsons tent is situated the river, not being so high as when I crossed last week, we waded across getting our things, if not ourselves, over dry. We all slept in the big tent, a part of which belongs to me I was very tired having travelled 21 miles with a big swag - I slept very sound did not rise till 9 this morning - Sunday on rising this morning Harry & I *commenced & put up our tent while Nelson & Ned went to the Junction to buy provisions for the coming week, they returned by noon, found things much reduced in price, flour 1/9 per lb, sugar 3/., & Mutton 1/2 per lb - In the afternoon, we walked up the River & had a bathe, while I was in the water who should come by & recognise me but John Nevin & J.Stenson old Bendigo acquaintances, they have been in business in Dunedin but have come up here induced by the reports to try their luck at another kind of metal working - before arriving home we surveyed the route for a water race, to enable us to sluice the ground we are going to take up - we shall have to cut it nearly a ¼ of a mile, there being so little fall in the river at this place - in fact this River runs through a very level flat bordered by barren dry rocky steep hills, - we caught a fine Eel which served us all for supper I wrote to Fred last Tuesday & also to C. Malander

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Manuherikia River Oct 19th 1862 Dunstan, Otago, N.Z.

Lovely weather during the week. Monday morning we went to the Junction Township found it a busy bustling place full of stores & public Houses & shanties - any numbers of Bullock teams & pack horses about loading & unloading - presenting such an astonishing contrast to the place there when first I camped on the selfsame spot on my first arrival - found our friends the Blacksmith & Carpenter - from Wetherstones here busy at their trades - they had just received a load of timber from Dunedin fortunate for us we had come to try & get some boards for making the Sluice boxes. We agreed to give £14.0.0. for a set consisting of 2 Boxes 8 ft long which said Boxes in Melbourne would cost about 10s/d-. a Box is nothing but 3 boards nailed together the bottom one being 1 foot broad & the sides 9ins – 2 loose bottom boards or false bottoms as we call them with a lot of auger holes bored the distance of an inch apart comprise our machinery for extracting the gold from the gravel - the boxes are placed in a slanting position with a stream of water running through there from end to end a man stands at top end of the box & shovels in the dirt while another stands upon the Box with a Fork - like a common hay fork with 3 or 4 prongs attached to it, his duty is to rake it & seperate the lumps as the are thrown into the Box by the feeder which is easily done with the water & his fork the gold being seperated from the dirt by this means, it settles down & sticks into the auger holes in the false bottom - about every 3 hours these boards are taken out & cleaned & then panned off & so the gold is obtained, with a good head of water & gravelly stuff 4 men can wash 30 or 40 loads of dirt a day - they were finished by Wednesday night, it took us nearly the whole of that day humbugging helping the man to finish them - & get them home here - one of our party had to go to the upper township to purchase a fork, which cost us £1.0.0. In the meantime we

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commenced our race, over to the gravely nature of the flat over which we had to cut & bring the water it has caused us more labour than we anticipated, the drawback is, the slow rate the water travels in consequence that half of it is lost before it reaches its destination Im afraid it wont answer yet, we tried it yesterday afternoon & the water was nothing near strong enough for our purpose so next week we shall have to widen & deepen it, so as to get more water into it, I hope it will pay us for all this outlay of capital & labour, it cost us nearly £3.0.0 each to live & that on the very commonest fare Mutton, Damper & tea - our evenings we spend in yarning about old times & times to come Etc - playing cards & fishing for eels, the latter are not so plentiful they are getting very frightened & are not easily caught we caught three during the week the smallest was 4 ft long & as thick as my arm - I long for something to read Ive not read a line since leaving Wetherstones I went down the township this afternoon found a deal of drunkenness & Gambling going on, saw some women who have just arrived - not very prepossessing nor do I think, bear the most unblemished character - I went into Cohens, saw some unfortunate pigeons plucked so amiably & good naturedly. My eyes have been extremely weak the last few days. I can hardly see to write & read after dark. I cant account for it. I have met several suffering from the same thing, it is supposed to be the effect of the snow at Wetherstones, the sun shining so brilliantly upon the snow Ive no doubt, for nearly 2 months before leaving there, snow was ever to be seen on the ground & then living so much in the open air as I have done lately, bad food, & wet clothes, & the mind excited combined with great physical suffering & privations must be the cause -

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Oct 26th.1862
Weather been very unsettled during the week. last week it was very hot, this week we had a slight fall of snow a very unusual thing for this part of the country, the Dunstan plain is generally considered by the squatters to be the most wild part for scores of miles around - The winds seem to be the greatest annoyance, it rushes from the gorges like a blast, nothing can withstand their power - every one pitches his tent under the friendly shelter of a hill or rock – even after they cut out a place in the sides of the hills, as we have done, the dust is very painful to the eyes & face - the flat being grassy, formerly I believe, a bed of a Lake - the winds actually rake furrows in it, scattering fine stones about like showers of Hail - We have been greatly bothered all the week, several parties near us are jealous at our taking up a "race" & intend making use of it, we very foolishly neglected to get protection for our work, so on Wednesday Ned went up to Capt. Kadell, the Commissioner, & applied in proper form for the grant of the Water Race, he got the necessary forms which we have to stick up for a certain number of days at the end of which time if nobody objects to us we are considered to have a perfect right hereafter to use & abuse of it - I had to go to the Camp Office with a duplicate of the forms filled up on Thursday The Camp is situated at the Upper township which is considered the head centre of the Dunstan Goldfields , no joke these 20 miles walk over a stony, gravelly plain, while there, I bought a pair of Boots £2.5.0., & also took out a Miners Right, which cost £1.0.0 a year - unless possessed of this document you can be driven out of any claim however rich, many a poor devil has been forced to leave his claim because some sneaking wretch has discovered the man hadnt a Miners Right - we got our race enlarged & finished by Thursday night - Friday & Saturday we commenced sluicing, & extracted of the precious metal 3 oz 11 dwts not a bad two days work for the four of us. I hope the

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ground will yield as well next week. We have been hard at work to day cutting out a place in the Hill side to erect & fit our tent in, so as to secure it from the winds. Nelson & Ned went for Stores - I long for some books to read, if I find our claim likely to pay I will send to Dunedin for some - A mans mind runs terribly to waste unless its kept in healthy action - by something intellectual either by Society or Literature - I was never more struck by the force of Cicero’s Eulogium on the pleasures & advantages derivable from a study of Literature than at the present - He sais other studies are not adapted to all places & times, but these give strength to youth, joy to old age, adorn prosperity, and are a solace & comfort in adversity, at home they are easy, abroad they are delightful & in our rural retirement they do not forsake us - we can have no better example of the truth of his remarks than evidenced by himself for whilst suffering in exile & adversity, his greatest consolation was found in his love of Literature -

[Sunday, 2 November 1862] Novr 3rd [2nd] 1862 Dunstan -

The weather has been better than ever I felt it before in N.Z. rendering everything more pleasent - I never was living in a place I liked better, in some respects, than this spot, we have only to go outside the tent door & we can pick native cabbage, about the size of a lettuce, in abundance we can boil it like ordinary greens or eat it raw like a salad, fine thing for the blood. In the evening after work we wend our way up the river where the scenery is beautiful & fish for eels. Ducks the largest in the world, wild ones, are to be had for shooting, not many are killed for powder & shot is very scarce & very dear, all the week we had eels for breakfast - making our diet more variable than it has been for many months - I went to the township on Tuesday, found a post office has been established, received a long letter from my sister Mary which contains very sad news. My Mother & sister Bessie are very ill

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& Mary herself has only just recovered from a long illness. I am very sad at seeing such, they are very short of money. I dont think the last money I forwarded them could have reached them as she does not mention it in her letter - I answered her letter to day & enclosed £5.0.0 in. I hope to God Ill be fortunate enough to save some money & be able to return home soon, if that cursed River Molyneaux had only kept down Ned & I would have had a deal of gold by this time & been able to have returned & put it to some use for the benefit of our family - however we can only do our best & struggle on - We worked very hard this week, made nearly £7.0.0 aman each - we could save money out of such earnings if provisions was not so dear but it cost us so much to live & Im nearly naked, want new things which are necessary to have in such a country as this - Harry & Ned went to the Dunstan to day, brought me some books, perfect treasures, they found at a store -

Nelson & I have been finishing our tent, rendering it as comfortable as possible to make it, under the circumstances -

[Sunday, 9 November 1862] Manuherikia Nov 9th 1862

The weather has been very unsettled during the week, very cold in the morning & evenings. The "Old Man" is covered with snow & the wind usually blows from that quarter & it pierces through ones skin like a razor - we lost 2 days work in consequence of the river falling a few inches, causing a stoppage of water in our race - We all turned to & cut a great quantity of sods & to a stranger it must have appeared a ludicrous sight one man cut the sods, while the other three carried them out into the water to make a wing dam to rise the water so that it would flow into our race - we had nothing on us but a shirt & pair of boots, & precious cold work it was wading into the river the water of which is thawed snow from the mountains, every 2 minutes however, we succeeded by doing this, in gaining our purpose - we made during the other four days nearly £6.0.0 each - not much considering the work weve done, however, there are many in the neighbourhood

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who are not doing so well, great numbers are walking about doing nothing - having been driven out of their claims on the Banks of the Molly by the rising of the water - which is higher now than ever - one good has been done it has made some prospect about the country & I hear there are a great number of spots & places about the little creeks & rivers & Gullies running from the mountains that are paying remarkably well - judging from what the storekeepers & Goldbrokers buy a deal of gold must be getting *sent A party of men took up a claim next to us, last week & got more gold in one day with an ordinary cradle than we have got out of ours altogether, rather annoying for we had prospected the same ground, before taking up our present piece & found it not payable - such is the uncertainty of gold digging, one never knows how near to fortune he may be - I went to the township on Thursday & found a letter at the P.O. from Mother, it had been written a fortnight after Marys I was glad to hear she & Bessie were recovering, she informed me Uncle Joe is married. I sincerely hope he will be happy, tho he has commenced late in life to try the pleasures of matrimony she regrets the circumstances for her childrens sake – for my own part I dont care I want none of their money I would sooner have a thousand pounds of my own earnings than 5000 of anothers - enclosed in her letter was one from my dear old friend Hamilton he is still living in Stirling very happy & comfortable so he says – his wife & he he informs me were brought to Jesus at the same time - & there follows an excellent summary on the atonements, winding up with a dissertation on Justification by Faith - & an exhortation to follow in his steps & embrace my Saviour - I was glad to hear such a change had taken place in his moral nature I only hope the changes will be lasting & sincere - This morning Harry Nelson & I went up the Molyban[2]

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creek (a tributary of the Manuherikia) some two miles[3] from here, for firewood, fortunately we hadnt to cross any hills or creeks in coming back with our bundles - wood is extremely scarce about here, the people in the townships hire drays to go some 20 miles away up the River for it for which they pay as high at £5.0.0 a load. I notice in the township several bakers have commenced business, charging 4/6 per 3 lb loaf - this week (flour is down to 1/6 now -) they say it does not pay them.

Nov 16th 1862
A week of annoyance & bother caused by one of those very vexatious & never understood by a third or deciding party kind of dispute - out of which we have come second best as a facetious disposed person on one occasion when having fought a battle with another & been "licked" the particulars of our case are as follows - our claim is at the bend of the River & when we took it up in the first place, we put our four corner pegs in the ground in the usual way – the two back ones about 25 ft back from the waters edge & the other two about 25 ft in the shallow, knowing the best ground was in the water, & thinking when we had worked our outside ground we could devise some means for working that which was under water - the pegs I placed in the water wading up to my middle & building stones around them so that they would not be washed away - we have had great difficulty in keeping them there for numbers of persons are in the habit of going up the River for firewood & to bring it without trouble the tumble their logs or bundles into the water attached to a line & so get it down. These bundles on several occasions have carried away our pegs causing us a deal of annoyance in sticking them up again - last Sunday they were carried away in this manner, & on Monday we noticed them down on going to work, but not dreaming any body ever had an idea of the ground neglected to put them up immediately

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Now it appears a large company has been formed consisting of about 50 men for the purpose of turning the course of the river at this Bend & want to secure all the ground that at present is covered with water - through some underhanded work they have got permission to do this from the Commissioner they of course, want our piece of ground & on Monday tried to get possession of it, by stating we had no pegs, to prove the ground was ours - a quarrel ensued & the Warden was brought down to settle the dispute on Wednesday, after hearing both sides of the case & us bringing several witnesses who proved & swore to seeing us often sticking up our pegs when knocked for weeks before - he declined to give a decision, but thought it best to try the case in the New Court at the Dunstan - the case came off yesterday (Saturday) attracting an immense numbers of miners, this being the first mining case ever tried on these new diggins. We found the Warden the Judge, a jury was formed of three men one of whom persisted upon going to sleep during the trial, much to the annoyance of the Cryer & to the amusement of those present. The Court was a large Marquee & was crowded Nelson conducted the case & was questioned & brow beated the Warden for upwards of 5 hours while the case lasted, but all to no purpose, the decision was against us, when it was known, there was such a yell outside & such hisses & groans the like of I never heard of before - very little would have started the mob to have pulled down the court & illused the Judge & jury. It was a most partial trial, Keddell, in summing up picked out all our doubtful evidence leaving the main facts out of sight altogether – while he went into the justice of the opposite sides case in all its lights, some mention for expenses

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was made by them - I told the Warden I hoped they might get them - & advised him not to come down our way unless he was too hot & wanted a ducking a piece of gratuitous advice he didnt seem to relish, for he had the impudence to inform me he had serious notions of giving me a week in the Lock up - a tent guarded by some old soldiers - that a few diggers would have soon mutilated - it was dark when we got back, having sauntered about the Township talking to one & another - *and from what we could gather several of the most influential men such as Storekeepers, Doctors, Etc. were interested in the Company, having advanced the money for erecting the dam & making preperations for the work - & I should not be at [all] surprised if the Warden hasnt a feather in the nest -

I saw great changes in the township, Really good substantial stores & places are up & in course of erection Billiard Rooms, Concert & Dancing Saloons, Public Houses Shanties, Stores & Restaurants in every direction, men flashing about drunk & gambling - Law & order unknown - giving one an appearance of society on the brink of distruction. I believe a Police Force is to [be] established next week, at present the only thing here in that way are a few mounted troopers, & some superannuated old soldiers who have lately arrived from Dunedin, so it is to be hoped that there will be a change for the better ere long - & life & property less in danger than hitherto. I met Mr Neil while there our late president of the Debating Society on Wetherstones, he has come up here to see if there is any chance of opening business, tho he is not very anxious about leaving Wetherstones as things are "looking up" there - I never saw business so brisk as it is or so much money spending foolishly by lucky diggers, a sure sign there is a deal of gold getting in the neighbourhood - Harry Dight, not being well & not

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being accustomed to this sort of work - he thought it best to take a situation to mind a Store about a mile from here £4.10.0 per week & vituals, he has put a man in his place on wages (£5.0.0 per week) to represent his share in the claim (Jim Elliot, an old Nelson Reef friend of mine) & still remains a partner of ours - My leisure hours Ive spent in reading poetry - having purchased a copy of Byrons & Shakespeares works – for which I paid a good price - quite an intellectual treat, in my present circumstances -

The weather has been fearfully hot - for N Z – singular contrast to experience such heat & to see snow on the mountains within a few miles of us Although we have lost a deal of time this week we managed to get nearly 8 oz of gold between us for the weeks work -

Manuherikia Novr 23rd 1862
Weather still very warm & sultry reminding me of Australia - but I miss the beautiful clear cloudless skies & that delicious misty hazy atmosphere so prevalent there - & so like what poets & Authors love to describe & prate about concerning the climate of the European South East that land of romance, imagery -

We have worked very hard this last week & have met with poor results - only making £4.10s.6d each - I trust we will do better next week - Great numbers of people are daily arriving from the other colonies attracted by the glowing & somewhat exaggerated accounts spread *& concerning this neighbourhood - its a source of the greatest disappointment to them finding the River they had heard described as being lined with gold, flooded - one thing it has done having compelled people to go prospecting & push their way more into the heart of the country

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& I hear with most successful results in some cases – one man I know named Fox (a prizefighter) whom I met at the Junction of the Kawarra - when I & Yankee Bob went away the mountains beginning of last month - it appears he carried a week or two provisions with him & after enduring incredible hardships, had discovered a small River, running into the Kawarra, only a few miles further on the other side of the range, there where I had visited, & had found gold in great quantities - fine nuggety gold, very different from what is found in the big rivers - the country about the place is now known as Foxes diggings, & everybody that is able to raise a few weeks provisions is gone or going - I feel sorry we came down into this neighbourhood, if we had remained up the river we should have gone there - but we are now quite tied here - provisions will always be dear, there being 60 to 70 miles distant from the Dunstan township & over a rocky mountainous country, that no road can ever be made for a vehicle to travel upon - tis very dangerous for pack horses many places on the road men have to take their horses packs off their backs & carry it themselves - 5/. per lb for Flour is freely offered them. I have proposed to my mates the advisability of trying to purchase a horse & two of our party to start for there - & the other two to remain where we are - we can but make poor wages here & considering what we have had & have to endure, its not worth ones while to risk life & constitution for that, when there are so many good rushes breaking out in the province - We have made many enquiries after horses, but cannot get one at any price - we offered £50 for an old animal, that in Victoria wouldnt bring 30s/.d its owner wanted £60 for it which we wouldnt give - for I felt the beast would drop down dead long before he even reached the "Eldorado of our desires" - Ive spent my leisure hours reading my Byron & Shakespeare - to day I felt an inclination to read the

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the Bible, not having one I tried to borrow one in the neighbourhood, but can it be believed, I could not obtain one from all the tents around, a scarce volume about here This morning Ned & I went to see Harry Dight, bought a quantity of provisions from him & half a cheap sheep for the coming week - Been washing & mending my clothes - I also wrote to Fred Angles (Wetherstones) my old mate, as I have heard he has some letters there for me - & does not know where to address them to, I was surprised, this evening at seeing Tom Downs, (my old shipmate from Victoria who was so ill on the passage) come marching in, he & another man named Campbell arrived on the Dunstan township on Friday night with the intention of trying their luck here – digging - when Campbell took suddenly ill & died the following morning at Kilgours, he was buried this morning among the hills in a hole Tom sunk for the purpose - he had been drinking rather freely on the road up & the exertion & poor living attending his journey & not being accustomed to such - was the cause of his death, Tom is going to stay with us to night, & in the morning is going up the river *Molyban to some party he knows there & intends joining. I advised him to return to Dunedin again, he is not strong & has never been accustomed to a rough life like a diggers

Novr.30th 1862
Lovely weather during the week, very hot one or two days. Worked hard as usual, made £7.0.0 each, if I could see a chance of continuing to do as well every week I would not think of leaving this place - the news from Foxes Rush still continues to be good, gold is found in great abundance in the small streams & crevices

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of the Rocks bordering the same - We have been on the look out for a horse all the week, but cannot purchase one - & we dont care about starting without one – for we couldnt carry up more than a fortnights provisions besides Blanket & Tools - so it would be madness to start without one - many have gone so & have had to return having been unable to remain long enough to do any good before they were compelled to return - this will be remedied shortly for I hear there are many men owning pack horses who are doing nothing else but packing up food & sell it at a frightful price, a packer told me one day this week he made £50 one trip, profit on one horse load of provisions, but on his return, in swimming his horse across the Kawarra - it caught the cramp & to save their own lifes (being in a small boat in which he held the halter attached to the horses head.) he was obliged to let it go & the animal sank to rise no more) he has gone to Dunedin for a couple more horses he owns there & hopes to make his fortune yet, packing - We all went over the mountains (which rise immediately behind our tent) this morning for firewood, it was nearly 4 pm this afternoon when we returned, with heavy hearts & very light loads of what we went in search of – the only thing in the shape of fuel we could find were the fibrous roots growing in the crevices of the rocks - since my return I wrote a letter to Mother & enclosed a £5.0.0 note -

Decr 7th.1862
Fine weather, but very windy at times, no one can conceive the force with which the wind reaches down the openings of the mountains, unless they had experienced it Tents & dwellings, unless placed in sheltered position are

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swept away like dust, many a poor devil leaves his tent in the morning to go to his work, & on his return in the evening, looks in vain for it, last night when I came home from work, I found our tent torn up all round the bottom, & all but away, just in time to save us from being tentless. We have had one tent rent to shreds by the wind & dont want another to chance its fate - We take it week about to do the cooking, this has been mine & I find the wind having to do our cooking in the open air anything but an agreeable assistant, especially while baking bread - what a variety of occupations a man must be fitted for before he can be considered a a proficient digger - he must be a miner with a constitution fit to endure the very extremes of toil & hardship - a cook - a washerwoman - tailor, carpenter – & many other branches of the trades & professions – not forgetting & one of the most important in such a place as this a knowledge of pharmacy & Surgery - & Etc. too numerous to enumerate - We have done very poor this week, only made £3.2.6 each or about £1.0.0 over expenses - owing to the river rising & swamping our claims, we have worked up to our knees & sometimes to our waist, every day during the week shovelling out or more properly speaking, fishing out, the gravel to wash - leaving half the gold, we should otherwise have got, had the river been down, the reason of the rising is owing to the late strong winds which melt the snow more quickly than the sun causing it to run down the mountains like an avalanche - Thursday, we were compelled to abandon the claim & were thrown out of work, however, we *carried [on] & sank 2 large paddocks 10 x 12 on the flats some 100 yards from the River Banks - but after

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sinking down 7 ft deep & coming to the water level of river we were compelled to cease sinking farther, in consequence of the body of water we had to contend with we tried hard to bottom one & had 2 pumps going, but it as was no use, the pumps would not lessen the water an inch, coming in quicker than we could pump it out - We heard of a rush, to day, supposed to be in a gully the other side of the Umbrella Ranges (or the "Old Man" as they are better known by) somewhere about the place where Nelson & I went prospecting when we lived down the Molyneaux, we tossed up who should go, & it fell to Nelsons lot to go - he at once packed up swag & started this evening, he intends only going as far as the township to night & cross the River at the junction if possible - I dont think much of the place, tho I dare say there is gold there, but it is such an inaccessible place to arrive at - however, we are doing nothing & its no harm our going & having a look at it -

I received a long letter from my brother Fred, all well at home - his letter is full of news covering Melb’ & its amusements which he describes in a most tantalising manner to me -considering Im living in such a damned place as this is - I rose early this morning & took a long strool – first visited the Manuherikia township (3 miles from here) I then went down the Molyneax some 6 or 7 miles, the River at this point, runs between steep high rocky mountains – making such a din, travelling is a difficult job, just a little pathway winding round about among rocks & along narrow terraces. I noticed a great many people camped along the Banks - who had good claims, before the River rose & who are shepherding the same until the River falls again It is done in the following manner - perhaps a party consists of four men - 3 go elsewhere knocking about &

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search for gold, while one remains to keep possession of their River claims, where they know there is plenty of gold to be had if the River should ever sink to its original depth it was when the Rush first broke out the law requires that one man, to keep possession of a claim, should always be on the ground & he can hold four mens ground by this arrangement. I could see our old claim we first worked, was taken posession of & kept in this manner I called at several tents & spoke to several men I knew & have met before - I had a long chat with a rare old chap - the most veritable philosopher I ever met with geologising among the mountains, seems to be his forte – his mates left him to mind a claim some 2 months ago & has seen nothing of them since, he heard they had made £500 a man at Foxes & had returned to Victoria, it didnt seem to affect him for he is sure his fortune is to be obtained where he is, when the River goes down, I hope he wont be disappointed. I was highly amused at a series of calculations he has made, he knows how many buckets of dirt was washed out of the claim & how much they realized & has calculated the quantity still remaining in the claim & knows to the dwt how much he is to get from it I asked him if he had ever been digging before, he replied in the negative, poor fellow, when he has been digging as long as I have – he’ll know how much dependence there is to be placed on a foot of ground - & know many a bitter disappointment - he was very communicative & walked to the Township back with me - where I regaled him with a nobbler of Bdy. he had been a Tutor to a gentleman in England in his young days, & in his *change *setting in life had still remained his companion & acted as Tutor to his children, until they were sent to

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College, he then fancied he would like to travel found his way to the South Sea Islands & left there for Otago, some of the sailors leaving the ship allured by the gold discovery, he was induced to join them, & so found his way here - he lives by washing the gravel back from the waters edge & manages to eke out a miserable existence - I left him promising to see him again -

14 Decr.1862
Weather fine, but hot. Nelson returned to day, having knocked about the other side of the "Old Man" ever since without discovering anything in the shape of a pay able gold field, a little gold had been found in a gully, but of no consequence, giving rise to a report that had induced a great many to go over there to see the place - poor devil he is completely knocked up, came home with his boots in pieces - has had hard times, describes the county he has travelled as something fearful he went fully 20 miles further than when he & I went in that direction During his absence Ned & I worked very hard but to little purpose, owing to our claim being still under water - we made 2 oz. 5dwt between us just enough to pay our expenses - Last night we went to the township, noticed great improvements good substantial buildings going up in every direction. I fancy this place will go ahead more than the upper township, being more central that is should the Molyneaux fall at present the Dunstan is the main business place, being a kind of depot for stores, & the

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nearest point goods can be obtained by parties from Foxes - I went up there one day this week & was astonished by the quantities of horses & men engaged packing, going & coming all hours of the day. I met many I knew who speak very highly of the Lake district, as it is called. I tried to buy a horse while there but was unsuccessful - we must really make an effort to do something better than weve done the last fortnight. To day we all went for firewood, called at Dights, bought some provisions, spent the rest of the day washing, mending, & playing cards for want of something better to do

21st Decr 1862
Last Monday we held a consultation, what we’d best do for the future, when the following resolutions were made & agreed to - that two of our party should go to the Foxes on the Lake District, the other two to remain where we are, dispose of half our claim, still remain & for the future whatever we make a record to be kept & after all expenses, the balance to be equally divided, not being able to buy a horse here Ned proposed starting at once for Dunedin, & there to purchase one, the difference in the price we *should have to give for one there will pay his expenses & he being the best walker in the party & feeling inclined for the trip, will undertake it willingly, before night we sold 2 shares in our claim & tools for £12.0.0 to Jim Elliot & Jim Jinks old friends of ours. Harry Dight & I are to remain & represent our 2 shares as it fell to Nelson & Ned to be the two who are

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to go Foxes. - early on Tuesday morning Ned left us for Dunedin, a distance of 110 miles from here over a very mountainous country, no joke to walk this distance in hot summer weather - tho is preferable to winter when the snow is on the ground - he expected to reach town on Friday morning - I hope he will get back safe & sound, he took about £25.0.0 with him, & he has 11 oz of gold in Dunedin which he sent down when he left us up the river for Victoria, but changing his mind he left it there - knowing it would be safe in the Govt Treasury I expect him up in a day or two - the news still continue to be good from the Lakes a party that use[d] to live near us, left some 5 weeks ago & have made £400.0.0 each & have [sent] for some friends of theirs also camped near us who started for there yesterday - I hear food is much cheaper there 3/- per lb flour, mutton 1/9 per lb - we are paying 1/0 for flour & 1/0 per lb for meat - Nelson & I with our new mates, commenced work on Wednesday together the River having fell considerably - we made £4.0.0 & that was £8.0.0 for it to divide between our party of four - I received an affectionate letter from my sister Mary that afforded me more pleasure to read than *ans *most I receive from home - all well, thank God – no news about Father - I received a newspaper from Fred in which I noticed his name as having sang at a Concert in Melbourne - Last night my mates & I went down to the township for a spree - visited every place of Amusement consisting of Public Houses (calico ones) Dancing Rooms & Singing Saloons - made ourselves

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very notorious, by our bad behaviour, got into several broils & scrapes - the police interfering in our case we were to compelled to beat a retreat to civilized people, diggers when on the loose must appear perfect maniacs, we danced & I sang everywhere or was compelled to do so, being so well known as a squaller - I received a long letter from Fred Angles, he is thinking of coming up here but cannot at present as he is trying to get out a patent for a cradle which is to extract the gold from this black sand, he is quite a genius, I should like to see the little man & have a good laugh at him - he tells me his daughter Mrs Bignell has arrived from Victoria. Fred wishes she was far away, her husband murdered a man in Bendigo in a fit of jealousy, brought on by her light giddy conduct poor devil, he wasnt hangd but got 7 years hard labour in the hulks for his crime. I knew the parties well, years ago they were neighbours of mine, & many a flirt Ive had with her, she has only been on Wetherstones some 2 months & has scraped acquaintance with some unfortunate German & is to be married to him next week. Fred condemns such behaviour, but she is only his step daughter & he cannot control her -

Thursday evening I was surprised to see Bill Wright (my old mate in Wetherstones) Dave Hazlett, old Fawcett & his son, pay us a

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visit. Our tent is on the road side from Dunedin so our tent is the first calling place for Bendigo folks we know) they have just returned home from Victoria & are bound for the Foxes - they left next morning Dave after leaving Wetherstones went to Bendigo & worked there for a time & was full of news - Wright has got married since his absence - they all left next morning. Dave tells me Isa is still single & often spoke to him about me. Ive often thought whether she thinks of me, there can be no doubt tho we may never be to each other as we were of yore there is that passed between us which can never render us forgetful of each other -

28th Decr 1862
Being Christmas week & living in a Christian Country (if not Christians) & it being usual at such a time to enjoy oneself to the best of their power, we have done nothing in the way of gold digging, what little we did was only what was necessary to keep the claim) Even in the wilderness we found ways & means to make the time pass pleasently several Storekeepers & leading men at the township got up a lot of sports, consisting of Running Jumping & Wrestling, throwing the Hammer, Putting the Stone Etc. Etc – with, horse racing, the first days sport consisted of nothing but the latter, of course nothing but Hacks ran, causing more amusement & as much excitement as if they were "thorough breds" running, the following day (Saturday) was devoted to Athletic Sports, which was surely worth witnessing, there being some of [the] best Athletes in the colony present many whose names are well known all over

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Australia, but many who came thinking to bear away prizes were greatly disappointed, by three Maoris brothers - the eldest one bearing away the prize for everything he competed for, he threw some of the best Cornish & also Cumberland wrestlers there are in the colonies - most astonishing fellows, they are neighbours of ours - & have made a deal of gold on the River - their manner of living surprises me. Ive gone into their tent many times during their meals & have found taking nothing but tea & Biscuits - I met a great many people at the sports I knew, among the number Joe Poulter, one of my mates at the Machine (Wetherstones) he spent last night at our tent - he is mates with Dowding & Pickett & is working in Pipe Clay Gully somewhere up in the Mountains near the Kawarra - where they are doing very well - they have sent 36 oz each by escort to town for their last 2 months work. Christmas morning I went up to see H.Dight at the store - found him very busy, selling drink, to swiping diggers most of whom got drunk, & disgustingly beastly, which so disgusted me I left during the afternoon, but not before having had a X mas dinner with him, which consisted of 2 stewed Sheep heads with some Currant dumplings. I took a walk afterwards up the river & gathered a bundle of firewood & reached home with it just at dark, immediately afterwards, much to my delight, my brother Edward arrived from town where he had left only the morning before - he has had a pleasent tho to most people[s] thinking a rough trip of it - since leaving - he was some days in Dunedin where he enjoyed himself - he found the

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man who had the horse to sell - & bought it for £45.0.0. his expenses were over £10.0.0 so the beast has cost us equal to £55.0.0 it is a fine gray, & is well known as one of the best horses in the province, I hope he will prove a good one to us. Ned & Nelson are to start in the morning for Foxes, we bought everything theyll require & packed up to day. The cart horse & fittings & things will cost us about £100.0.0 £25.0.0 each, leaving us with little of our savings I sincerely hope they will for fortunate & that during their absence we who are left behind may be ditto, there is one thing, connected with arrangement I dont like & makes me feel uncomfortable - & that is Ned & Nelson going together - somehow or another they were always quarrelling & could never agree & Ned is so wild & impatient that he wont subject himself to anything like control, they both like their own way - I should like to have gone with Nelson - but we agreed to toss up who was to go & it fell as we are, I feel sorry Ned is going - for he & I have seen & so many trials & suffered so many hardships together & both of us trying for the same object, that we love each other perhaps more than most brothers do he is a fine manly spirited chap, would do a good turn or share his last 6d or last bit of food with the greatest stranger, if he thought he wanted it worse than himself - I went up to Dights this afternoon found his Brother Jack & Ned Rowitt there with him they have been at work on the Tokomiria diggings but are now enroute for Foxes, they purpose starting in Company with Ned & Nelson in the morning -

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Manuherikia River Jany 4th.1863 Dunstan, Otago, NZ

Ned & Nelson got away about noon on Monday reached the Dunstan township by night, & I heard they met several they knew & got spreeing about. Ned slept with some friends of his there & did not wake up till near 12 next day & found he had had his pockets picked of £10.0.0 & to make things worse, Nelson did not know where he was or where to find him, started early without him so Ned on waking up, was to afraid to lose Nelson to think about his money & his pea jacket he had lost to look after it, but pushed on & overtook Nelson just as he was swimming “Nobby” over the Molynuex at the Kawarra Junction - I was very much annoyed at hearing the above particulars. I think Ned ought to have been more particular what he was about to have subjected himself to such an inconvenience -

Dight is still at the store, so I put on a man on wages to represent his share in the claim (£5.0.0 per week) we worked very hard & Im happy to state with tolerable good results, on squaring up last night, after paying our man his wages Id £15.0.0 to draw - or like £10.0.0 ashare, the best weeks work Ive have for a long time, my new mates in the claim are fine working fellows, suit me all to pieces

I hope Harry & I will be able to continue to do as well, so that we can keep our other

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mates out prospecting, until they get onto something good. Good news still continue to arrive from the Lake district, tho’ Im afraid the place will get overdone by the great numbers of diggers who are daily flocking there - The Molyneaux still continues to keep high, so I see very little chance of doing anything upon it for some months to come - I went down to the township yesterday & spent about £5.0.0 on myself in clothes I required - I paid £2.10.0 for a pair of strong working boots & a £1 each for a couple of flannel shirts - In the evening in company with my mates, I visited all the places of amusement – 1. am this morning when we got home to day I spent rambling about, from one friends tent to another - called at Ikes tent, his wife has just arrived from Wetherstones, a Sydney native young & very pretty, tho’ far from being what she ought to be, a good virtuous wife -

Jany 11th.1863 Weather very hot. Heard to day by “Swiss Bob”, who has come down from Foxes, about Ned & Nelson, he met them on the Arrow River, but as all the ground was taken up there - they were purposing leaving & going further towards the Lakes - Bob tells me great numbers of people are there knocking about & have to return owing to the scarcity & dearness of provisions, he says, there is a deal of gold there & nearly every day some new gully or creek is being found with rich payable ground in them -

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he gives a frightful description of the country about there - travelling is fearful work, the tracks are strewed with dead horses & many men have met with fearful deaths, on one track he travelled, there is [a] deep narrow chasm the bottom of which through the mist rising from the water below cannot be discerned, this is crossed, by jumping over the narrowest parts - the week before he crossed it a lamentable occurance took place, a party of three men with a packhorse had to cross it, the one who was leading the horse leapt over with the halter in his hand, the horse in jumping made a bound, which dragged the man backwards & he failed to recover himself ere he was hurled headlong down its depth along with the horse, his mates looking down could see his body writhing in agony & were unable to reach him to render assistance if it had been possible or of use, they tore up their blankets & twined them so as to form a cord, but it proved too short it was the night of the following day before a rope could be got to go down to the man - alas, too late, the man was dead - died a fearful death nearly all the bones in his [body] broke it is supposed he lingered nearly 30 hours after he fell - several other cases of a similar nature has taken place within the past few weeks. Bob has [been] up to Lakes & beyond them amongst a chain of mountains that run nearly N & St which he describes as being as being in many places comprised of nought but immense Glaciers, & worse to travel than any

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part of the Alps or Pyrenees, he has seen - I can believe, (but wouldnt have done if Id not taken a trip when I did in that direction) that such is the case – perhaps in after years when the country gets settled & well populated, Australian tourists, will often visit this part of N.Z. We had to take in another partner this week, owing to our ground getting deeper an making more water - we made 11 oz of Gold between us @ 73s/9d per oz, give us after dividing trifling expenses in workings £8.0.0 a share, leaving us £11.0.0 to draw after paying our man his wages -

Enlivened myself this week by visiting the township twice with my mates - Wednesday night we got into a nice row through one of my mates getting drunk & with it quarrelsome - about a dozen of us were together, & we found ourselves in a dancing or Free & Easy sort of place, full of people, Jim got tight & some fellow endeavoured to rob him, however he was not so far gone, as to not know what the fellow was doing, so he struck him, quick as lightning a low blackguard mob of thieves & sharpers, rushed upon us & we seemed likely to get the worst of it when a lot of neighbours of ours came to our assistance we were not long in carrying all before us, & when mens blood is aroused by wrongs real or imaginary, there is no saying what the result may be - the owner of the place, who is known to be a vile character, & is well known for lightening mens pockets of superfluous cash or gold, was the first to feel our power, he saw his comrades & chums

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getting second best of the fun, so he had to fly for his life - & then commenced our work, we distroyed every bottle of grog, every thing in fact that would bend or break was distroyed & at last some more furious than others, began to pull the place down - & in less time than I could write an account of it, the whole place was demolished, a number of police came from the upper township when it was all over, but nobody knew or would not know, how the row commenced, so they returned it was 5 am next morning when we reached home - tired sore & our clothes tore to ribbons, some with bleeding faces & black eyes, my severest sore is on the shin where some one must have kicked me, most unmercifully - Last night I went down called on Mr Brown (formerly one of the Directors of the Nelson Reef Co) he has a carpenters shop there & is doing very well making cradles he is a clever man - possessed of a vast amount of knowledge, but yet so quiet & unassuming in his manner that it is a pleasure to be in his company - I always feel a better & cleverer man after spending an hour in his society - if Im in doubt upon any question I appeal to him, & he soon clears up whatever mystery may be attached to it in my mind

No letters this week -

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Jany 18th.1863
Weather lovely, past week - No news from Ned & Nelson. Been annoyed considerably this week by our neighbours who are turning the river - they have accomplished their object, but in doing so they have cut off our supply of water for sluicing purposes, & we can can claim no compensation unfortunately for our loss, but can compel them to cut us another race, which they have have done, but in such an unfinished style that it took us three days to complete it & render it of use to us – no joke the loss of 3 days work for 5 men – the rest of the week we managed to make about £4.0.0 aman. Harry Ennis found us out some few days back having just arrived from Victoria, & being “hard up” we allowed him to work in our claim for until he got a few Pds, on Monday he left us bound for Foxes Rush, having business at the upper township at the Camp in reference to our claim I accompanied him so far - when we parted, he is an old chum of mine & a strange fellow, he was born & brought up a gentleman was educated at Dublin University - but being a wild scamp he got into difficulties & had to leave there in a most summary manner, he is without exception the hottest brained wild & most reckless devil ever I knew strong as Samson with a constitution like a horse – nothing is too difficult for him to accomplish when only physical force is required, on leaving him & doing my business I took a strool about the township, in search of my partner Jinks - who had been on the "spree" for some days & had paid a man wages to work his share in our claim during the time - I found him very

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happy, half drunk in a brothel or low drinking place - It was with the greatest difficulty I got him away from the township before dark, he left us with about £40.0.0 in his pockets, while crossing the plain on our way home, he got so tired & sleepy he would lie down, where he fell asleep, I doing the same - but not before Id felt his pockets in which I found all the money he had was some £3.10.0 having spent the rest, the 2 days previous - we roused up about 11 pm & pushed on the Manuherikia township, found the punt on the opposite side so couldnt cross, & Jinks wouldnt think of swimming the River & then have to walk 2 miles afterwards in wet clothes - so we turned into the Royal Hotel, the Landlord is an old friend of mine, & he was entertaining some friends of his so we were invited to join them, 3 the following morning before we retired to our “shake down” I arose about 6 & took a bathe in the River & Jinks & I crossed, went to Ikes for breakfast, played a few games of quoits with him & got to our work about 11. am Tuesday, after our rambling. I find I spent a great deal of money, more than I feel I am justified in having done - Visited the Lower Township again this morning, found 2 letters at the P.O there for me forwarded from Wetherstones where they had been lying about a month, they proved to be from my couzins on Bendigo, nothing particular in them - I received a long interesting letter from Mr Halley, on Monday -

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Jany 25th 1863
Very hot during the week. We lost some more time, through the Compy humbugging us with our water Race - on Thursday I went to the Upper town (Dunstan) to lodge a complaint against them at the Wardens, found him so engaged with Major Ric[h]ardson the Superintendent of Otago who is making a tour of inspection on the various Goldfields, that I could not see him, & was informed by a "sub" he would not be disengaged for some days - how well as the immortal portrayed such like in alluding to "The laws delay", The "insolence of office" Etc - whilst at the camp I met Bill Hobson lodging about £150.0.0 worth of gold for transmission to Dunedin by Escort he has left the Bros Beales at Foxes where they have been at work doing very well, & is now enroute for Victoria to spend it - Ill bet he’ll be back in a couple of months, hard up with not a shoe to his foot. German Charlie left here with over £400.0.0 Im positive he will kill himself drinking before it done if some kind friend doesn't relieve him of it - Its very annoying to see such men so lucky. Ive seen it so ordained for years on goldfields - I seldom saw a drinking man ever get more gold than enough to keep him “stringing” on in expectation I called at the P.O while there & recd a long letter from Mother, which on opening I found contained one from my Father some 20 pages closely written

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he is well in health, living in Manchester, where he is acting as agent for something or somebody which said occupation is not very remunerative. Uncle Joseph is married, since which event he seems to have alienated himself from the rest of his relatives. Father writes rather despairingly with respect to our “expectations” coming to anything from that quarter (I think it is very wrong & cruel for parents to bring up their children with the idea of inheriting living people(s) wealth, as we've been always led to expect,. nothing good comes of it, it misfits & unsettles young folks mind(s) & tends to check many a rigorous exertion) he alludes to cotton famine, states we can have no conception of the sufferings the Mill operators in the Manufacturing districts are enduring. God knows judging from the reports we read in the home papers they must be fearful & should tend to teach us a lesson in the thankfulness to providence for keeping us from knowing the extremes of wretched poverty - there is also (as usual) a deal of advice to us “boys” with a great deal of religious matter – throughout - Mother read it prior to sending it me - & of course there are plenty of comments upon it in her letter. She is very short of money & desires me to send her some if I can - states Fred is not acting altogether the “thing” towards her -

Our party made 6 oz of gold this week, but having some extra expenses to meet it lessened

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the division considerably. I suppose we must be contented, great numbers are returning from "Foxes" the district get to overstacked & I hear there is a deal of suffering up there - most of those returning are settling down on the Banks of the Molyneaux taking up claims which they intend shepherding until the river falls - & in the meantime are building huts & rendering the caves habitable for their winter sojourn, getting in provisions while they are cheap & collecting firewood. We have heard nothing of Ned & Nelson - I think they cant be getting gold or else we should should have heard from them - Harry & I had a long talk this afternoon about our position & prospects & came to the conclusion it would be for the best, to take a claim on the River & give a man wages to shepherd it for us - for very few likely beeches on the River are now unoccupied & our claims will be worked out in a few weeks & should Ned & Coy come back unsuccessful, they will naturally blame us if we hadnt secured a River claim for the Winter to fly to there is a spot we know of not taken up, some ten miles down the Rocky Gorge from the Junction township, where I know some men got fine prospects only a day or two before the river rose - so weve agreed to take it up, & we know a man who will shepherd it for us for £3.0.0 per week & half a share when the ground is workable the river is expected to fall in about 6 weeks or 2 months from this date -

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Manuherikia River Feby 1st 1863 Dunstan, Otago, N.Z

Weather still very pleasent We made £7.10s.0d a share, not bad. I feel sorry Ned & Nelson left us, if we had stuck together & worked as we were doing we should have had a nice sum of money each by this time - I received a short brief note from Ned per favor of a friend in which he informs me Nelson, Ned Rowitt & J.Dight & himself after knocking about a considerable time together at length settled down by a small stream called Blue Stone Creek (a tributary of the Shotover River) where they found some fine gold, they at once commenced to turn the course of the river so as to get to its bed - when just as they had finished, a gale of wind came that melted the snow on the mountains causing a flood which swept away the dam bank, but not before they had ascertained there was a fine lot of gold to be had if they could get at it - from the tone of Neds note I should imagine he was very sanguine of success & they purposed making preperations to winter on the spot, such as laying in a stock provisions & firewood – the winter is the time when they are likely to do well as the rivers are very low at that time & the beds where the gold is deposited are then easily worked - I sincerely hope they will be successful - I replied to his note to day giving him my opinions upon the matter & also related what we had been doing & purpose doing for the future - & also an account of

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the money Harry & I have made since they left - I have visited the Lower township nearly [every] evening the past week, last night I went to “Jones” (Royal Hotel) & in company with my mates spent a jolly night together 1 am when we forded the River on our way home - this morning I wrote to Mother & enclosed in the letter a draft for £5.0.0 After posting it Harry & I, in company by the man weve employed proceded down the Molyneux where we have taken up a claim we were well loaded carrying a tent & tools with a fortnights provisions, & the road being frightfully rough & rocky running alongside a steep hill side at the foot of which rushes the Molyneaux, the longest largest & most rapid River in N.Z. near to the claim we took possession off, we found a small cave in which 2 or 3 men might live very comfortable in, we soon cleaned it out, & after refreshing ourselves we had to hurry back for if night overtook us, t’would be impossible to travel the track - we reached the Junction just as the shades of night were enveloping everything in darkness - the man we have engaged seems a decent steady man with no more thought or idea about the future, than an animal, so long as he can get a belly full of vituals & plenty of tobacco, I believe he can make himself supremely happy - happy mortal that so little can contest. I dont envy him -

It has just struck me that tomorrow will be my 24th birthday, how time flies, I feel Im getting well on in years, without much improvement in my worldly circumstances, gaining experience - but of rather a questionable character -

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Feby 8th.1863

Weather commencing to get very unsettled, verging into Autumn, sure herald of Winter how I dread its approach, with its snows & frosts its bitter winds & all its wretched concomitants, it was but yesterday when we had a slight fall of snow, & last week the heat was most intensely hot for two days - We sold a fifth share in our claim last Monday for £6.0.0 & for the weeks work we got £7.17s.6d a share not bad. I only hope the claim will continue to hold out so good until its finished - Tuesday, I went to the upper township to buy a plank for a false bottom for our sluice boxes our old one being worn out. I paid £1.0.0 for the bare board, 12 ft long by 1 ft broad & 1 in thick & then had to carry it over the plain a distance of 8 miles on my shoulder against a strong head wind. I was very tired when I reached the Manuherikia township with it where I left it at Mr. Browns, the next morning early I went for it, & borrowed an inch auger from him to bore it, it took me till 3 pm ere I had finished it having to bore 360 holes in it. I wouldnt live at that township for the world - 3 days of the week there is a strong wind blowing from the hills & the ground being sandy & gravelly, everything is buried in clouds of dirt & dust - tis frightful such as no one can conceive - whilst engaged in work there, I got into conversation with a young man who commenced business as a Butcher next place to Mr Browns. I could tell he was a Yorkeshireman by his accent & being born there myself I asked him what part he

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came from when he informed me Halifax (my native place) he said he was a printer by trade but his father was the largest butcher & one of the wealthiest there & so finding nothing to do on the diggings in his own line, & knowing a bit about butchering he had been induced to open his present shop - one question brought on another & at length when we mentioned our names to each other, we discovered we were second couzins, his name is Alfred Peel, his mother was a couzin of my mother, but his mother having married a man in a position her friends didnt like, her & her family appear not to be known much by us - I have heard the name often mentioned - but was not aware of the relationship he seems a very gentlemanly young fellow & has received a good education, he has been in the North Island when he left & went to England & has only lately returned from there again. I noticed when in the township that a small Library had been opened, to which I became a member the stock consists of about 100 Books all novels of course - I got for a start one of Levers – Jack Hinton. I find some portions very amusing & all readable - I have been a great Novel Reader but am beginning to get tired of them, the mind craves for something more substantial. I was much put out yesterday with Harry Dight giving up his situation, from some trifling cause or another, he had £4.0.0 aweek & his food, we paid a man £5 per week to represent his share which is about equal, & he had far easier times than as a digger for he is not accustomed to the work - the fact is he is terribly afraid Ned & Nelson wont do much where they are, & he wants us to secure two claims on the

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Molyneax for winter, at present we are paying a man £3 per week for sheperding a claim, & if he sheperds another the loss of his earning nothing & his keep besides will involve us into a great expense & should not the river fall as low as it was when we first came upon it, we shall be left penniless in this neighbourhood in the depth of winter, however, he cant see any such probability as the river not falling & I could not dissuade him to the contrary, so he went down the river this evening to take up a claim alongside of the one we have - so here we are 4 in a party & 3 out prospecting. I am the only one that (I know of) is earning anything, & should none be fortunate & our claim fail us, we shall all be doing nothing & what little cash we have saved will vanish like smoke - I wrote to Mother to day & sent £5.0.0. - 15th.Feby 1863

Weather getting more unsettled, beginning to be very cold at nights - It has been snowing heavily on the hills, every morning, the snow is to be seen still travelling towards the base of the "Old Man" the hill tops have all got their wintry mantles on hoary, stern, & grand they look thus robed - what a contrast to the weather for the past 3 or [4] months, scarcely a shower of rain having fallen, & yet the air beautifully clear & bright some days so intensely hot that we have had to leave our work in consequence - We have worked very hard in the claim this week, up to the knees in water all day long, from early dawn to dark making our existence none of the most enjoy able coming home to the tent wet through & then have to turn to & prepare our tea & do our cooking Etc

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We made £5.10.0 a share this week, a great falling off from last week, & yet we washed nearly twice as much dirt. Harry came up the river yesterday for his stores for the coming week, he says its awful dull living down there with nothing to occupy his mind with, no books, no society, no work to do, but making his cave as comfortable as possible - he is very sanguine about the claims & thinks the water will be low enough to work them in a month or so, the River having fell some 2 ft this week - I still regret his having left his situation & tried to persuade [him] to come & work in the claim in place of the man we are employing it would be a saving of £5.0.0 aweek – Im not at all sanguine about the River for Ive been told on good authority that the River for the last 16 years was never known to be so low as it was when it was rushed last year - it may be another 16 years ere it is so low again & unless it is as low as last year, there is little chance of there being much gold obtained, for none can be found far from the Banks - I recvd a short note from Ned on Friday, he is well in health & still on the Blue Stone River the party hes with, are turning the course of the stream but have met with more than one reverse since commencing the undertaking - they had one time got everything in good working order, & had got a few pounds weight of gold enough, he informs me, to pay their expenses from settling down up to time he writes, which must have been considerable - it must be very tantalizing to be so situated to know there is so much gold near them & at times to have it in their

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grasp & then to be snatched from their gaze by a flood sometimes of an hours creation. We must hope, they will eventually succeed in accomplishing their object. Ive been reading a fine story called by called Jane Eyre by Currer Bell, generally I dont care for female novelists, but there is something so thoroughly stirling about her works that no one can help liking & admiring the vigorous composition of this womans works - Ive been to the township several times during the week, but have always been glad to get away from it as soon as possible - tis built on a sandy point at the Junction of the two Rivers & there is always a strong wind blowing raising such clouds of dust, that nearly choke one - South Australia where I lived several years & is proverbial for its dust is nothing in comparison. Its a mystery how people exist there -

22 Feby 1863
Strange climate this. The last few days have been the hottest Ive experienced in N.Z melting the snow which fell last week & causing the river to rise higher than ever, upsetting all, [&] every bodys ideas respecting the falling of the Molly Three of my mates got on the spree this wk & staid away from their work 2 days causing myself & man to be idle, much to my disgust, another day was lost owing to the river rising & flooding our claims. If my mates go away again, I shall put men in their places &

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& deduct their wages from the gold we obtain if Id not been sober & staid at home we should have lost our tools, Pumps & Boxes, Etc. It was with great difficulty I secured them - the balance of the week we were at work we made £4.7s.6d a share - Harry has paid me several visits since I last wrote - he is always full of new ideas & proposing plans & solutions that if I was to entertain would bring us to wretched straits, gold digging is a new & novel occupation for him - & everything seems gold that glitters to him, he is exceedingly flighty & to such a degree that Im afraid hell never be a prosperous man unless Dame Fortune plays a trick in his favour –

My old friend George Fowler paid me a visit the other night, he has just arrived in this neighbourhood from the Woolshed diggings where he has been at work for a long time, meeting with very poor success - he is a fine gentlemanly fellow - well educated & all that sort of thing, but quite out of his element on the diggins, I used to know him when he was in good circumstances in Bendigo - but through a series of speculations he was induced to enter in by friends he came to grief such are the ups & downs of life, he is possessed of nothing now but his blankets & what he stands in. I gave him a start & put him in the way getting a living, near the township - Great numbers still continue to flock hither, the newspaper reports I think

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must be greatly exaggerated, there would be good diggins for 5,000 men but when 50,000 are upon them tis impossible for all to do well - Im afraid there will be a deal of suffering amongst the diggers when the winter sets in -

[Sunday, 1 March 1863] 27 Feby 1863
Weather very unsettled, lost two days work in consequence of heavy rains however, we managed to make £6.3s.0d a share, our old Bendigo friend Tom Meston arrived here from the Tupeka on Tuesday & we have taken him in partnership with us in the claims we are shepherding on the river Moly’ the man we had employed to shepd one of our claims left us very unceremoniously yesterday so to secure the claims we thought we couldnt do better than to take Tom with us, he being a very steady fellow & one we all like - Ive visited the township several times during the week, spending my evening with Mr Brown when I met some neighbours of his a Mr Proctor (who I discovered to day to be an old playmate of mine when boys together in Adelaide he is a Watchmaker & Jeweller & is carrying on business here in that line) the other person Mr Bloxham is tentmaker & like his great master St Paul, a preacher, of the Gospel, its a treat to me to meet three such fine intelligent minds Brown with his quiet unassuming manner, & well stocked mind, Bloxham with his spiritual eloquence & sober mind, & Proctor who is full of the philosophical & scientific more theoretical than practical) all form such a contrast & such a perfect whole as to render their society very agreable & interesting Proctor is an electro Biologist & can also exercise a great influence

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over the minds of many by the power of Mesmerism, he can by a single pass of his hand, render Bloxham completely subservient to his will & make him do the most extraordinary things whilst in this state. I was always very sceptical with regard to this deprivation of a mans mind or will by the simple action of another mans will - by such means, I know there are none but doesnt exercise some influence upon the mind & actions of another, but always to a limited extent & within the power of the person so influenced to cast it off when his will like, but by this power of Mesmer, we find a man deprived of all power of intellect & volition a mere machine a tool who can at the purpose of the Operator, whatever it is at command - without power to desist, this is a most extraordinary power - there must be some principle in it, beyond human mind to fathom or analyse, we talk & think & discuss upon predestination & free will Etc. & here is a power which man has discovered which, if progressed & more practised would tend to distroy all notions preconceived of these questions - I should like to know more about it - it may be an evil power & do a deal of harm - it may be the reverse, & I hope it is!

Mr Brown is teaching me phonography, tho very simple as a principle & a knowledge of it easily acquired, I fear Ill never be any good at it, Im not constitutionally adapted for a phonographist, my sight is failing me rapidly. I believe it is the climate - for Im not adduced to any view that precludes such effects. The thought of losing my sight causes me to feel very wretched, after working hard all these years & endeavoured to improve my mind so that at some future time I might enter into another sphere of life & thus to lose the most useful & necessary of my senses is awful to contemplate - I received a letter from home on the 23d all well Bessie is enroute for Echuca (where she is going to stay with Mrs. Dewar for a year-) she is at present at

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Bendigo staying with Lizzie Vickerman, I think it will do her a deal of good going to Mrs. D. who is a nice ladylike person & a most accomplished woman. Ive no doubt Bessie['s] mind & manners will be much improved by the association of such a woman - I also recd a letter from Fred, full of news of a certain nature relating to amusements Etc at present to be enjoyed in Melbourne he thinks of trying his luck in N.Z. heaven help him if he comes here - he dont know when he’s well of. I went to the New Chapel this afternoon at the Junction township (the first place of worship Ive been in since leaving Melb) It was very hot & some dolt was preaching or trying to do so, making some feel desirous of leaving the place, but I didnt like to do so an opportunity arose, I noticed a man on the same form with me asleep, who awoke at the singing previous to the sermon, which he very vociferously joined in, but instead of his song being to the praise of God it was to Bacchus. I helped him outside, quick, & so got away myself - spent the rest of the day at Bloxhams -

[Sunday, 8 March 1863] March 6th 1863
Beautiful weather after the rain we worked very hard at the claim, but with poor results, made £4.2s 6d ashare we shall have to begin to think of getting another one this being worked out, at least what is left will hardly pay us work. I was very much surprised on Thursday by my brother Edward putting in an appearance he having come from Shotover, he has a very severe cold & is far from well - his object in coming down was to see me, respecting future arrangements with our

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party as to the best plans of operations for the coming winter, he has not received one of the three letter(s) I wrote to him. He informs me they knocked about the Lake district for some time without finding a place to settle down to work in that seemed likely to pay, until they found gold in the Blue Stone Creek, the water was to high an it to work it to advantage & they were obliged to take in two partners, J.Dight & N.Rowitt to assist them in turning the course of the stream, they succeeded in doing so several times, but always something turned out to put them back, for they could never get properly to work at it - however they managed to get about 50 oz of gold between them, they are still sheperding the claim until the winter sets in so they can work it to better advantage Ned cannot agree with Nelson so Ned thinks it better we should dissolve partnership. The gold they got up there has only just paid their expenses. Ned brought down about 12 oz with him, leaving the horse in his mates care - Nelson is agreable to part with us & I believe Ned came down for that purpose & ascertain how we had done during their absence & let us know what they had done, before the winter set in & all communication was stopped to the Lakes. Since they have left Harry & I, I have saved on our partys a/c about £50.0.0 clear of all expenses, Ned has about £40.0.0 worth he & Nelson got, so we are about square, & couldnt part under better circumstances, we divided our stock which amounted to £30.0.0 each. Ned states Nelson has about the same amount by him when he left – so the only difficulty arising now is in reference to the horse I wrote to Nelson & informed him of the state Ned found us in & the amount I made on the Co a/c during his absence & all particulars, & we made over our 3 shares in the horse to Dight & Rowitt, who will not hesitate in buying our shares for a reasonable price as they have

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had the use of the animal ever since they have been with Ned & Nelson - & so ends some more bright hopes – we are once more together & not a 1/. the better off than when we first proposed the breaking up of our party if we had stuck together, as I wished, & worked our claims we should have had a nice sum of money each by this time - poor Ned is the worse off for when he went to Dunedin he drew out his 13 oz of gold he had there & through being extravagant, *since he is no better off than Harry & I, however its no use regretting the River in another month or so will be down & we’ll soon pull up for the lost time – We have money enough to see us through another 2 months & pay our sheperding expenses which by the by are very heavy - & if the River dont go down early we shall have some rough times - Yesterday afternoon Ned & I went to the Upper township to give our letter (to Nelson) to some one bound for the place he is settled in - we entrusted it to the care of a packer we know - the rest of the day & night we spent as pleasently as it is possible to do on such a place we visited every Dance Room, every Singing Saloon Free & Easy, Billiard Room & Gambling Hell in the place - staid at Kilgours to the close of the night heard some good Amateurs & tolerable professionals there, amongst the number one of the best violinists I ever heard in my life, in fact except Hauser & Poussard - Ive never [heard] such a one - he has been offered the best engagements in the colonies, but declined accepting them, he thinks there is no life like a gold diggers & only plays when he gets hard up, as he is at present. Ive met him on several diggins during my tr various travels - & have spent

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many a pleasent hour in his company, it was nearly 3 am this morning when we retired to rest on the Stage of the Concert Hall where Kilgour had made us beds - we rose about 8 am & after breakfast we made for home arrived here about noon. Harry came up to day says the River is falling. I didnt notice it when Ned & I walked along its Banks from the upper township.

March 15th.1863
Weather fine, but beginning to find it very cold nights & morning. Ive been very much annoyed this week our claim is nearly worked & is very poor & because our returns were small for the work we did on Monday, the 3 other shareholders with the usual perversions which characterises diggers of this class - thought that by a good spree & getting drunk would turn their luck, they were away for 3 days, leaving me with the claim. I wouldnt put men in their place for they ground is now too poor to guarantee getting gold enough to pay their wages - they returned to work on Friday morning after spending about £10.0.0 *@ so our weeks work didnt amount to much £1.15.0 a share - Ned went down the river on Monday with Harry to see the claims there, we have taken up, he retuned last night & is of the same opinion as I am with regard to the River claims, they are rotten sticks to depend upon, the water will have to fall 10 ft perpendicular before we could work our claims to advantage. We think now Ned is

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with us, & doing nothing he had better look out for another claim (he doesnt like sheperding so we shall let Tom & Harry do that) we saw a chance of buying a share in a claim for £3.0.0 which claim stands well, being next to one that is yielding a deal of gold, we bought it to day, & Ned is to commence work on it in the morning. There are four shareholders, good working chaps & they hope to bottom in about a fortnight if its a duffer it wont ruin us & if otherwise will be a cheap bargain. Ned & I spent this afternoon & evening at Mr Browns, he has been giving me some more lessons in phonography. I had been going ahead too fast, so he insisted upon me returning to the rudiments

22 March 1863
Weather very unsettled. notice the snow getting down nearer the vallies & plains every morning, all the hill tops of the surrounding mountains are covered with the white element. Our claim is getting very poor we only made £4.7.0 a share, leaving a deficiency of 13/- in in the wages we pay Elliot for working our second share, so we were obliged to discharge. Ned will work for the future in the claim in his place as he was obliged to give up the share we bought last week, in consequence of the Molyneaux rising higher than ever, the claim being situated directly at the junction was swamped & all the work they had been engaged at for the past week distroyed, very disheartening for they had nearly bottomed & had found gold in the sinking warranting the idea of its yielding rich returns when they get to the bottom - great dissatisfaction, accompanied with nearly an universal panic has been caused by this last rising of the River, every one thought the river was settling down for good & those who had the means laid in stores & made provision for the winter, spending

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in many cases, their all, & now the River is as far off falling as the day it rose - to all appearances - numbers have given up claims they have shepherded for many months, thoroughly disgusted with the prospect of continually having their hopes deferred

I went down to the township last evening & met a party of Bendigo men who had just arrived, amongst the number I met* an old Californian Gully chum, Jms Furner, from of whom I heard the painful intelligence of J.Hannan Stuarts death - which occurred in the following manner, Furner & Stuart left Bendigo together as mates for N.Z. the[y] left Melb in a fine ship & had a pleasent voyage until reaching the East coast of this Island when they experienced very rough weather accompanied with a heavy rolling sea causing the ship to role fearfully - they had got within about 12 hours sail of Port Chalmers & were looking forward with such delight on landing in Dunedin the following day & meeting some of the old Bendigo friends they knew were residing there - it was evening the sun had just sunk in the West amidst a dark lowering sky, when Stuart came on the quarter deck & joined Furner, he was in the habit of keeping a journal, like myself, & had just made an entry, their conversation turned on their arriving in Dunedin the following day & he alluded to many friends he should meet Etc. when the ship gave a fearful roll, causing Stuart to lose his footing & having his hands in his pockets at the time, he failed to recover himself ere he slid underneath the railings of the Poop into the Ocean, never to rise again until the Sea gives up its dead - poor Stuart. Furner says he met his eye as he slid from him & heard him exclaim My God save me - it was past all human power to save him the ship was under close reefed topsail running before a strong wind, no boat could have lived in such a sea & being dark, or nearly so nothing could be done to save him. he was a fine clever intelligent young fellow, about my own age, & when in Bendigo inseparable companions. Poor Jim! I cannot refrain dropping

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a tear to his memory, little did I think when we spent the last night in each others company at Mrs Kings prior to my leaving it would be the last time we should ever see each other, many the bit of fun & jolly nights weve spent together & the pleasent hour to ourselves in one or another[s] company, he was engaged to a very amiable girl who lives in Eagle Hawke who I believe was greatly attracted to him & the feeling I know was reciprocated Furner has possession of Stuarts journal, which he very kindly lent me to read, to day. I find my name *down in nearly every page in some way or another, his last entry particularly when he wondered if he should find me out on his arrival & if so if I should have altered as he had heard Id had some hard times since leaving Bendigo, for which he sympathises with me - he had no relatives in Australia, he came to the colony as a Middy in one of Greens Ships & had ran away some 7 years ago, with the idea of making a fortune at the gold diggings, he had met with indifferent success & still hoped on thinking something would turn up in his favour so that he could return to his friends at home in a respectable manner, he has a mother living in Aberdeen, Scotland, who will mourn his loss -

29 March 1863
Weather fine. Our party doing nothing in the way of making money. I myself have been out every day prospecting in the neighbouring mountains & gullies in company with two men from other parties, living near, could find the "color" of gold wherever we tried but not in sufficient quantities to pay working. I lived at the township 3 days at Foynes Restaurant, it being near the neighbourhood I have been prospecting, than our tent. Yesterday, I went to the Upper township & feeling

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thirsty I went into a "shanty" & was surprised to find it kept by my old mate Tom Magher, having heard some strange stories concerning him, I asked him for the particulars & rather shocking they were & not of the most creditable description. When I left Wetherstones I was aware he was head & ears in love with a pretty woman at Webbs Hotel, a Barmaid, who called herself a widow. Tom took her for his wife but not before she informed him her husband was alive & that she was divorced from him & was at present doing a 3 years sentence in Dunedin gaol after the wedding they went to Dunedin & lo! they met the husband who for good conduct had got out of gaol 12 months short of his term of sentence, a quarrel ensued & at last a compromise effected, & all became friends again & singular to state the three left town together enroute for the Dunstan they travelled for two days in company, when Tom & the woman managed to give the exhusband the slip the Coach passing at the time, the[y] took passage in it, & got up here some 3 days before the X husband who found them out living at a Hotel, he enquired for her, & she, on making her appearance, received two stabs with a long knife in the body, she is a very plucky woman & tho bleeding profusely she held on to him preventing his escape, he was captured & sent to Dunedin again the next day. She was attended to by doctor & as soon as she was able to travel, Tom & her went there also. No time was lost before the trial came on, & the unfortunate wretch was sentenced to 7 years transportation with hard labour, he had just finished telling me when she came in. I knew her well many a dance Ive had with & many a narrow escape from getting a broken head through her partiality to Toms & mines company in Wetherstones, she is one of [the] finest women I ever met in my life, but not much accounts one who could not hold up her head in any other society but that found upon the diggings. I stayd dinner & tea

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with them, glad to get away found it a gambling place, she doing all the blinding, with a smile to one & an encouraging look to another & looking amouratory to all she manages to wheedle many an unfortunate poor devils money out of him, she will keep Tom as long as he is of use to her & then leave with what she can scrape together - On reaching home we had a squaring up, as usual on a Saturday night, found our united earnings for [the] week was but £3.0.0 which Ned & Meston got from our old claim, the other men who had shares in it, Jinks, MLachlan & Peter Haggatt (the last named is the celebrated "Samson" of Australia, a man who throws the heavy & light hammer further & also the stone than any man on record, ever did since the day of Robert Bruce - although he is so big & strong he is one of the lasiest men I ever worked with. I knew him on Bendigo when he was a gaoler there, he has about £200 worth of prizes he won in Scotland & England as evidence of his prowess as an athlete) I have been much annoyed this week by the pertinacity of my brother Ned displayed in playing Billiards, he has lost a deal of money this week I have begged & prayd of him to disist in encouraging the passion for gambling I would sooner see him a drunkard, there is a chance of him being reformed, but a reformed gambler, is a rare person to meet - Spent to day at the township at Foynes & other places - Noticed the River has gone down a few feet since last week -

April 5th.1863
Weather fine. Last Monday, I met the men who hold shares in the claim, we purchased a share in

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at the junction of the River Manuherikia & Molyneux some time back, they thought we might get at it again as the River was going down - I, doing nothing, agreed, so we *commenced the first day lost in getting pumps & tools upon the ground we had an awful hard job to bail & pump the water out of paddock, we had sunk & when out we found the sides had slipped in with the action of water that it took us till Friday night to get it in the same order as when we were last driven out of it - during the night the river rose again several feet flooding the claim with the paddock as much as ever, which so disgusted us with our bad luck, as we are pleased to term it, that we purpose abandoning it altogether this is very disheartening. Harry Dight came up from the claim he is shepherding down the River, with the information, they are once more swamped. Im sorry we ever had anything to do with River Claims, what with loss of time & cash actually paid away & spent amounts to nearly £200.0.0 by a rough calculation we made to day - Tom Meston & Ned only made about £2.0.0 out of the old claim, so they have given it up, being worked out. I wish we had another claim like [it] to commence work at Im sure we took out £1000.0.0 of gold out of it. I regret much we didnt all stick & work it between us instead of going about in search of a shadow & so lost the substance - the other men who worked with us have done well out of it & one has returned to Victoria. Friday night had a consultation concerning our future course - our money is getting down, Ned having spent all his, Harry hasnt much being very extravagant when he has more than will keep him Tom has none - having only lately come here & since our claim began to get poor - we settled for Harry to go to go down to the River Claims for another week. Ned is going to look for a situation at some of the claims on Golden Point near the Township. Meston the same -

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Saturday morning, I went to see some German neighbours of ours two of whom I was out prospecting with last week, they are doing nothing still, but were thinking of prospecting the Flat close to the tent, & knowing I had sunk a hole in it *during the summer, they wanted me to join them & to bottom a hole - I thought it would be useless trying, unless we could make up a large amalgamated party & first cut a race from some point of the River into the Flat, where a fall could be obtained to drain the ground, for my own part Im convinced there is good gold to be had if the ground was only drained & could be worked, however, we commenced a hole near the edge of the flat where we thought it was shallow & bottomed it at 7 ft on a rise the bottom dipping into the flat, we found gold on the rise & if there was a greater thickness of gravel upon it would pay to work, the water coming in too strong for us to bottom the dip we had to give it up, more firmly convinced that if we could get into this deeper ground more in the flat we should get more gold – we got 4 dwt out of the few Bucketsful of dirt we washed - considered by those who know of it to be a very good prospect. I proposed the plan of amalgamation & several parties living near (principally Germans) at once joined in the plan, my mates dont care about the scheme - they would sooner be lounging about I think we held a meeting this morning & Ten parties of 4 in each party joined for the purpose of cutting a race from the River into the Flat, all claims are marked & pegged out & have surveyed the line of Race. Im afraid the only drawback will be the very little fall there is to be obtained for the drainage, it will not prove effective but will assist in rendering the ground more easy to work. Im elected Manager & am to have *my shares & simply to look on & see the work is done properly & all do an equal share & to get the necessary protection for our work in case it is any good so no other parties may take advantage

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of our labour - last night I went to the Township had tea at Christy Foynes. My second cousin Alfred Peel has entered into partnership with him, they are doing a good business - I dont much like my relative, he is a young Yorkshireman & very close & near, but a very pleasent fellow - but Christie is the man who draws the business & through whose good natured style of doing things makes the place attractive there is a very nice young woman living with them - Jenny Woodhouse - like all my lady friends on the diggings a something singular about her, we are good friends from a strange cause - Christie informed me he engaged her at the Dunstan where she had a small store, & had to give it up because her husband used to drink all the profits so she left him & took her present situation at the All Nations the other day when there, some man came in & enquired for her, she came out to see him & in a few minutes time Chris & I heard her screaming - we rushed out & were just in time to stop him from striking her by planting my knuckle on his nose, which staggered him, he rushed at me in a most frantic manner, tho’ thoroughly powerless owing to his passion rendering him an easy mark for another well timed blow on the face, some of the boarders rushing out collared him & made a football of him to the waters edge, where some people interfered or he would have got a ducking. Jenny is pretty & very kind to those who are boarding & she is a universal favorite, the consequence is that a deal of jealousy is displayed by a good many. I gained an enemy by the affair for the fellow swears he’ll take my life. Jenny thanked me for my presence at such an opportune time, but was very quiet when pressed by those around as to who the fellow is - she has promised, to take a walk with me tomorrow evening when she is to tell me a strange tale being her lifes history so far - April 12th.1863
Weather very unsettled, cold & sleety hail showers -

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bitter cold in the tent during the night, the mountains surrounding are covered with Snow - giving everything a desolate appearance - Ned & Harry have been all the week at the claims on the River shepherding. Meston got a job for a few days, by which he earned £2.6.0 not much to divide between four of us. The party Im connected [with] are getting on fine with the Race. Forty five hard working men can get through a deal of work more especially as they are equally interested there are some Ive had to bossuh "bossum" a bit who will skulk. The race when finished will be about 9 ft deep about 12 ft broad at top tapering to about 4 ft at bottom. It is about 350 yds long. Ive had to make several trips during the week to the Upper Township to see the Commissioner about our ground & Race, got the necessary forms posted up for protection no objections have been made as yet. I had quite an adventure last Monday. I had just arrived on the Dunstan township on the way to the camp, when a fellow with close cropped hair & looked like a prig just out of gaol put his hand on my shoulder & with an exclamation. “Ah! Harry Miller I apprehend you in the Queens name for deserting the - th Regiment, on the 20th.Jany 1863, quartered at Auckland”. I looked my astonishment & tried to shake him off, but the fellow was as strong as a bull & had got a “professional” grip of me, so that I couldnt well do so. “Your names Harry Miller” says he! Ill be hanged if is, says I. Your 5ft 8 in high, right, thought I. You 'listed in the town of Limerick at the age of 18, went with your Regiment to Bombay, from there to Auckland 15 months ago, deserted & was traced to Otago with three others - Of course I protested & swore & wrestled with him & should have got away, but I *ceased struggling by feeling the cold steel of the barel of a revolver stuck in my ear, not feeling comfortable

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I listened to what he had to say. “By Gar sure an its no use kicking up a bobbery at all, at all - faith an you know me well, you spalpeen, its Sargeant Cleary, come along “wid ye! a crowd had gathered round who soon would have released me, but I explained to the mob it arose from a mistake many were present who knew me for years past, & woudnt let the policeman take me - (by this time several had come to the spot attracted by the crowd, they threatened to blow out the brains of any who attempted a rescue & not liking the looks of the firearms they were allowed to march me off to the Camp with the crowd at my heels kicking up a great row - on my arrival there I was handcuffed to a long chain along with a lot of vagabonds who really deserved being there - I was left about an hour in this position but guarded by the Sargeant (who it appears has been sent here to look after deserters from the Nt Island where there is a War at present with the Maories) who questioned me respecting my fellow deserters. Mr. Kiddell the Warden & Magistrate of this district, was sent for & he at once had me released & reprimanded the Sargeant for being so hasty in arresting men because they happen to have a straight figure & walk "a la Militaire" - Kiddell knew me long before I was accused of "deserting" he it was who settled our case in court some months back when on his visit to our claim we threatened to duck in the River, he hadnt forgotten my share in the affair, & wasnt particularly civil to me, however I got him to settle the business I came about & wasnt long walking across the plain home, called at Foynes had tea there, took Jenny out for a walk, crossed the River without being observed at Franks Ferry rambled up & down among the rocks & along the River Banks till 11 pm listening to Jennies life & adventures. I could scarcely credit one so young could have gone through the scenes she has, a tale of sin & sorrow

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pleasure & crime & related by her with a singular pathos rendered it more melancholy than does most stories of this sort. It appears her mother, who she can only remember & was reputed to be very beautiful, was seduced by some nobleman, in Yorkshire, he, to hide her shame, or his own, induced his valet to marry her soon after she was confined of a daughter (Jennie) Her father set her mother & her husband up in business in an Hotel her step father was very unkind to her mother & didnt live long, didnt improve his behaviour to the child - however she grew until she was about 16 when a wild young fellow took her fancy & she thought he was all that perfection her stepfather had other views respecting her, than to allow her to marry him, there was a gentleman in the habit of calling & staying at her fathers house for a few days at a time, who pretended to be very kind to her & proposed for her, her stepfather insisted upon her marrying him to which with some reluctance agreed to, her lover being a sailor & was away at the time, they were married at once & she was taken to London, found her husband the possessor of a handsome house, beautifully furnished & was in the habit of inviting a deal of company *not always gentlemen she wasnt long in discovering that her husband was a noted keeper of a gambling hell where nightly "pigeons were plucked", he instructed her to play cards, not to play fairly, but to play to win, at the end of 12 months she became such an adept at the art, she could beat her master – many a time she admitted to me she has helped to pluck a victim who was induced to try his luck - sometimes they had bad luck & she discovered he was not only thoroughly unprincipled towards others, but towards his own property, she overheard him bargaining with an old *"rascal" for a certain price, for the opportunity

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of seducing her, he was to be allowed free ingress to her room that very night, she lost no time, but packed up what jewellery she had obtained & with a small sum of money left her home found her way back to her stepfather, who on hearing her tale only laughed & called her a fool & went with her back to London where he made some apology about her misunderstanding the theme of the conversation she had overheard - she lived with her husband some few months longer when he was arrested one day for an extensive forgery he was connected with & also a robbery in which both husband & stepfather were concerned in the former was transported for 10 years, the father getting off through some flaw in the evidence, after the affair her father drove her from the place & she went to Manchester & turned Milliner & Bonnetmaker, her beauty was her curse there, & she went to Liverpool as I could gather from her with some friend she had made, & while there had met her old lover, who was in a liner plying between England & America & in an evil hour was tempted by him to leave England in a ship bound for N.Z. she soon discovered he was not all her fancy painted long before she arrived, & having no legal claims upon him on landing had to *pay her own way, he came up to the Dunstan & opened a shanty & then sent for her, she came up, he pretended to be engaged in shepherding a claim on the River but in reality was living upon her earnings, she took in dressmaking & sewing & could have made a deal of money if it had not been for him, he used to spend what she made & go away for days spreeing about in places of amusement until she couldnt stand it. Peel, my cousin met her & knowing her fathers place in Yorkshire & something about her engaged her with a good salary to go with him & Christy & help in their business, & such is her story so far -

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what will be the finish God knows. I pity her lot for it must be a miserable [one], she isnt above 25 years of age & when younger & before *hasnt so much trouble, must have been an extraordinary lovely woman she is a Brunette with a clear skin & complexion large full eyes & small grecian nose - & pretty mouth to see such a wreck in such an outlandish place as this is seems strange - had she been ambitious or naturally bad, few women have had such an opportunity of gratifying their vanity as she has – The man I struck the other day was the man with whom she came from England with

Tuesday night I went to Bloxhams, met several young fellows there, for the purpose of getting up an Intellectual Society of some sort. I forgot to state we met for a similar purpose last week, when our number was only five, now we have 35 names on the Books, all intelligent, well informed men, we visited the Chapel committee & obtained their permission to use the Chapel for a place of meeting. Bloxham was elected, (Proctor the treasurer) & President & I Vice President, our meetings to be held every Tuesday evening & to be called the Manuherikia Mutual Improvement Society. We got on so far that a subject was proposed for discussion for the following night viz, "Which is the greatest source of Evil Riches, poverty or Intemperance" the former & latter were eagerly taken up by debaters & not one could be found willing to take the hand of poverty & make a show of it. I was at

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length induced to accept it. I feel I can speak most feelingly upon the Subject, & Ill eat my head if I cant prove poverty causes more Evil than either of the other two heads - we broke up at 11 pm I found at Bloxhams a parcel a/d to me from my Wetherstones friend Mr. Neild containing a few Books & my Essay on L.S. & Art I wrote when there - on opening I found a few remarks & also some parts marked for correction & a few words of praise & encouragement, which coming from such a man is very gratifying - I made the acquaintance of a young man who is at present living at Foynes named Frank Perrin, an extraordinary clever young fellow - he has only lately left Oxford University where he gained a degree, studied for a doctor & is possessed of an MD Diploma, his conversational powers are wonderful, can quote & make allusions from all the ancient & modern writers upon most subjects, get him upon poetry as I did last night & one might imagine they were in reality passing a night with the poets. Shakespeare, Milton, Byron, Dryden Pope Couper Shelly Shuller, Goethe Moliere, Dante are all particular & intimate friends of his. What attracted me to him so was the total absence of arrogance so often displayed by clever people to those whom they must know are greatly their inferior in intellect & he has the knack of making you feel interested in what he is stating, & endeavours to make you as well acquainted with the beauties & merits of his favorites as he is himself, he is a gentleman in every respect but should have been born to plenty of money & not to be compelled to have to make it, he would make a splendid orator or lecturer - fancy such a

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man working for a lot of illiterate brutes, wheeling a barrow all day on a plank as he does - I became acquainted with him in a very singular manner, about a month ago I was cooking at the fire near the tent, when a man came up & seeing I was short of wood opened a conversation on the subject, he asked me for a piece of bread stating he had had nothing to eat all day (it was then 4 pm) I gave him some with some meat, after he had finished he asked me for a sack which I lent him he leaving his swag with me - he didnt come back for hours & when he did he was loaded with a sack of firewood, he must have gone fully 5 miles for it, he offered it me, but I refused taking it, for I had told him if he took it down to the township he could get 6/- for it. I gave him 5/- for it, he pitched his camp under a rock near out tent & the next day he went for another load of wood & took it [to] the township & disposed of it to a customer I told him off I introduced him to Foyne who promised to try & keep him till he got something to do. I fortunately heard of a job that he could do & got him to do it, his fine manly independent spirit led me first to admire him - nothing of a loafer about a man who after travelling a day on foot with nothing to eat, thinks

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he has placed himself under a compliment for a piece of bread & repays it by what is often a good days work to procure, a sack of wood but to continue his story, he is a sort of a Judge in Dublin, & grandson or a descendant of the Celebrated Frenchman Due de Perrin, [Jean Baptiste Perrin] who wrote the Fables bearing his name - he is a younger son & with £100 was sent out to the Colonies with letters of Introduction to the great nobs of Sydney. On his arrival there he was courted, flattered, & treated everywhere, but no signs of his friends getting him a situation until his money was done & his clothes beginning to look seedy, he was offered a billet in the Horse Police, which so disgusted him he left Sydney never he hopes to return to it again, he next tried N.Z. visited Sir G.Gray the Governor, but he was so battered & looked so beggarly, he was taken no notice of but advised to turn Volunteer & fight the Moaries, considering he had no interest in the cause of the war & very little honor to gain he declined, but worked his way to Dunedin, where he landed with 2s/d- in his pocket & commenced to tramp the roads the following day, he begged his food along the road & did any little job he could to draysman & carrier he fell in with for a meal - he is now quietly settled down to his work & intends when he has £100 to leave for India where he has many friends & relatives - I have spent several hours in his company to day (Sunday)

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April 19th.1863
Weather fine but cold & frosty. Been hard at work all the week with my men at the "Race" hope to be finished with it next week - Three days Ive spent up to my middle in water standing in the River & considering the water is thawed ice, no wonder I felt *much paralized & fatigued & suffered from cramp Etc we have had to put a wing Dam in the River at the head for our "Head Race" we tried Stones & Sods but the current was so strong they wouldnt stand so we bought a lot of Sacks & filling them with Clay we succeeded in accomplishing our object - by *advancing our Dam Bank, Bag at a time - while engaged in this work, on Thursday, I was hailed by a man from the opposite bank of the River, if I could inform him where he would find a crossing place, he had a "swag" on his back & looked footsore & tired as if from a long journey, so instead of directing him to the point some three miles distant, I waded across & brought his swag over, then returned & carried the man over on my shoulders. I had not observed him very minutely, until he began to thank me & enquire for Tom Meston (my mate) I looking more intently at him, he at once exclaimed, Watmuff! is it possible! it is you who has been so kind! dont you know me - Ah! too well I knew him & wished Id drowned him for the injury he did me in

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estranging Isa Kings affection from me. Yes this was Edwards who traduced me & did all in his power to lessen me in the regard of the only being Ive ever loved & to a certain extent succeeded, the bitter pang I thus experienced is past & on reflection Ive often thought it was the hand of providance that robbed me of her - & that Edwards was simply an instrument, but a bitter one to me I turned from him with disgust, but when he began to acknowledge how he had wronged me & excused himself on the score of prior claim & deeper love for Isa, I pitied him, but had I been in his shoes I would not have dared to face one I had so traduced, as he me, but would have slunk away cowering with shame & self reproach, & yet he coolly informed me of his having just arrived from Victoria found himself on landing possessed of few pounds Stg. which he soon hoped to make more, by resorting to his old detestable habits of gambling, in two days time he was a beggar having being flushed of every penny he could raise, he left Dunedin & made for the diggins where he arrived after a tramp of four days - fell in with a soft fool on his arrival who took him to his tent & not only fed but clothed him, & who could ill afford to do either - Meston is an old friend of his & I believe is under some compliment to him, but Tom went to see his brother at the "Shotover" the same day he arrived & has not returned. It afforded me some pleasure to have such a *glum revenge, feed & clothe a man who at one time I believe would have shot me like a dog - we try & be friendly to each other in the

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tent, rather awkward, considering there is no third party with us. I told him to day he must exert himself & try & do something, for my money is nearly done & I cant offer to keep him Dight & Ned have been down on the River claims all the week Harry came up to see me last night he is in good spirits, says the River is again falling, he went away down again this afternoon & took Edwards with him, we supplying him with tools & necessaries to enable him to commence digging with, he expressed his gratitude to me along with a lot of claptrap sentiment, felt much easier on his departure — thinking not only of my own release, but of the happy one Isa King must have had in getting rid of such a character.

Tuesday night I went to the Dbtg Society found nearly all the members, & the Chapel nearly filled with visitors, after a prayer had been offered up, the Subject was opened. Riches & Intemparance, made the worst possible cases out, & it was considered all up with poor Poverty. I had thought & well pondered over my subject & was prepared to prove that more sin & sorrow, crime & misery & all their attendant evils could be traced more from poverty, than from Riches. Intemperence I entirely expunged from the debate, considering it as only one of the Evils arising from the other heads & not in itself a fit subject to clash with the other two, this after being made apparent was considered to

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[be] enough not to recognise it, & after being put to the meeting, it was carried that Intemparance should be withdrawn from the debate - after gaining this point it resting entirely with the speakers whose side could excite the greatest amount of sympathy it was no difficult matter - to talk an audience into a horror of poverty & showing all the suffering caused by it - the Debate lasted over 4 hours & being at length put to the meeting, it was carried by a majority of 13 that Poverty was the cause of more Evils than Riches - in spite of the old proverb - that money is the Root of all Evil, giving perhaps I may live to see the subject in a different light, its one subject so subtle in its nature & in which one can never measure its length & depth - that it would require more profound resources & thinkers than met last Tuesday night to arrive at a proper estimate of the Evil arising from this question

Last night I went to the township, being wretchedly cold I went into a New Dancing Hell that has just opened, heavens! what a scene presented itself, a long low narrow ill lighted room, several hundred people trying to Polka & Waltz most of them in big hob nail boots, a Band of three stuck in a corner, a party of Bullies & prostitutes, fighting & swearing in another corner, card sharping & quarreling in another part of the Room, all seemed so like pandemonium that even to me I who has been long accustomed to such sights paused & reflected before being plunged into its vortex. I met one or two I knew & after getting ourselves in a good

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perspiration rushed home to our several tents, this is what we term going out for a warming - & acts as an apology for a fire, a thing rarely seen at a tent except for cooking purposes, a shocking scene was enacted in the place just as I left, two men had been playing cards, one thought he had been cheated, & accused the other of so doing, words came to blows & one gave the other his death blow – & so the world jogs along, one man killing another, envy, malice, passions of the worst sort all in direst array against each other -

[Sunday, 26 April 1863] 27 April 1863
Weather very, very cold & frosty ice on the water every morning, increasing in thickness every day. My week cooking, so have to get out of bed first to prepare breakfast shivering with cold, our blankets quite wet owing to the frost settling upon the tent & over warm breaths thawing it as it forms, my first job on rising is to collect the Boots, (which are frozen as hard as a board) sling them upon a string & hold them over the fire till the frost leaves them, not very pleasent, afterwards, to put them on in this state with tender feet, owing to the chilblains

Meeston returned from "Foxes" on Wednesday & left the next morning for the claim down the river, which he is to assist in shepherding. I received a long letter from my brother Fred yesterday, pretty well at home - I was pleased to find enclosed a note from my sister Bessie who informs me she is living with Mrs. Dewer at Echuca, on the River Murray, & is very happy & very comfortable, speaks very highly of Mrs D. as being such

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such a nice amiable lady - My leasure hours, this week, Ive spent reading, 1 vol. Dickens, All the Year Round – Heathen & Holy Lands By Capt Briggs & am at present engaged with Fullums, Marvels of Science -

Our German Confederation, as our large party is termed by our neighbours, have dissolved into separate parties of four, the work on which all were engaged being finished, we had a great difficulty to get the water to run there being so little fall in the ground through which we have had to cut the Race. I had to go to the upper township, to get a Certificate of Protection for our work, the Commissioner refused to get it until the Mining Surveyor had visited the works & reported upon them - he came on Friday & ascertained all was right that our race didnt interfere with others "rights & interests" so it was granted - Yesterday, my three mates (all Germans, with long unpronouncable names, & myself, commenced a paddock on our ground, which we bottomed & washed some two loads of wash dirt from off the bottom which yield us 1 oz 13 dwts of gold, that will pay us, if the ground will turn out all as good, & it is to be hoped it will, & better, for we can sink 5 paddocks & wash the dirt from them in a week - however, next week we will be able to give it a good trial. Last night Ned, Harry & Tom came up from the River, we spent the night at the township knocking about in all sorts of places, found ourselves at about 1 or this morning at Mrs. Boswells place where we had supper & a jolly bit of reckless fun, which now as I think of it arose from dispairing, desponding spirits on all our parts - for we found on squaring our accounts to day, we havent enough money to keep us in vituals another week - out of all the money made, Ive only £1.0.0. left. The River is falling fast that is some consolation, if it falls as much next week as it has this, my mates say they will be able

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to commence work upon the ground - & I hope to make enough that will keep them sheperding, in case it does not - I spent this afternoon at Tom Meaghers not the most respectable place in the world - my only inducement for going was in hopes of meeting B.Barnett who owes me some £4.5.0. I saw him but I couldnt see a chance of getting any money from him, he being "hard up" & is thinking of going back again to Wetherstones on leaving there - I went to Christys, had tea there & flirted with Jenny Woodhouse - bother the woman I am afraid she is getting "too fond" of me, vanity, & women make such fools of themselves when they let their passion get the better of their reason. Owing to the Inclemency of the weather, our M.I. Society didnt meet last Tuesday. Frank Perrin came as far as the River *levee with me this evening, the punt got snagged, as I was crossing, & left me but one alternative, either to stick to it or swim. I did the latter, with my clothes on me, & before I reached my tent my coat was frozen hard on my back, however I wasnt long in changing, unless I get to the township after tea, I invariably turn into bed & either read or write there - as Im doing at present -

[Sunday, 1 May 1863] May 3rd 1864
Weather bitterly cold & snow on the ground & freezing & having to work, often, up to my knees in water makes me feel it most acutely If any body had told me what I should have had to endure in this colony I would not have believed it possible for human endurance. My German mates & I made £2.15s.0d each for our weeks work. I am very much disappointed for I had expected the ground to be much richer

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if it was summer time I know it would pay us well, but what with frost & snow, which takes us half our time to combat with its impossible to work any ground to advantage - provisions are rising in price, we cannot live on the plainest fare & that of the poorest description under 35/- or £2.0.0 per week, so after my store bill was paid last night I hadnt much left of my weeks earnings to divide with my other mates, who have been shepherding our claims on the “River” all the week, the River showing no signs of going down & our money all being done, they agreed, being a majority, to abandon the claims, which we have kept so long and at such expense, nearly 6 months at an average cost per week of £10.0.0 not taking into account the amount of time we have lost in connection with them - on our meeting on Friday night we looked like a lot of convicts that have just had a sentence passed upon them, for we had all built our hopes upon the River Claims, & now we find ourselves without a Pd Stg between the four of us - badly clothed, & in the depth of winter in one of the [most] inhospitable climes in the world - Its enough to break ones heart – for two pins yesterday morning I would have packed up my swag & gone to Dunedin & trust to providence for my future - but that I felt I should be acting cowardly I would not have hesitated could I have persuaded Ned to go with me, our plans for the future are rather vague. Im to continue with the Germans, Ned is going to try & get a job in some of the claims on Golden point, & is staying at the township to night at Foynes so as to be near the place at 7 am tomorrow morning. Tom Meston & Harry are going to try the Malieban (a tributory of the Manuherikia) about a mile from this. I wrote to my sister Bessie & also to Fred this week. Last night I went down the township, visited all the places of amusement, fell in with Mrs Magher, went home with her, stayd at their place all night & had breakfast with them this morning,

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on leaving their place I crossed the Mka & knocked about the gullies & hills looking for firewood found it hard travelling owing to the snow - got home about 3 pm wet through – with about 50 lbs weight of wood, roots & fibres, which I gathered from between the fissures of the rocks - I went again to the township this evening, as far as Foynes, saw Jennie Woodhouse who rated me terribly about my staying at Maghers all night & never coming to see her - Etc. Etc - I arrived home by about 7.30 & have been in bed ever since -

[Sunday, 24 May 1863] 24th. May 1864 Three weeks since I continued my journal, so I must tax my memory & endeavour to recall to mind in what manner Ive spent the time. I may state we have no lack of the ups & downs, (more downs than ups) that usually fall to the share of those who are in Fortunes black books. I worked one week more with the Germans & only made £1.15.0 each which so disgusted me that I intended to have given it up but fortunately I fell in with a "Cake" named Louis Weller a Frenchman I knew on Bendigo who I sold my share to for £4.0.0. poor devil, he worked one week at it & had £1.0.0 for his share, so poor that his mates wouldnt work the ground any more so Weller was left sole proprietor of the "Works & claim of the "Great German Confederation Co" - he tried to induce others to work it with him but no one cared to do so, & now he has abandoned it, the work of 40 men & nearly two months labour thrown away, such is the uncertainty of gold digging - On my leaving the claim I went down the township & got some employment in a claim there, made £3.10.0 for my weeks work, Ned did the same - we boarded at Foynes which cost us £2.0.0 each, being too

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far to go night & morning to our own tent, we slept in an old abandoned tent of Mr. Browns that was formerly used as a carpenters shop, strange quarters, & used by any stranger who has no other place to sleep in, we were disturbed nearly every night, by some one coming in & making up an impromptu bed in it, sometimes a drunken beastly creature would come rolling in who had been perhaps bundled out of some shanty. I need not not state the place was filthy dirty, what with rats & sleeping on the ground, it was anything but an enviable place to pass night after night in, our evenings we spent visiting, on the cheap, all the places of amusement – dance Rooms frequented by all kinds of characters mostly drawn together for the sake of warmth, heaven only knows, the scenes Ive witnessed in some of these places perfect pandemonium, that would make refined human nature revolt at - drunkeness, prostitution, & the most beastly licentiousness may be seen in its *lewd & most disgusting aspect - I was amused by the Bellmen, who are engaged by the Shanty & Hotel keepers to puff up the respective merits of the houses they represent - crying out in the following manner – Walk up, be in time, step up to the Royal Saloon where is to be found at all times a roaring fire & plenty of hot water - & a host of amateur & professional talent an always on hand to amuse amongst the number the far famed Larry Doolan who will sing Pat from Mullingar & other Irish & Comic – Songs - Etc Etc – the great attraction however is the fire & hot water – Brandy hot being the beverage usually indulged in by the many frequenters of these places - when Im very cold I sometimes indulge in a glass of fiery stuff & I must say with all my temperence ideas I feel none the worse for it, at night all is bright & gay, in

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the morning is the time to see the other side of the picture to see men just crawling out of their tents trying to get on what were wet boots over night but in the morning like cast iron with the frost, & what with chilblains & other evils arising from hard living & want of warmth our sufferings are pretty considerable, its laughable to see the numbers washing themselves at the Rivers edge, in the grey of the morning. Ive seen a great deal of J.Woodhouse lately, we have got to thick, took her out in the evenings several times for a walk to the annoyance of scores of others who are supposed to be madly in love - another scene occured in connection with her the other night I happened to be absent at the time but heard of it from others. The man who calls himself her husband paid her another visit & asked her for money, she gave him £5.0.0 - all she had, on receiving it he told her he was going away, but before he left he would leave her a legacy by which she would remember him, he caught her suddenly by the hair & dragged her out into the street & began to hit & kick her most unmercifully her cries soon brought assistance, & from what Ive heard if ever a mortal got his deserts, he did, after nearly killing him, they threw him into the River & it was only after a deal of trouble the policeman got him out & saved him from being drowned – he told her he swears to settle that tiger who took her part on his last visit, meaning me - he says he knows me & has been on the look out for an opportunity to do me an injury - Im not afraid of any man & such a Curs threat as his, I dont care a rash about - however Ill be on my guard against a surprise Ive been twice, since, I last wrote, to the Debating Society. Last Tuesday evening a member, Mr. *Aton -

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a Blacksmith delivered a Lecture, On "Man as Man" & the object of his Creation, the place was crowded & the lecturer was listened to with the greatest interest, he pointed out mans moral, social & physical constitution his powers of loving hoping & reasoning, his imagination & understanding, his power & will over outward nature Etc his lecture was delivered extempore dividing his subject & treating each in a masterly & graphic manner, occupying about 3 hours & I must say I was never more interested in my life, whether from the fact of knowing the man so well & being proud of his acquaintance I know not, but I know that whoever had heard him must have been surprised at seeing a common working man possessing such an intellect & exercising such an influence over his listeners he is a self taught man & when little over 22 years of years he delivered a lecture in the Mechanics Institute in Birmingham England, Lord Brougham being in the chair at the time, & that great man said at the conclusion of his lecture, he was the brightest example he had ever met, of what force of will could do in developing the intellect through application & close attention to study & observation, he was young at the time & the flattery he received did him more harm than good, he got connected with a bad lot & led a dissipated life so much that his friends & patrons lost confidence in him, his health fled him & he was induced to emigrate to Australia, & soon after his arrival he became alive to his sinful course & through this became a converted sinner, & with conviction the best parts of his character was formed, a true believer a pious Christian he preaches very often in this neighbourhood & I believe has done a deal of good - I feel it is a blessing to be acquainted with such a man, more especially in a place like this where man has no moral restraint but what very light conscience imposes upon him. I really feel my mind has been greatly improved in mixing with such characters – if I had not met with them, I should indeed have been miserable, without Books, without society is to an intelligent mind to be downright wretched -

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The past week Ive spent rambling about the neighbourhood prospecting & visiting acquaintences & hear if there is anything going on new ground, new rushes, or a chance of getting into anything that we might improve our condition pursuing. I spent one day at Robt Finchers he has a share in a share up the River & is doing pretty well, wanted me to stop in his neighbourhood & prospect, offered me food & lodgings to live with him until I struck something - I declined of course couldnt think of deserting my own mates. The next day I went down the Molyneaux (Harry Dight had gone back to our old claims with the idea the water was low enough to work them) to see Harry got within a mile of the claims when I met him coming up loaded with some things that had been left there, he being quite satisfied nothing could be done there - he is very sorry he did not take my advice & let the River claims alone months ago when I informed him of my opinion on the subject we should not now be living from hand to mouth, hardly knowing where the next meal is to come from - our walk home was anything but a pleasent one, the road being a frightfully rough and dangerous one, a false step in some parts would have precipitated us into the River Molyneaux, which ran boiling & seething along at a terrible rate below us -

On Thursday, a large party who have taken up a claim & have procured protection for a race Etc, on the Maliban Creek, offered us two shares in it for £10.0.0, the money not to be paid until the claim is in working order & the gold obtained from it. T.Meston & H.Dight having nothing to do, we thought the best they could do was to get the shares there will be 3 weeks work to do before the ground can be got in working order or expect any returns Ned & I are to try & earn enough to keep us

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all in provisions I hope we shall be able to do so - I am in great hopes about it, & trust we wont be disappointed I received a long letter from mother a few days ago, all well at home, but she complains about being very short of money & having the greatest difficulty to make ends meet I wish to God I could relieve her it affects me more not to be able to do so than all my troubles & disappointments which are nothing in comparison to the anxiety I experience on her account. I havnt anything & cant send any money, & we owe a Storekeeper in our neighbourhood a deal of money – I dont know what the devil we are going to do - I have not read much lately The “History of Hungary” being the only work Ive perused & a newspaper whenever I could get hold of one

[Sunday, 31 May 1863] June 1st 1864
Weather awfully cold & frosty. Spent the week looking for employment at the claims near the township but could not get any, owing to so many having to stop their work through the frost, the Ice carries gold away & the dirt wont part freely in the Boxes - Tom & Harry are working away at the "Grand Junction Co" claim, their race is nearly finished - Ned & I with Stenbeck, a Swede, & Black Jack formed into a party & took up a claim on a piece of ground alongside our old claim that pd us so well when we first came to this place - We intend making a start on Monday. It will take us a few days before we can get the ground into working order, the weather being so against us - I been to the township every day during the past week spending an hour or two at Proctors & other acquaintances, but most of my time at Christies with J.Woodhouse for want of something better to do

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I earned £1 yesterday at Gardiners store, assisting Our Debating Society Meeting was postponed on Tuesday owing to Professor Bushall, an Electro Biologist, being in the township that night & delivering a Lecture. I being a priviledged mortal was admitted free & so I witnessed the entertainment which I must say was very entertaining & instructive, he showed to us the force of electricity & the purposes it could be applied to, tho he admitted it is a science which is only in its infancy but wound up by stating that ere long it will supersede Steam as a motive power, he concluded the evening by putting a number under a mesmeric spell - & causing a deal of amusement by rendering those who succumbed to his influence "laughing stocks". 22 went up to be operated upon, myself among the number, he was successful with four, failing to get over me that time with his arts & sciences. I was nearly getting into a precious mess last night. Id been to tea at Foynes & Jennie & I afterwards went out for a walk unobserved as we thought - we walked along the Manuherikia Banks for about a mile then turned off into the plain, the wind blowing rather cold we made for a lot of rocks where we found a little cave the mouth of which opened onto the plain so that we could see anything or any body that passed, the moon was very clouded sometimes shining very brightly & at others quite darkened, we had been sitting here something like an hour when I thought I discerned a shadow of a man who must be hiding behind a rock. I left Jennie & crawled out very cautiously, managed to get up the rocks without being observed & crept along till I reached the place where the substance of the shadow must have been, looking down I could see a man with a gun in his hand, apparently waiting for us for we must have passed the spot, unless we had gone

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up the rocks as I had done, not an easy thing for a woman to do - I was within 25 yards of him, with nothing to protect myself in case we should meet. I was in agony lest Jennie should get frightened & come out so I thought Id steal up to him & run the chance of a struggle with him, if I could get but another few feet near him I could have jumped upon him from a spur of rock overhanging him & in the surprise he would lose his presence or mind & perhaps drop his gun - all this passed through my mind like a flash & had intended to act upon it, when in stepping from a ledge of rock, a stone rolled away & made a noise causing him to look my way which so alarmed him not expecting anyone being there he slunk away, but not before I picked up a stone & hit him with it. I could hear the "thugh" & he made an exclamation & afterwards took to his heels & I got a glimpse of his face at one time & could swear to him being the fellow who persecutes Jennie. Poor Jenny she was in an awful state, more on my account than her own, she knows his nature so well that she knows he laid wait for me to carry out the threat he made some months ago when I stoped him from beating her - Its a wonder to me how the fellow can be hanging about without being observed, he must have seen us leave Christies & so dogged us, he couldnt have chosen a better time or place if murder was his object, for even if wounded it would have been a simple matter to have carried one to the Molyneaux & dropped me in & no chance of my body ever being found. The fellow I believe is vile enough to commit any crime. Jennie thinks it will be best never to be seen together again. Im sure Im agreeable. I got such a “turn” last night that I wont get over in a hurry. Im not going to live my life for a woman, I like, but could never love or ever have any sincere regard for - that she likes me Im sure - she never seems satisfied unless Im

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near her, & she makes me swear positively on leaving her to come & see her again. Im an awful softhearted kind of a fool especially to women, this is my weakness, & Ive often been told will be my *curse & so I thought last night, but Ive certainly learned a lesson I hope Ill be profited by in future -

[Sunday, 7 June 1863] June 7th 1864
Made a resolution, which I pray God I may never have occasion to break, & that is never to dig, at least for gold again. The weather has been very cold & frosty so much so that we could not do anything at the ground Ned & I took up, the water races all frozen up, Sluice Boxes the same, so that we could not wash our dirt we sluiced one day & only succeeded in obtaining 13 dwts of gold & it took us 4 days to gather that dirt Friday afternoon I was on the Boxes forking, the sides of the Box, being slippery with the coating of ice, my foot slipped & I fell a distance of 14 ft alighting on my left arm causing it to swell terribly & rendering it perfectly useless as if it was broke, I could not sleep for pain last night, so yesterday I made up my mind to leave the diggings & go to Dunedin, so disgusted was I at the ill luck Ive had lately, that I no sooner had made up my mind that I rolled up my swag & was only prevented for starting away at once, by my mates who insisted upon remaining a day or two, & all the money I had was 4/. not much to go 120 miles journey in the depth of winter upon, & my arm in the state it was I fortunately acted upon their advice & went to the the township, where I fell in with a party of Cornishmen who were on the lookout for a

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claim. I induced them to come at look at mine which they did & told my reason for leaving was having hurt my arm & gave them to understand we had done so well in the ground around, which was true but I didnt tell them how poor our piece turned out last week, after some bargaining I sold my share for £6.0.0 & Stenbeck sold his for £5.0.0 Ned & Jack would have sold theirs for 5/- if they had wanted them poor devils they are regularly swindled out of their money unless the ground turns out better than it did with us - with my money I paid all my debts, squared up with my mates & found myself possessed of 18/. Ive a few more debts, but my share in the tools & interest in the G.J.Co. claim, will cover them - I regret very much leaving Ned behind but I couldnt persuade him to join me - he intends to stick to the Diggins until he makes a "rise" I got him to join our Dbtg Sty. & introduced him to all my acquaintances. I trust he will be induced to cultivate his mind, he is very quick & could learn anything if he had only the inclination, he could learn more in a week than I could in a month, the only thing Im afraid of is, his propensity for gambling, he'd play a game of Billiards if it took his last 1s/.d he never appears to be happy unless he is playing - Ive done my best to wean him from such pursuits begged & entreated him to give up waited & watched for him, secret of nights & brought him & persuaded him away from such hells as gambling houses - I trust all my exertions have not been wasted, for I fancy he is losing taste for play, curse gambling I say I hate the word & all connected with it.

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My mates are very sorry Im leaving them they are fine fellows & would willingly give me their last shilling. I hope they will be fortunate when Ive left them. Ive no doubt of it, when their Jonah has left them, for I am one. I went down the township last night bade adieu to all my friends & acquaintances Bloxham, Proctor, Aton, Cameron, Foyne & Peel who I shall always remember with regard I feel sorry at leaving friends like these, & again there are others that I am right down glad of parting with conscious that [this] reflects little credit to me. Jenny & I took a short strool together she was in an awful state about my leaving she clung to me & embraced me in such an ardent affectionate manner declaring I was the only being on earth she lived for Etc, making me downright miserable at the melancholy state she was in I was in a predicament she wanted me to take her to Dunedin, she offered me money enough to pay our fares down in the "Conveyance". I shrank from the base idea of becoming so connected & I confess I proceeded to my shame to do more than I ever meant to execute in order to pacify her, Im sorry I ever became connected with her. I was attracted towards her from compassion in the first place & gradually our acquaintance ripened into friends[hip] & we became very intimate, perhaps nothing tendered so much, as the partiality she always displayed toward her me in preference to the many admirers she had, & there is nothing

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a man falls : : : : : : : : : : : : by which he falls from
that tends to lower the dignity of a man & fall from
his height than to have his vanity flattered by a woman. This woman loves me would *work *and do any thing for me & I only pity her. Poor Jennie, I do pity you yours has been a hard chequered life with few rays of sunshine to light your dreary path. Would that I could do something for you, anything & everything I would do but what you want, love, impossible, its a passion I never knew, in all its intensity & warmth such as I could or feel Im capable of doing. Isa king is the only being I ever felt my soul was in connection with. Ive laughed many times at the feeling & emotions I experienced whilst in her "thraldom" - where are all the hopes & fears the restless nights and wretched days, the jealousies & heartburnings, Etc. all passed, & my heart as free & as careless as if I never knew of the existence of such a passion What a mine of affection one thrusts from himself through circumstances. Jennie loves with an intensity unequalled, a gem cast on the earth with a coat of dirt, passed by unheeded, uncared for, & for ever lost, here I have found it & would throw it further from me, a time may come when I would sacrifice life itself to be loved by some other being as this woman loves me What a strange thing the human heart is I left her very sorrowful promising to write to her occasionally from Dunedin, she entreated me to take a few pounds from her. I shrank from her money as from an adder, she was very much hurt she may want it herself soon - & so we parted what will become of her, poor shipwrecked girl

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I spent this morning mending my few rags, or my mates did it for me, my arm being, I am afraid broken & I am now ready to start in the morning Stenbeck is going also so we shall be company for each other. And here I am after 11½ years "gold digging". O, cursed occupation & pursuit, putting up with hardships & sufferings such as none can have an idea of, unless they had experienced a similar life, at the age of 24, broken in health & spirits, with impaired sight from exposure, nothing but rags to my back & only a few shillings in my pockets, uneducated unfit for any other occupation but what I have been accustomed to, abandoning an occupation that has had for its object "a shadow" know no trade, have acquired no business habits – I feel rather castdown in looking toward the future, but not disheartened. I fancy I shall have many a hard struggle, many a hard task to learn ere I can work myself into the kind of position I should like to get into, but whatever course, Ill never dig again except from the direst necessity

The thoughts of my mother & her pecuniary unmans me somewhat for while digging I could generally send a little now & again to assist her in keeping a house together heaven only knows what she will do, however I hope the step Im taking will be for our mutual benefit I feel it will, although all is uncertainty before me, if I had

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devoted as much perseverence to some other more legitimate occupation than what Ive done I know I should be in a very different position to what Im in at present. Im getting tired of writing but from this time forth I hope to write about something different than hitherto, but before concluding I must certainly sketch my present abode our tent is 12 ft long by 10 ft broad & in the centre is only high enough to stand upright in. Made of grey calico - this place serves for 5 men to live & sleep in, winter or summer, our sitting & dining room by day & bed chamber for night, a lot of dry grass strewn on the ground serves us for our bed (Ive seen a horse have many a better one), our cooking utensils & in fact all our furniture consists of a Frying Pan a large "Billy" & one spoon - a pannikin & knife each - each man has his own blankets in which he wraps him- -self up in at night without any regard to any one else for my part mine is not sufficient to keep me warm these cold nights so I have to put on all the clothes I have, previous to "turning in" & in the morning reverse the usual order of things, by undressing myself I hope to God I may never have to live in such a place & in such a manner again - Im afraid I will not start in the morning. Stenbeck called just now, & says if Ill wait till Tuesday he will go to town & be company for each other he is well known in Dunedin & may be of service to me so I think Ill wait though I dont much like him, he is a very self-important fellow, a Swede by birth, an acquaintance of Chas.Melander through whom I became acquainted with him, now for Bed my arm is paining me severely.

112 Miles to Dunedin

June 14th 1863
In Dunedin (living with Chas. Malander at the Public Baths, Charlie being the proprietor,) where I arrived after a long walk of 112 miles, having taken

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four days to accomplish it. I will endeavour to relate the various events of the last week. Last monday being wet, & Stenbeck not being ready, we did not leave our tent till 10 Am Tuesday, it was a lovely morning but very cold owing to a severe frost setting in however we trudged along at a good pace, carrying our swags, which weighed about 40 lbs each, our road for several miles lay along the Banks of the Manuherikia some 5 miles until reaching Lowes Station, where our road turned to the right - (or I should say to the East) our troubles then commenced, in the walking line - the road being over what is called the Rough Ridges, a chain of rough abrupt hills very stony & difficult to travel over, no scenery of any consequence to vary the monotony of our dreary tiresome walk until crossing this range which is some 10 miles across, where we entered upon a large Flat some l½ miles broad, on crossing brought us to McPhersons Station, here we determined to camp & boiled our "Billy" made some tea & having some Bread & Meat with us we made a hearty dinner, we thought we had enough food to last us 2 days, but if our appetites had been always as it at that meal, Im afraid we should have been very hungry the end of the time. Some waggons camped along side of us, empty, bound for town. I entered into conversation with the drivers discovered them to be the men we had bought our horse "Nobby" from, these waggons make a great deal of money when the roads are good but being the reverse of that this time of year. I couldnt get the soft side of them by prevailing upon them to give me a ride in their waggons to town after some barganing we at length came to terms, for them to carry our swags & allow us to sleep under their waggon at night - for 15/. each, very cheap, but under the circumstances, it left me with but 3/. to live upon. I didnt care, for I could not have carried my swag any further for I discovered what I had suspected to be true, my arm was broken, before leaving the diggins I went to

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a Chemist & he said it was only a sprain, stupid donkey, to resume my journey, we agreed to the terms, & started away on our journey, being moonlight & the ground frozen hard we got a long distance by the time we camped for the night – which we did at a place called "Drunken Womens Creek" the cold was intense & we had hard work to keep our blood in circulation by walking fast, alongside of the waggon, it was now we felt, the advantage of the waggon for if we had not joined it we should have been in a wretched plight, not having a tent with us, & the ground being covered with snow, & not a stick of wood to be seen the whole days journey except a Bundle the drivers had in the waggon, only used sparingly to Boil the "Billy" for Tea. The waggon was drawn up by some rocks for shelter from the wind, which cut through one like a knife. We shovelled away the snow & lit a fire, & after drinking a pannikin of hot tea, we felt considerably comfortable & prepared our bed under the waggon - not being room inside there being the driver & some four more passengers who were paying 30/- each for the priveledge. I shall never forget the misery of that night it came on to snow & what [with] the cold & the snow thawing & running under us & the pain of my broken arm constant rendered it the most miserable night I ever experienced – glad I was when morning broke & sun arose - what a scene presented itself, hills & vallies covered feet thick with snow, the poor horses had not stirred away from the waggon the road could hardly be discerned, & to make things worse we could not light a fire, not having a stick of wood & none to be obtained for 20 miles distance. We started on our journey about 9 am - & it was long ere I could get warm by walking, the road over which we travelled that second day was far worse than the day before - in fact, indescribable, up hill & down hill crossing frozen creeks on the Ice, many places, deep ravines & gorges, the road winding about hill sides in a frightful manner, narrow roads, with precipice on one side which had the horses shied or slipped would have been their death & the waggons distruction, the roads here & there in some of the worst places have been made passable & barely so, by the Government, but it will be long ere

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there will be a good road in these parts, no land or any- -thing to induce people ever to settle down in the neighbourhood I believe there is a Station (Valpys) about there but I did not see it from the road about every few miles on the road side is to be found what is termed an accommodation tent where is to be obtained food, by paying dearly for it, but all sell & forms their chief trade drink, or vile spirits for which they charge 1/. a nobler, it was 10 pm when we got over this rough part of our journey & reached a little Public House called the Halfway Hotel, here we found the country much more open & had distant views of snow clad mountains & extensive moors & plains, bearing the usual, Otago peculiarity woodless I was greatly knocked up & worn out on reaching this place although through the kindness of the driver, I had ridden several miles in the waggon. Poor Stenbeck was done up & on reaching the Camping place sat down & got so numbed & was so tired it was with the greatest difficulty I could rouse him from his deathlike stupor. I got him a nobler of Bdy which I am sure saved his life & got him into the waggon & wrapped him in his blankets. On turning out the horses we tried to light a fire which after an hours time we got to burn & made some tea, after partaking of some, I felt much refreshed - it was frightfully cold freezing hard, snow & ice all around, not a blade of grass to be seen. I got some empty corn sacks out of the waggon to sleep upon & by blankets being dry I felt pretty comfortable under the waggon & slept pretty soundly til about 3 am next morning, when I awoke the cold being so acute I turned & tossed & gazed out on the scene around through the spokes of the wheels, & thought of Sir John Franklin & other Arctic Explorers & thought over what they must have endured in colder regions than these - & tried to draw comparisons, by thinking how comfortable I ought to feel & trying to make light work of my sufferings - all to no purpose.

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I could not feel warm enough to sleep & getting afraid I should get frost bitten, I arose, being moonlight I could see for miles around, so I wrapped my blankets round me & wandered forth, not seeing the horses near the waggon, I went in search of them wandered about till daylight & was returning back, making sure the horses were lost or had gone on their way to Dunedin lured by the remembrance of the warm stable there – with out taking into consideration the position their masters might be left in - I got into the road & found their tracks in the snow, after walking about 1½ miles I found them sheltered under the lee of a rock. I wasnt long in heading them back & received the thanks of their owners, who had also been on the lookout for them. The sun rose bright & beautiful & with its genial influence dispelling the many morbid ideas Id entertained the previous hours a great number of Drays & Waggons were camped at this place about a mile distant, saw the Mail start from the Hotel (a 4 roomed board & canvas building) this conveyance makes the journey from Dunedin to the Dunstan in two days, changing horses every 10 miles, it only conveys the mail & some half frozen passengers, the fare I believe is £6.6.0. (I forgot to state that the day before, while camped at McPhersons, an old Scotch shepherd, set my arm in splints made from the boards of a gin case. I had bound it pretty tight ever since it was broke & had been very careful with it & the bones had commenced to knit & I believe now is getting quite strong, the cold weather I experienced being in my favour) We yoked up the horses & started again about 9. Am after eating a cold breakfast without tea or coffee through not having any firewood, (my fellow passengers were very kind to me, made me share with them in their vituals, if they hadnt I should have starved, for money I had none, 3/. being the price of a 3 lbs loaf of Bread & 1/6 per lb for meat at the accommodation Stores on the road-) our journey

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the third day was much more pleasent than the two previous ones, the road for several miles on leaving our camp having a downward tendency began to see more grass & less snow, untill at length we could only see it in the distance or in small patches the climate being much warmer as we drew nearer to the sea coast, about 11 am we had a narrow escape we came to a deep gully with most abrupt sides at the foot of which runs a swift creek, running amongst rocks & forming little cascades, giving the place a most romantic appearance the name of the spot is the "Rock & Pillar" from the peculiar shape of some rocks in the neighbourhood We descended into this place by a road cut out of the hill side very narrow with a steep precipice on the off side. We were all in the waggon, when something got wrong with the "Break" & one of the horses shiing at the same time, they all started off at a terrific pace, but was brought up at last by a turn in the road & it was only by a miracle the waggon was stopped from going over, by one of the near side wheels coming off, throwing the vehicle on its side nearest the Bank, it did not detain us more than half a hour & were not long in getting out of this exceedingly romantic spot, a few more miles travelling over a tolerable level moor, brought us to a River called (I think) the Waipori, here we found a little township consisting of a couple of public houses a Butchers & a Bakers, a Blacksmith shop & some dozen other places - about a mile from the Township there is a large squatting station (Campbell Thompsons) where I heard Tom Downs was working at. We camped here some 2 hours, so having time, I paid him a visit he was exceedingly glad to see me, & on parting he insisted upon me receiving some money from him, which I accepted not much, but enough to last me a week or fortnight with economy, he also told me if I should

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run short in Dunedin to call at a friends of his whom he would write to & request him to furnish me with whatever I should require, he has been making about a £1 aday for several months, working at his trade (carpenter) at this place & has a good sum of money, now lodged in the Bank - One never knows who are his friends unless he meets them in adversity. I always knew knew Tom for a goodnatured fellow - although I never thought of putting his good nature to the test, he has greatly improved in his appearance since I last saw him, when he was on board ship. I used to do whatever I could for him & he admitted he was glad to find me "hardup" so that he could return the compliment, I cant say I sympathise with, after an affectionate farewell I returned to the waggon found all prepared for a start. (Tom informed me his father Capt. Downs, has turned out very bad, committed some felony in Dunedin & had to make a "Bolt". I believe he is now in Queensland, tho’ he visited Melbourne first, & landed just in time to see his wife breathe her last, he ill- -used his children so badly that the eldest left home & I heard is now on the streets there, sold up everything & left his family to their fate. I dont think Tom knows of these things although he admitted he has sent a deal of money there to support his young brothers & sisters I was very sorry for Toms sake to hear of these things). We travelled on again till 8 Pm over a somewhat level country (for Otago) resembling some parts of Victoria where the ground is "Bog holey", but without that colonys fair forests. We reached a deep dismal dell of a place called Lees Creek where the Waipori Road branches off from the Dunstan Road,- found a little Public House here & all of us partook of a stiff nip of Bdy that did us a deal of good, we ascended the hill, the town side of the Creek at the top of which we camped & here for the first time for many months, I saw Trees growing, what little there is about the Dunstan is dry

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rotten stuff resembling withered "Tea Tree Scrub"- & looking as if it [had] been scorched many years ago, for the distance of 100 miles that we had travelled I never saw a stick growing that would make a penholder - the country to this point bearing one uniform character, barren & desolate & ever will be, the ground being too hilly & rocky for cultivation & too cold & bleak for pastoral purposes except in summer time, about a dozen more Teams were camped near us & here I spent my pleasentest night since leaving the Dunstan, the climate being much warmer & having plenty of firewood, & we had a fire such as Ive not seen since leaving Victoria We made plenty tea & had plenty to eat & had a good wash a luxurious Id not enjoyed for some days, slept, sound, did not wake till 8 am next morning & on rising found passengers & carters all absent looking for the horses, all returned with blank faces. I started away & knowing the tracks I soon came upon them bound for Dunedin. I walked on thinking of overtaking them, when I met the Mail the driver informed me he had passed a lot of horses some 5 miles ahead enroute for town I returned to Camp, found that they had caught of their 8 horses, 2, these had not strayd but preferred, coming according to habit, for their morning allowance of corn, the road being down hill for some miles the drivers yoked up one horse in each waggon, presenting a curiously odd appearance however, we rattled along & by 12 am reached the Taieri Plains (Taireie) where we found all the horses looking very wistfully at a stack of hay in a farm yard, over a fence, we caught the beasts & after giving them their accustomed feed for which they appeared to be very grateful

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for, they were yoked up & soon were trotting over the plains in grand style - from Lees Creek to town is 20 miles & after ascending the mountains, we had about 10 miles of level road running between fine farms being on each side & what to appeared nice comfortable homesteads, how I thought of the happiness there must be & the comfort - in these places - when comparing the kind of places Ive lived in lately - These Taireai Plains are about 3 miles broad & run from within about 10 miles of Dunedin to the Molyneaux River about 50 miles in length - the Waihola Lake being about the centre this tract of Land is all taken up & mostly under cultivation being the only portion of Otago that I can hear of being of any use to settlers the proprietors are mostly Freeholders, being Scotch & Irish but by far the larger majority being the former they are a peculiar people & look with the greatest suspicion upon Victorians in particular & Australians in general, quite a sudden contrast after descending the hills & coming upon such a place - everything looks so happy & cheerful & the climate of the vally is so much warmer than what Ive experienced all tended to make me more cheerful & happy & fancy I was getting to a civilized community once more on crossing the plain we had again to get up into the high places, by ascending a very steep abrupt hill on reaching its summit we had a grand view of the surrounding country, our road was easy from this point, along the tops of high lands, but good soil & a great deal under cultivation with here & there some good substantial built houses, it was night when we began to descend the hills into the town of Dunedin which lies at the foot of the range which encircles the coast, the town presented a

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a pleasent & novel appearance to me, the hum of voices the rattle of the vehicles, the lights & animation that were apparent, all of which affected me considerably. Within the suburbs we parted from the Carriers & our fellow passengers, fine fellows they are - with good wishes & regards from all – shouldered our swags & after traversing some streets, none of the cleanest by the bye, found ourselves at before a long low building, lighted in front with lamps bearing the inscription Dunedin Public Baths, we walked right in & soon met my old friend C.Malander, who made us both extremely welcome & very sorry to hear of our continued run of ill luck, we sat down to a good tea, after which he insisted upon us accompanying him to the Theatre which we did though one act of the play was over when we got there, saw my old juvenile favourites The Marsh Troupe performing in the "Sea of Ice" what a strange sensation I experienced, on again walking crowded streets & looking into shop windows Etc - I felt like some being that had been shipwrecked for years among a lot of savages & then been suddenly transported in sleep & then dropt into the busy haunts of civilized man - Dunedin is very much improved in size & importance since I was last in it, hills have been levelled, new streets formed Public Buildings, fine shops & houses Etc going up in every direction. I observed there are a great number of diggers knocking about

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town waiting for new rushes to break out & many who have the means spending the severest part of the winter in ease & comfort. Im sorry to see or hear of very few like these, for most of them are "hardup" & living a regular hand to mouth kind of existance, getting a days work now and again. There is a deal of work going on here but there are too many looking for it, the labour market is overstocked. On Saturday, I took a walk about town to have a look at things Called to see Mrs. Greenwood, an old lady who owns a few houses & with their rent & what her husband earns who is a carpenter is very well off. Harry Dight knew them many years ago in Melbourne & when he lived in town used to board with them. Harry told me to call, which I did I felt at home immediately, with them - they knew all about me. Harry must have been very lavish of his praises, for if I had been their son, they could not have made more of me - Mrs. G. is the most motherly goodnatured easy comfortable middle aged woman I ever met, the neatest cleanest & the most orderly of housekeepers & a thorough good Samaritan, she knew I was coming to town & knew I had left a coat & vest in Harrys box which said garments she had got out, mended & brushed she also gave me a couple of shirts, some collars of Harrys & a necktie or two, found me a a decent pair of trousers which she had washed & gave me, such kindness I never experienced, my heart was in my mouth. I felt she had no right to be kind to me & was cross I do believe, but the only way my passion could have vented itself would have been in tears, it was with difficulty I could

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could thank her for emotion, she said if I wanted anything not to be ashamed to ask her for it. I told her how I was situated & showed her my arm she put some clean bandages upon it, & examined it & declared my fracture as being already well (rather an extraordinary cure to take place in 8 days, of course I had my own opinion about it) on leaving them I felt ten times better & even cheerful, such kindness as this Ive never met with before, it reconciles one to a selfish world meeting such characters, she invited me to dinner on Sunday, an invitation I accepted dressing myself in my new clothes, I purchased a new hat & a cheap pair of Boots, & friends Id met the day before did not know me when I presented myself to dinner. Id had my hair cut & indulged in a bath, & was considerably altered, so much so they immediately pronounced me a gentleman & I often had to talk roughly & assume a vulgarity to make them comfortable. I spent the afternoon with them walked about the hills & looked over their garden Etc, till tea when after partaking of it, a gentleman named Oliver (a merchant in this town & formerly of Melbourne), a tenant of Mr G. called in & after conversing for awhile asked Mr G. if he knew of a man who could excavate a piece of ground at the back of his house & build a room for him, the job would only be short, & thinking I could do it if my arm was a little better, I immediately induced Mr G. to recommend me, which he did Mr. 0. seemed rather surprised at me

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thinking from my appearance I was not able for the work, however, he told me I might commence in the morning. Ive got a few shillings left enough to purchase a Pick & Shovel with & I can live at Malanders for a few days longer without wearing my welcome out. I felt quite happy at having something to do. Im terribly sensitive about becoming a burden to anyone - I would take to roads again than be so - Ive met several old Victorian friends & acquaintances, some appeared glad to see me, while others knowing I was hard up seemed to avoid me as if I wanted to borrow or beg something from them - Thank God Ive a spirit above a "Loafers". I called on A.Smith he is managing a large Chemists business here his master having gone to England. Andrew gets a very handsome salary, on his discovering I was not a "lucky digger" it struck me that he was rather cool & distant in his manner – this sort of thing annoys me, if people one has learnt to like would not change in their manner because of reverses of fortune it would be far better, for I have noticed, that when a man requires assistance, if he has any spirit, he rarely seeks it from the hands of those whom he might expect it from, however, it is gratifying to find there are some people in whatever circum- -stances they meet in, whether in affluence or the reverse are still the same -

June 21st.1863
Most horrible dirty weather such as is only to be found in Dunedin - when during the winter months

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its always raining, the soil being sticky clay & the streets not properly made, the roads & streets are in an awful state - the ladies go about these when necessity compels to go abroad, in short dresses to their knees with Wellington boots on their feet its a common thing to see them, & often seen, stuck fast & have to leave their boots fast in the mud - Monday was so wet I could not commence my job. I purchased some tools & made a start on Tuesday, but what with wet I only could make four days work during the week 8/. per day, 32/. my job is not finished. - The place Im working at is situated on the hills that surround the Town & looks down upon it, to build a house a place or terrace has to be cut out of the side of the hill. Im doing an excavation to make room for the erection of other apartments to Olivers house, which I am to build Mr. Greenwood having lent me the necessary tools Ive finished the excavation, the hardest part of my labour. Stenbeck & I are still living with Malander our evenings we spend partly in doors singing reading & cardplaying, (a number of Swedes meet here & pleasent folks they are, they sing some beautiful constructed pieces of their national music very well, some of which I admire better then much Italian music I heard) We knock about the town a great deal, & I often meet many I know but as a rule fail to recognise them, for Im generally dressed so shabby with scarcely a decent rag upon me, that I dont wish people to write to Victoria & state they had seen Mr. W. walking about Dunedin ragged & hard up Its a paltry kind of pride & I must admit Im ashamed of having such weaknesses. Friday night I was passing

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the Club Hotel when who should I meet face to face & before I could avoid him R.Parker who I had known on Tuepeka & Manuherikia the latter place he had the richest claim there on Golden Point, he told me he had been married that day & had invited a large party to meet that evening at the Club, & he insisted upon me going in. I declined making as my excuse my toilet & costume an old pair of moleskin trousers with an immense patch on the knee a thick pr of Boots on & an old Pea Jacket he would not take no for an answer, & I only got from him on condition I should go home & change my clothes & return - I had no idea of doing so, but on telling Malander, he insisted upon me donning a handsome suit of "Black" belonging to him, which I did I felt rather strange & awkward in my new clothes but soon became accustomed to them, on entering the Room where the company was assembled, I found every one were strangers to each other & things looked uncommonly quiet & miserable Parker & I tried to infuse a little life in the party passed the wine about which had the effect of loosening the young ladies tongues and after some persuasion I induced a young lady to play a set of Quadrilles & with a little flattery upon her playing which she could swallow in wholesale doses, was induced to preside nearly the whole of the evening at the instrument everybody soon got sociable & of well disposed towards each other [a] few got fast & furious & all rose to depart to their respective homes with regret about 4 am next morning. I got regularly sold, as follows - I had been introduced to a very beautiful girl, as I thought by the name of Miss Tuckwell. I paid her a deal of attention, sang several songs for her & danced very often with and altogether doing a tall amount of flirting to which she didnt seem at all indisposed to discountenance, until our leaving taking when I insisted upon seeing her home - a Buggy having come

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for her. I led her out but at the door was met by a gentleman who I thought was rather familiar with her, judge my astonishment on her introducing me to him as her husband, who is Superintendant of the Detective force of the colony - I roared with laughter at the mistake Id made all the evening in mistaking a Mrs. for a Miss – however it didnt affect me much, for taken altogether it was the pleasentest night Id spent for many a long day This morning I went to Church, on coming out I met Mrs Greenwood who invited me home to her house to dinner after which I left & was walking about Princess St when I met an old diggins friend R.Hill, he left the Dunstan a few weeks before I did & is working in town. I went to his house & was introduced to his wife, mother, & sister & other members of his family, all very jolly people in rather humble circumstances, but good natured & proved very friendly to me I staid tea with them & afterwards went to Chapel with Miss Hill & Dick & his wife, on coming out we took a long walk Miss H is a laughing very pretty girl about 18 -

28 June 1863
Another dirty disagreeable wet week, nothing but dark clouds overhead & soft puddles & mud underfeet only made £2.0.0 for my weeks work I have tried hard to get into some regular employment, advertisements of all kinds Ive answered, storeman- clerk, caster, supercargos purser, but to no purpose as yet, however I dont despair I can scarcely hope to be more fortunate than others - & I think I have much to be thankful for so far since I left the diggins. My arm is still very weak, being compelled to work while it was knitting being the cause

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I left C Malander to day, it was presuming too much on his kindness to remain longer more especially as I am now earning a little money, & getting a few decent clothes to my back I have taken up my quarters in a Scotch family named Murdoch. Their house is built like most others in Dunedin in a nice Elizabethan style two large rooms on the ground floor with a large attic above, access being gained by a steep ladder from the first room - this house like many more this time of year is surrounded by a sea of mud of sludge Murdoch is a watchmaker & lapidary by trade but on his arrival in this colony finding no opening for his trade he invested his capital in a couple of horses & drays, he can hardly make a living with them owing to the bad roads & the high price of horse feed & so he is compelled to let his attic, it contains 2 other lodgers besides myself who pay 6/. aweek for sleeping, each providing his own food which Mrs. M cooks for us, there is [a] cupboard with three shelves in it each lodger having his own appropriated for his food & crockery - I went to a Grocers near by in George St to buy my things for next week, the person who kept it, is Thomas Field who I have known for years, having lived next tent to me on Bendigo for years, when he was very poor & was often under compliment to me - he was surprised to see me & invited me into his back parlour where I met Mrs. F. & the little ones - everything about the place bespoke success & easy circumstances, he told me he sold out of his business just after I left California Gully & came over here opened a little grocers shop & met with the most

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astonishing success, he soon got his place enlarged as his business increased & now he has a fine shop with a stock of goods worth £1000 & is doing an excellent trade he inquired into my circumstances & he promised to exert himself to get me into a billet, he would have given me one if I had known anything about the business & so we parted. I dined in a Restaurant to day in the arcade & who should I meet in the place loafing about but my old mate Bill Hobson poor devil the money he made on Foxes he returned to Victoria with spent it in a short time had to borrow money to bring him back landed here without a penny in the middle of a severe winter since that time he has been loafing & sponging about town for a bare existence, eaten up too much with disease for hard work & not well enough educated for anything else, he was in a truly pitiable state, he commenced to tell me of the sprees & the manner he had spent his money & looked upon his present position as quite a matter of course kind of thing & spoke happily of the future happy fellow to possess such a disposition.

I wrote at the beginning of the week several letters, one to my brother Ned, & to Proctor – Foyne - & Mr. Halley also a short note to Jennie & one to my couzin Liz on Bendigo This evening I went to Chapel met the Hills & spent an hour or so with them afterwards -

- July 5th.1863 -
Weather tolerably fine for Dunedin - Worked very hard, built two small rooms at Olivers, finished my work on Thursday, made £2 for my four days work. Friday I spent looking for work in company with John Aitkin, we put in two tenders for

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contracts I hoped we should have got one of them - one was for an immense excavation & the other to rise a lot of houses to the level of a street near which they are situated, they having been built before the street was formed, we were disappointed, the one for the excavation was the lowest tender - & not being known it wasnt accepted. I answered an advertisement for a grocers assistant, & I think I could have got it but I didnt like the mans manner or his terms. I referred him to A.Smith, having been to him previously & threatened to punch his head if he didnt give me a good character, which he did & so spared me the necessity of putting my threat into execution Mr. Field recommended me to a Mr Watson a printer who wanted a Collector or Canvasser, had an interview with him liked each other & came to terms, he is to give me 5% on all work I obtain & 2½ % on all work that comes into the office with my board & lodging. I accepted the offer immediately thinking it a good thing for me if only for the sake of a home. I packed up my things & left Murdochs last night & took up my quarters here - find everything very comfortable so far Mr. & Mrs. W. are rather eccentric folks & are very religious. Mrs. W & I are very good friends she has been very confidential, told me the strangest tale ever I listened to in connection with her meeting with Watson - Etc. as follows - she was born & brought up in London & knew Mr. W. relations who were always talking about him, tho’ absent at the time in N.Z. she heard what a good man he was, & having made a vow she would never marry a man who had ever any connection with a woman - she cried "Eureka" & unknown

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to her friends & relatives she left home in search of this wonderful man (who by the by is a very plain ordinary looking mortal) first landed in Melbourne with no money took a situation in a confectioners shop there - saved money (amid many severe temptations which she bored me with a recital of their details) and started for N.Z. visited several ports & was a long time before she discovered him, found him at last an Editor of a Newspaper at ChristChurch (I think) made herself known to him & the object of her leaving home Etc & threw herself upon his protection after *ascerting that he still had the desired charms to her mind the poor man became her husband shortly afterwards & he informs me he has had no cause to regret the step. I met the Greenwoods yesterday they were very cross because Id not been to see them during the week, they still told me, If I wanted a home anytime I could always find one at their house - I received a short note from my brother Ned, during the week, he informs me they have got the works on the Mobiban finished & hope to begin next week. They have got good prospects out of the ground & hope to make £6 per week out of the claim, he states Harry is very unwell & not able to work. I hope he will soon recover for its a hard lot to be ill on the diggins, no attendance, no comforts nothing to have for money supposing he has any - Ned writes very hopefully & sympathises with me in falling in with something

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to do. I received two long letters from Jenny that rather astonished me by their fervour too sentimental, that to one not knowing her would be considered the essence of all thats ridiculous, she says her heart is breaking since I left, day & night she has no rest thinking of me - she is thinking of coming to Dunedin shortly. If she does I shall leave this place - at times I fancy I should like her to be down & have thought or been tempted to send for her, but fortunately have thought better of it. Poor Jennie she bothers me considerably. It is not in my nature to be cruel or unkind to any one, but there are so many considerations at stake. Pleasure & inclination whisper, encourage her, enjoy her, interest, however, & the best attributes of my nature, hold out strongly against such a course - & prompt me to keep her at a distance. I wrote to her to day, a very cool note, but so delicately worded as not to cause her pain & yet strongly protesting against encouraging a passion which can only bring misery upon us both -

I received a long letter from Fred, & one from my sister Bessie she is still living with Mrs. Dewer at Echuca, she informs me if I would return home Mr Dewer would perhaps find me a situation in his store if I had the passage money I would return there - Freds letter gave me the "Blues" he gives me a doleful account of home, Mother having hard work to make ends meet nothing makes me feel more wretched than not being in a position to assist her

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pecuniary since Fred is sick of Melbourne & wishes to leave it, if he had had as much knocking about as his brothers he would be more satisfied.

This morning Mrs. W. & I went to the Presbyterian Church heard rather a prosy kind of sermon which had a narcotic influence upon me, found it raining heavily on coming out got wet through before we got home. We had a job coming home wading through the mud at the top of MacLaggan St. where Im living, it cleared up in the afternoon, so I went to see the Campbells, Jim C. & J.Nevin are in partnership, have a large Blacksmith Shop & Build Casks & Carriages Etc, they made me very welcome & insisted upon me not making myself a stranger & let by gones be bye gones. I was rather amused at the contrast of our last un- -pleasent meeting, on which occasion nearly four years ago, I was nearly murdered by him & others of his family on Bendigo. Friday night I went to the Theatre, saw the Marsh Troupe perform. I have spent a deal of time at the Hills they are very jolly people I have had to use spectacles since I came to Dunedin, my sight is so impaired that I am afraid unless it improves, I shall never be able to do anything that will require too close application. I cannot read or write after dark for more than an hour or so & even then my sight begins to get dim & clouded -

July 12th 1863
Weather, as usual in Dunedin this time of the year wet, dirty & miserable. Commenced

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upon my new duties most assiduously on Monday morning carrying with me a portfolio containing samples of the work we can produce at our office Bill Heads, Costers Books, Forms & Placards of every description. I think Ive been in & out every place of business from the smallest shop to the largest establishment in the town, found every thing thing in the way of business very dull nothing but complaints, all this making me rather despondent, for I worked hard & talked hard pushed & did my best, & only succeeded in getting very few orders the per- centage of which gave me £1.0.0 however Mr W. seemed very well satisfied with me – if he was, I wasnt, the fact is Dunedin is too small a place to make printing pay there are so many here - & the larger places of business send to Melbourne for their printing, I intend trying to combine something else with my present duties. My leisure hours I spent reading Mr. W. has a very good Library & I find him like most of his profession very intelligent & well read. Mrs. W & I are very good friends, she bores me very much with her twaddle, an infliction I submit to with a deal of impatience at times, she has a delightful little couzin who often comes & spends an evening with, one of the prettiest girls I ever met with but a devil of a tongue & temper of her own - but yet, something very plain & straightforward about her, which makes her rather charming, it generally falls to my lot to see her home, no joke on a winters night climbing up the hills

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hills which encircle Dunedin. This morning I went to the Wesley Church just off Princes St heard a very good sermon, preached by a Mr Harding, after the service, I met Mrs. Greenwood went home with her, to dinner, found a great Surprise awaiting me. Harry Dight had come down from the diggins the night before. Ned had informed me he was ill & so he had been, but the thought of becoming helpless on the diggins so frightened him that he roused up & started for town with only a few shillings in his pockets, he called on Tom Downs on his way, having business here, accompanied him down. I found them very comfortably smoking in Mrs G parlor quite at home - We were very glad to see each other, he informed me that the Claim Ned & he were engaged at on the Moliban Creek was a "Duffer" before he left there they had worked a week in the claim washed a great quantity of dirt & only got a few dwts of gold I was very sorry to hear of it, for Ned had such high hopes of making a "rise" he will be greatly cast down - after all the labour & expense they had been it renders its failure all the more disheartening. On finishing dinner we three took a ramble about town visited several acquaintances, had tea in the Excelsior Cafe & then parted for the night

A terrible accident happened in the Bay eight days ago, an Emigrant ship

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had arrived at Port Chalmers, some of the passengers (among whom was the Master of the College who had been sent out to fill the office, with his family), immediately the anchor was dropped, got into a small steamer that plied between the Port & Dunedin, they had proceeded but a mile or two & coming on dark, the helmsman didnt notice another Boat bearing down upon them – until they came in collision when the boat with the passengers sank immediately twelve bodies went down never to rise again, alive, they were recovered some days afterwards, the funeral a public one, was held on Wednesday, the sympathy was universal every shop & place of business in town being closed. I went to the Church in the Octogon, where the bodies were brought in one at a time & the burial service read over them I never witnessed, & hope never to do so again, such an impressive & solemn ceremony. The Organ playing the Dead March as the bodies were carried in & out, the Church & its approaches was crowded with people & amongst that vast assemblage of thousands not a dry eye could be seen - The Head Master & his family, all perished & were buried in one grave - the procession to the Cemetery was over a mile in length -

[Sunday, 19 July 1863] July 20th.1863 Fine weather during the fore part of the week But on Friday it came on to rain & has never ceased since, making everbody & everything extremely disagreeable. Business very bad, & especially in my line hardly got a percentage order those I did did not give me much Im

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beginning to think I must turn my attention to something else. I met Field on Friday & he is wishing to extend his business, by establishing an out door connection. I proposed he should engage me as traveller after some conversation we at length arranged that I should devote two days of the week to him to which I agreed at 5/- per day and a commission on all the regular customers I secured him. Im to commence next week. I know no more about the Grocery trade than my pen does which he knows but he is to supply me with a list of his stock & the prices so I dare say I shall manage to get along. Ill do my best I can [do] no more, Watson is quite agreeable he thinks the remaining four days of the week will do for canvassing for him.

Monday afternoon I met an old acquaintance of mine from the diggins "Nicholls" we spent the evening & night together in the following very questionable manner. We went to the Theatre to hear a Miss Aitken a celebrated Scotch Tragedienne, she delivered a lot of selections from the best authors in a style which gave me quite a new idea of what effect good readers may produce on their listeners It was an intellectual treat & I enjoyed it, the pleasure I enjoyed was marred in going after the performance was over, with my companions to a Fancy Ball or more properly speaking a Ball Masque, for most at it were in plain clothes & just hid their faces with a mask. The company there we found was anything but select, most of the females being well known prostitutes. I met Dight & Downs there & we *staid to 4 am Tuesday when they left to seek lodgings I remained with my friend, because he had drunk too much & was incapable of taking care of himself & I knew he had a lot of gold & money upon him, he would be gallant & go home with

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a woman he met at the Ball & going with him along with a party consisting of low blaguards, on arriving at the place drinking commenced in earnest, & I soon found out their game, which was to rob my friend. I was sober, not having tasted anything stronger than cordials so on the first attempt I interfered & received rather unexpectedly a crack on the head which soon made me look lively. I picked up a loaded whip (belonging to a detective who was lying on the hearth very blind drunk locked in the arms of a girl who was ditto) & the first who approached me I sent sprawling, a jew fired a tumbler at me but fortunately shattered a fine Pier Glass instead of my head, during the row & confusion I managed to rouse Nicholls & we beat a retreat through a glass door, which looked more holy than righteous after our exit. We both got some nasty knocks before we got away, on doing so, we went to a hotel & got Nicholls a bed. I left him & went down to the sea beach & washed myself & having a pocket comb I soon looked decent. Put in an appearance at Watsons by breakfast time gave them to understand I had staid at a friends home all night. Nicholls went to Melbourne that day where I hope he will be more careful of himself & find a friend who will stick to him as I did - he was very grateful & we parted good friends -

Friday night I went to hear a lot of men playing upon a number of Bells producing the most exquisite music I ever heard, they call themselves the Lancaster Bell Ringers. This morning I went to Chapel. In the afternoon I went to Malander, found Minnie Crawford with him I used to know her husband on the Tuepeka who left her in a most disgraceful manner Charlie is very fond of her, & I believe he keeps her. We all went out for a walk, took a Boat & had a sail around the Bay, enjoyed ourselves very much. I received a most reproachful letter from Jenny yesterday entreating me to send for her so that she may be near me, reproaches me for want of feeling in not reciprocating her passion, thinks to pique me by informing me she has had several offers of marriage Etc. I strongly advise her to accept one of them

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[Compare with drawing from the Otago Witness, 28th May, 1864, page 25, The scene is almost identical but from the opposite direction, clearly the Pier, Vessels and buildings of Dunedin. Even the detail of the ships replicates, (but from the opposite direction) On the 25th June 1864 he received from Jim Hamilton some newspapers, it is possible he adapted from the newspaper drawing.]

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END OF JOURNAL 03

4 1863 Otago to 1865 Melbourne



Sources

  1. Probable spot they were at on ascending Mt. Pisa 44°55'42.4"S 169°07'50.2"E
  2. 4 Spellings - Malieban, Maliban, Mobiban/r, Moliban, no such creek, but apparently what is now known as MANORBURN, there is no other creek anywhere near the area that discharges into the Manuherikia on the south side. The confluence with the Manorburn was the crossing for the new route to Dunstan from Dunedin.
  3. He is supposedly camped 2 miles from the junction, and that is where the Manorburn creek is, so he probably means he went west 2 miles.




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